Sunday, November 30, 2008

BLINGO

Blingo

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It's Christmas People

Please remember that there is nothing....NOTHING at the worth your life.

There is NOTHING at the Walmart worth hurting others!!!!

There was just no reason that a Walmart store employee should be killed or a pregnant woman be thrown to the ground to miscarry. People shouldn't be shooting each other at the Toys R Us or at the Mall

It's Christmas people. It's supposed to be a time of good cheer. Everybody get it together and try to love one another right now.

(click links to view the tragic holiday news)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday 2008



This has been a deadly Black Friday. There is a story in the news today about the death of a Walmart employee in a Long Island store that was caused by people rushing through the doors to get at the deals. In that same store a woman was thrown to the ground and then miscarried. Who needs to shop at Walmart that much? There was also a murder suicide at a Toys R Us in California. A little six year old was killed.

As far as Darryl and I were concerned there really was no reason to try to go on a massive buying spree. The kids and the grandkids already got their gifts. My nieces, mom, and dad also got their gifts the last time we went up to Virginia. Again, funny how that worked out, we had brought all the gifts with us because I thought it would make traveling up in the winter easier. Who would have thought we wouldn’t have been able to travel then?


In the last few years we started a tradition that started with a cup of mint hot chocolate from Starbucks. Luck found me there because Starbucks actually sent me a gift card for a free drink because I complained about how I was treated the last time I went. So Starbucks was still part of the tradition this year.

Then we went over to Belk. Belk was opening early and having a gift card “sale”. Basically the first 250 people through the door got a gift card. The card was worth at least $5 but it could have been worth up to $5,000. Hey we were already shopping for next Christmas so this was going to work out even if we only got a $5 card.

Belks were supposed to open at 5 in the morning but when we got there it appeared that they had opened early. The manager mentioned that one person had already won $100 on her card. While Darryl and I were not quite so lucky but still we each had $5 and we bought some of those little slipper socks. I love those things. They were on sale for $5 so we bought two. One for each card. Cute Huh?



The only other sale that I was kind of interested in was one at Tuesday Morning. There was a 50% off coupon in the circular on their clearance stuff. I finally found a pair of chenille gloves that we bought for $1.50. That will be Mom’s gift for next year. They were really nice, one grey and one black.

It will be interesting to see how sales went for retailers on Black Friday. Darryl felt the prices were unbelievably low on many things but they were things we didn’t need to buy we just priced those things and looked at them. Things like TVs and digital photo frames.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

You Don't See What's Coming









Last year I wanted desperately to leave Rome High School. At the time it looked like we wouldn’t make our No Child Left Behind Numbers. We started out the year hearing that there was no way around it we were going to fall short of the numbers. Morale was bad and I really felt that Dr. Evans would be gone by the end of the year. We later learned that he was desperately trying to get out, sort of the rats trying to abandon the ship analogy.

By February I was sending out resumes and trying to get an interview at another school. I wanted to get a job closer to our home in Acworth. They were throwing up beautiful brand new schools only minutes from my new home. I went to the cattle calls but couldn’t get an interview. I was beside myself. As a matter of fact I didn’t hear from any school until weeks before I had to start back to Rome and it was too late. That job would have been in Cherokee County which is a nice county.

So here I was back at Rome and I remember thinking well next year I will try a different route of attack in finding a job in Paulding County. Well I guess there was a reason I didn’t get the job. I guess because I was meant to go back to Cartersville. I didn’t make the connection until I was talking with Loretta after Thanksgiving dinner.

After dinner Loretta and I talked for a couple of hours while Darryl, his father, and Wally were watching TV. I like Loretta and she was sitting there talking to me about how one of her sisters wouldn’t visit her as long as she lived in a trailer. I felt that was petty. She told me that when she drove up to visit us tonight she couldn’t imagine herself ever living in such a nice house. I told her that I had felt the same way.

After they left, Darryl wanted to read my blog. Darryl never wanted to read my blog before now he was all for reading my blog. Why I asked. He said he wanted to see what I wrote. Why? I just want to see he insisted.

Instead he read, nitpicked, denied, and tried to tell me that the apple in my hand was actually an orange. He was upset about the comment about the dog saying it made him sound like a Prick.



 I had explained it using just that comment because he really didn’t get how heartless he was being with the house. I was trying to mourn losing this house and he was beside himself wanting to show me BETTER homes. It’s hard to see ANYTHING as better when you loved where you were. It’s hard to say wow I’m so thrilled to have such a beautiful house, but gee you sure are right that linoleum has a lot of pluses to it. When he asked me what I didn’t like about the homes he showed me he told me that he’d get a tile floor and then say, look we paid way too much for that house we’re living in. We overpaid for the view. Again he’s missing the whole puppy thing. If you really love your puppy, I don’t care if the NEW Puppy is an AKA blue blood poodle you don’t see any pluses to the new puppy.

So I had to hear about how I was being petty about the whole house thing. He just doesn’t know. I was able to fix my dinner in my double ovens and Loretta couldn’t get over it. She looked like I feel every time I use them. It’s as though I’m Weezy Jefferson and I can almost hear the music cue “Well we’re movin’ on up…to the east side…..”

 Sure I know why we are moving back to the other house. Yes I volunteered to do that. Yes I’m lucky that I have somewhere to go. Can’t I feel bad about it? Can’t I feel a bit sad about losing the house and what it represented to me?

I think what Darryl wanted was for me to say, “You are so right Darryl. I can’t wait to move over to Cartersville. Oh and don’t you worry about anything. I’ll just keep teaching and I’ll keep my mouth shut about concerns about you beginning your own business. It’s like Obama Universe. I guess it’s supposed to be sunshine, lollypops and rainbows every day. Sure there are more important things in this world about the house but it’s easier to focus on that than on the uncertainty of just when Darryl is going to find a job.

So after he reads my blog he has cross words with me and tries to edit what I had to say. Why did you say this? Why did you say that? When I try to explain something like the stains on the counter I offer to show them to him only to remember that he’s changed the counter there. It doesn’t matter to him about what condition that the kitchen was in or how depressing it was. For him it was the matter that I posted what I saw and he felt that it was a misrepresentation. Perhaps I should have said “Oh and my kitchen back in Cartersville, the floor was heated marble and the counters were hand polished granite. I could scarcely choke back the tears having seen those beautiful cherry wood cabinets. Oh and forget the double oven I had a convection oven and a trash compactor” The truth however was that this was not how the kitchen looked and I stand by my story.

This is the same guy who jumps on me if I tell one of my sons that Darryl got me a 2000 Sebring. Why did you tell them what year? Why is that important? Why didn’t you just say that you got a convertible? He feels it makes him look cheap. I didn’t. I needed a car. He said he wanted to buy me a convertible for my next car and he did. I love my new car.

When I began writing this entry he tossed some more angry words.
I posted a picture ofthe ugly downstairs bathroom in cartersville
a picture I used trying to win a new kitchen is at the top of this blog. The large yellow stain was covered by our microwave. Do you like the stove?

Well Darryl might not remember this but the first time I turned the oven on the living room filled with smoke. That’s why we wound up buying a neighbor’s stove. Oh don’t even ask about the ugly yellow and blue wallpaper. I didn’t pick it out. The previous owner had a thing for wallpaper.

So no in the scheme of things I do know that a house is a house and not a home. I’m asking Darryl to allow me to mourn the loss of the house. Instead I’m catching grief. I had to listen to his little rant to his Dad about how I want him to work at McDonalds. I guess the thing is, if McDonalds is hiring then maybe we need to put in an application. He and I talk about people who say they can’t find jobs but they pass right by the help wanted signs or people who refuse to move to find jobs. We should be willing to do the same thing. Having said that, I am must go because I need to continue grabbing my ankles and thanking him for all the grief he's giving me.

More Free Christmas Music

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doesn't just have a contest for Bacardi holiday recipe DVD (ARV $10) it also has several free music downloads for christmas.

enjoy

A Free Christmas Gift

I think this is a sweet home made gift. people say that they like home made gifts and in these troubled economic times I'm sure we'll see more of them.

For FREE christmas music that you can download to I-Tunes check out

http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20081118_tows_holiday/2

It's good for Thanksgiving day only so hurry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

His Own Business The Monkey on Darryl's Back


Today we found a used a coupon I got as a mailer to go out to eat. It was for $10 from Buffalos. I tried their hamburger basket which is three min-burgers and some fries. Our total bill was $3.60. I had a $5 and some change so we were able to tip the waitress.

I was pretty bummed because I had planned to get my hair cut. You see I had a coupon for $125 from the Hair Cuttery and a $45 gift card. I won those last year and had put it aside to use this holiday season. Well silly me. I didn’t realize that they closed all their stores here so I have all these cards and nothing to show for it. I thought I was saving some big money. I’d only used the darn thing once and I’d had my hair cut, dyed, and had highlights put in it. I’d never had my hair dyed professionally. Guess I won’t ever have that done again.

Oh and while I’m on the subject of things expiring or not being able to use something we lost 50,000 American Air miles. We won them about a year ago. Darryl checked on them and low and behold they are gone. They were supposed to never expire. Nope. Not anymore. Good-bye airfare.

Darryl and I chatted about what was going to happen as far as his unemployment and business. He is still obsessed with the idea of starting his own business. So this time I wanted to make sure that I understood what was going to happen. Here is the plan as he laid it out for me.

1. Get three phase power what ever that means.
2. He needs to clear the barn out.
3. Get the breaker box installed in barn and put lights up in barn.
4. He has to secure the barn. He has to build the plasma table and get a compressor.
5. He needs to order a small motor for the gantry.
6. He has to buy racks.
7. He has to buy a plasma cutter.
8. He will need an industrial heavy duty flat bed truck.
9. He says that the cost for all that will be $10,000 and that doesn’t include the truck and this money will come from selling things listed below. The money for the truck will come from selling the car.
10. Darryl needs to sell the tort converters that has on e-bay. He is also going to sell wheels and tires.
11. Darryl hopes to have his business up and running by July 18, 2009
12. December 2, 2008 Darryl will go to Unemployment office and file.
13. Darryl should be contacted by the out placement service people within a week of that. He plans to show them his resume and see if they will help him find a job. After they review his resume he will begin sending his resume off.
14. We will have 8 ½ months of unemployment. If he can find a job before that it would be optimum. If you can’t find a job within 8 ½ months he says he would take a job at McDonalds if necessary. He believes that they will extend unemployment by then.

I wrote all these things down because in the past Darryl gets very far ahead of himself, drags us down into this never ending rabbit hole. I’m continuously admonished that I just don’t understand or long lectures about how I could possibly teach entrepreneurship when I have no entrepreneurial spirit.

Well he’s right there. My head says get a job. That resume should already be going out. We don’t have time to sit here and wait. This whole “I want a business crap” needs to stop.

I’m giving up my house. In 2009 I will turn fifty. I’d like to do something special. Right now all I see is me sitting at the card table at the house in Cartersville with a cupcake and a candle. I feel so sad.

I try to focus, what would I do if Darryl died or was hurt in an accident. Well that would devastate me. So I need to focus on what I do have. I do have my health. I do have a husband I love. I do have two sons that I love. So in that respect I’m plenty blessed.

I just want my life back. Darryl’s still on the sour grapes kick. I’ve told him that what he’d doing is like if my dog was dying and because I felt sad about it he decided to take me to look at other dogs. I could see him saying “Come on Cathy, I know he’s dying and you feel about it but look we’ll get a better dog one that runs around. Hey Cathy, really I mean big dog doesn’t even run around and play with you anymore. Let’s just get a new dog OK?” He just doesn’t understand.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

growing up poor

Some of you might have read the previous posts and wondered about how petty I must be. It’s a house. Big deal it’s just a house. Hey what are you whining about, your husband is an engineer you’ll bounce back and true enough I can see your point. Don’t for one second think that I’m some bubble headed rich, sorority girl who is upset because I have to give up my standing appointment at the nail salon.

I mentioned I grew up poor and that is true. I was the oldest of eight kids born to a Washington DC cop and a stay-at-home mom. We lived in a three bedroom home with one bathroom that was about 1,000 square feet.

Our dinner menu was pretty standard. Three or four nights a week we had macaroni and cheese or spaghetti. I’m not talking about fancy variations of the two so that boredom didn’t set in; I’m talking mind numbing sameness. If it was a macaroni and cheese night you knew there would be some tuna in the mix. If there was spaghetti then Dad threw in the cheapest ground beef he could find. They wanted to make sure we got our protein. Forget salads or vegetables. Those would be luxuries. A real treat might be meat loaf and instant mashed potatoes or fish sticks and fries. On rare occasions we might go to McDonalds but that was extremely rare.

While some girls looked at fashion magazines and giggled about what outfits, shoes, or purses they might want, I poured over old issues for Woman’s Day or Family Circle that Dad had bought me from the Goodwill. I dreamed of fixing “nutritious” and “fabulous” dinners for my future family. Pictures of a mom in an apron serving food to an appreciative family danced through my head. In my head I’d see a handsome man and my two beautiful future children, one boy and one girl. We’d be a loving family straight off Father Knows Best or The Donna Reed Show. My house would be spotless and people would drop by and visit.

This was not the life I lived though. I lived in filth. My mom is one of those hoarders and trash was everywhere. Looking back I know that she was depressed and overwhelmed but that really doesn’t dull the memory of being abused and neglected. If we wanted breakfast we fixed it ourselves. Lunch would be peanut butter sandwiches that we slapped together. Dinner was made when Dad was home or we were forced to make more sandwiches.

One sad memories of growing up that I still hold today involves donated clothes. A neighbor woman brought over a bag of hand-me downs to us and I was thrilled to find an outfit that might actually pass for being in style. It was a purple floral mini-skirt, a lavender vest, and a white blouse. I was walking down the hall of John Hanson Junior High when I heard a girl shriek “Oh My God. She’s wearing my old clothes. I can’t believe it. Look at that Bennie Pig wearing my old clothes.” Her friends giggled and laughed and I tried walking away, not giving them an audience by looking back but I was crushed. Tears streamed down my face. I was so tired of people making fun of my out of fashioned clothes. I have read stories about other kids having old clothes but they were clean. I can’t even say that about ours. Once they were worn they waited, often for weeks to be cleaned. Mom wouldn’t let you touch the washing machine. She also forbade us to use the bath or the shower unless she could supervise us which meant that we often had to wait for days to get bathed. It’s hard to live with mental illness. The whole family suffers. We were called Bennie Pigs and teased and taunted.

I guess it would be no surprise to hear that I wound up pregnant by the time I was sixteen. I managed to finish high school but college was not something that I could pay for and scholarships were not coming my way. Our chaotic home life was not always suitable for studying. At age nineteen I moved in with my Grandmother and took a series of minimum wage jobs often working at least two at a time. I enrolled in college and began to work towards making my dream come true. I’d like to be a Barbie girl and live a fabulous life like the feminists I read about. Imagine me writing articles for magazines and people respecting me for my opinions. Imagine a strong man who loved me and supported me. I’d read articles about women fixing up their country homes or their dream homes by the sea and I would say, “One day that will be me. One day I will have it all just like the magazines told me I could.”

Shortly after beginning college though, I met my ex-husband. I quit shortly thereafter. He was gorgeous. In my dreams I might have imagined a man that looked so good would be interested in me. It was his good looks that blinded me to so much. I was willing to forgive so much in order to keep him by my side. When the beatings began I blamed myself and worked to avoid future confrontations. I was too blind to see that this cycle of beating and making up was inevitable for us. The pattern was ingrained in our relationship as was his cheating and coming back. I accepted it all. I believe I’d been raised for just such a relationship and deserved every bit of it. When he left I was devastated. I was suicidal but the reality was that I now had two kids dependent upon me and I needed to do something. I applied for welfare and went back to college. I ached that my kids were growing up in the poverty that had been part of my every day existence but I was working to eliminate that. At first my plan was to get a two year degree as a legal secretary. Then my college professors encouraged me to reach for the brass ring go on and get my Bachelors.

Four years of putting my life on hold. Four years of working two jobs, trying to spend quality time with the boys, and studying, I finally did it. I received my degree and began teaching. I’d had opportunities to remarry but each time I felt that this would put my only chance at an education on the sidelines again. I was now ready to settle down and marry one of those strong men who admired a strong woman but I didn’t meet any of them. As a matter of fact at thirty, with two kids I was a less than desirable marriage partner. The world had seemed to change and no one had given me a head up. I moved to a small school district twenty miles from Richmond , Virginia and began my life anew. I had no one there to help me. My family and friends were a two hour drive from us. If my car broke down, if I needed some help I had no one. It was so scary. Still within two years I bought my first home and I felt that it was saying something about me. I felt like I had overcome. I baked from scratch and had a subscription to Woman’s Day. Even without a husband, at some level I felt like I had arrived. I wanted to be married. I felt so sad when I saw families together at the park or the beach. I think I was very frightened because I knew it all fell on me. If something happened it all fell on me and I didn’t think I was up to the challenge. Nothing had changed. My self-esteem still fragile from abuse and neglect kept me anchored to fear. I wasn’t searching for someone like my husband. As a matter of fact if you asked me what kind of job my husband would have I would have answered a job like military or union.

Despite my degree I was still blue collar and I didn’t dream of marrying a doctor, lawyer or accountant. The fact that Darryl was younger than me threw me off a bit but I really had never dated a guy with a degree before. My best friend Nancy had always insisted that I should but again I just felt that someone with a degree wouldn’t see me as an equal. We married and he started his own business. We bought a house in Rome that I really liked. It wasn’t far from work. I had a pool and really I felt like I was living the lifestyles of the rich and famous even though the house was $150,000. Then September 11th happened and it his business hard. Within a couple of months I was supporting him. “Shut down the business” I begged. It’s time to close it down. A few months later his mom and dad moved in. His mom had been diagnosed with cancer. So now I was supporting him and his parents. If I wanted to go out to dinner at the local Chinese buffet we wouldn’t have the money but I had the money to keep the lights going and the mortgage paid. It just didn’t seem to be part of the bargain. I assumed that being married meant we would both be putting into the pot.

It wasn’t until his mother had been dead for a few months before he finally began looking for a job and closing down his business. The job at Trinity had been a life saver. I believed it would pull us out of the hole we found ourselves in. I thought we would pay down the house and put money away. Instead he bought the house in Cartersville to try to keep his business going as a sideline until he could rebuild it. So no I’m not some snooty rich girl used to Daddy’s money. I wasn’t the Daddy’s little girl that was spoiled rotten. I have lived an up by your boot straps existence. That house on Evening Mist Drive represented so much to me. I felt like we’d truly arrived. I felt like everything else was finally over. It represented my arrival not just into middle class but amazingly enough, upper middle class. All those people who looked down their noses at me in the past might find out they were wrong about me. I was just as good as them. Dare I think it, maybe a little better than them. Maybe Mom was right when she used to say “They’re just jealous of you.” I used to think they had no reason to be but in my fairy tale existence at Evening Mist Drive, I dared to think “Yeah well, maybe they are jealous of me. Maybe they are.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crashing Back To Earth After Living The Dream


They came on Saturday. The first angry words I had been keeping behind my tight lips. I have spent days keeping these words under wraps mulling them over and over in my mind. I wasn’t really angry at Darryl. I was angry at the situation in which I found myself.

Darryl has been bugging me for the past few days to let him show me houses that he would like us to look at in three to five years when this is all but a distant memory. “Cathy we could get an even bigger house then. I think we may have paid too much for the view here. The home owners association here was really getting to me.”

I let it go through me and said nothing. In my mind the reality of the decision had already been made. We would be moving back to our home in Cartersville. I HATE that home. Perhaps Darryl is partly right. The home in Cartersville does have some bad memories for me. I remember when we were going through bankruptcy and I was wondering why in the HELL we had bought that house when he knew he couldn’t afford it. He argued with me about how he needed the space for his business inventory. He argued about what a great deal this house was. He’d ramble on endlessly about how much better the Cartersville home was than the home in Rome . The home in Rome had a pool. Well he’d argue, the home in Cartersville home had a pool. In reality, said pool was little more than a glorified frog pond. We’d clean in out and get the pool working he promised. Not this summer he’d promised, next summer.

The kitchen in the Cartersville home made me want to cry. Even the kitchen in my parent’s home had been nicer. The kitchen was one of those important rooms to me. Heck even women who hated to cook wanted a nice kitchen. This kitchen had rotted cabinetry and a stained sink. It was lacked light and had virtually no counter space. It depressed me just to look at that room. Not too long after I moved things into the pantry, mice had gotten into my food. He promised he would redo my kitchen. “You wait,” he’d say, “After we get through with this bankruptcy we’ll be better off and I’ll do the kitchen anyway you want.”

I used to visit the kitchen I wanted to have at the Lowes. I imagined myself cooking in the fancy double oven and my food would be stored in the beautiful pantry with moveable storage cabinets. When I asked months later when the kitchen would happen he began talking about other things that were more important. When I broke down and cried he finally took me to look at designing a kitchen. We got the price tag and that’s the last we talked of a new kitchen. I remember saying, “What if I won the money for a new kitchen, can we do it then?” No. Darryl was already looking into another business that he wanted. We needed money for this or that even if I won money it would be sucked into that money hole that was his business. He was able to buy himself a new truck though.

Downstairs the floors were brick. There was a moldy smell of dampness, and oh before I forget they wallpapered the bathroom with the ugliest paper they could find. We’d paint it he’d promised. I was told to begin pulling down wallpaper but since the begin date of the painting never got nailed down I didn’t pull down the wallpaper. I figured it was better to see the ugly wallpaper than to see the white sheetrock.

Things looked up one day when he agreed to buy me a camper. I had always wanted one. I couldn’t believe that we were finally going to do it. We went to a RV & Camper Show. He seemed to be interested. He took me to see campers. He bought himself a new truck even though the other one wasn’t that old. The day we bought the camper I came so close to touching it and making it real that I could scarcely breathe. Imagine, I thought, I’d go camping, maybe take the grandkids. If I could get the camper, maybe it wouldn’t make such a big deal to me about the kitchen or the pool. I could camp somewhere that I could swim; finally I would get to see some of Georgia .

We’d been living here for a few years and we still hadn’t seen much of Atlanta . Most of what I had seen of Georgia was from traveling for work. I was beside myself. My car was paid off and I figured that this camper would take the place of a new car payment. He actually bought it and then the grousing began almost immediately. He hated this that or the other thing about the trailer. This that or the other thing was wrong with the trailer.

We went on exactly two trips with the trailer. One was to my parent’s house. The other was camping at Amicalola Falls . He then began pestering me until we finally sold it. I felt like I’d been sucker punched. It seemed like when he wanted a business or a new vehicle there was money for that. For me there was no money to go to the zoo, the aquarium, new clothes, curtains, or a kitchen. Now we needed to sell the camper because he said it would cost us too much to keep. It reminded me of his mother who might give you something only to take it away.

When I was young my mom used to take us to model homes sometimes. I imagined what it would be like to live in these homes. What would the schools be like? Who would be my neighbors? I loved to look at model homes. Now without the camper I was back to looking at pretend kitchens. I would imagine myself winning enough money to get this feature or that feature, knowing all the while I would be lucky, no matter what I won, for Darryl to say sure let’s do the kitchen.

Darryl would take me to look at the homes and then gets angry with me because I would suck in my breath when I’d be inside some of those beautiful homes. “Why do you act like that?” He’d ask. He’d be angry if I told him the truth so I kept it close to my chest. The fact was I knew I would never have something so nice. I dreamed too large. I’d come home avoid the big frog pond out back and walk through the kitchen trying to get my eyes to avoid my kitchen. I would pretend that the stained counters that sagged in places were granite. I would refuse to open the cabinet under the sink to reveal the sub-flooring that showed through the rotted holes. In my head my pantry allowed me to step inside and I’d grab food without checking first for mice.

Darryl was blind to all my complaints. Complaints about mice would bring offers to take me to McDonalds every night. There was no use arguing over any of this. All I had was my forays out into the model homes. It was my escape. It was like a big Sears & Roebuck catalog that I could dream about. Then one day I slipped. I stood in the kitchen running my hand along the granite counter. The house had been staged and on one counter stood a mixer with a cookbook open near-by. Over to one wall was a desk. I imagined I would love a desk in my kitchen. I thought how it might be to have my computer set up so I could work on sweeps while fixing dinner. The house had a keeping room with a fireplace and the words slipped out. “I’ll never have something as nice as this.”

I regretted the words almost as soon as they came out. “What do you mean? Look we could afford this house. It’s not like we couldn’t afford this house.” Darryl said annoyed. “Well maybe we could but we certainly aren’t living in a house like this. I doubt I ever will.” I was so over it. I would live the way I was living. There was nothing wrong with dreaming. We all dream. We all want. I accept what I have and who knew, maybe one day I would win the kitchen I wanted. Maybe one day. The gauntlet was thrown down. Darryl began to look for a home that he that he thought I would love.

This time, the trailer had taught me a lesson. We would look, he’d make it seem like we were going to get something and then it would be snatched back. I wasn’t up to having that happen again. I didn’t get emotional about any house we looked at. There were many beautiful homes. One even had a stream flowing behind it and a pool only a block away. It was when we actually made an offer on a house I panicked.

No problem I thought. No mortgage company in their right mind would lend us money to buy a house. We owned the house in Rome still. OK we had a renter but still. We made an offer on these beautiful homes that reminded me of Rock Creek. They had beautiful ceilings and transoms. The living room with the big windows was breath-taking. Our offer was turned down. No big deal. I knew it was out of our price range. Move on I thought. Get passed it. Instead we began to look in earnest.

We found the house on Evening Mist Drive by accident. Darryl had just wanted to show me the castle that was across the street. Formidable to say the least. There was no front porch but the back deck had a gorgeous view. As a matter of fact, every room offered a beautiful view of the valley below. It was way too much. He wanted to make them a low-ball offer. Fine I thought again. It’s not like we will get it. Really it was like the lottery game to me. “What if I won the lottery?” We walked through the other houses that were on the same side of the street. The castle was the most expensive.

Out of curiosity we walked into our house. It’s interesting how reality and dream can conflict and change. The living room had a huge fireplace and windows that looked out onto the screened in porch. The kitchen was huge and bathed in natural sunlight. I imagined us entertaining friends and neighbors in our new home. People would say “Oh Cathy what a beautiful kitchen!” Upstairs was a loft where you could watch the sunrise and I imagined it would be my office area. I would have a desk, a settee and book cases. Downstairs the master bedroom had a bathroom with a jetted garden tub. The floor was tiled and the shower was big enough for both of us. The price of the home was on the counter. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Darryl had said we could afford more than that but this house was so beautiful.

“How much do you think this one goes for?” I asked. He couldn’t believe when I told him. The offer was made. It was accepted. I still didn’t put any emotional baggage in the decision. After losing it with the camper I was just going to accept it and move on with my life. It had been fun and I figured after this we would speak in future speak again about how one day we would have a home that nice. I was amazed when the financing was approved. I didn’t know how we would do it. Just last summer there had been no money for me to have a camper but now there was money for a home.

I could scarcely believe it. I tried to knock the deal off the table. “What about the Cartersville house?” I said. Even as I said it I hoped that it would spontaneously combust the moment we moved out. Yet amazingly enough I found myself at the table signing the papers for my new house. I cried at closing. Darryl chided me for it saying it made it look like we couldn’t afford the house. I didn’t think I could.

I moved in and we began working on making the home mine. Bit by bit, piece by piece I bought some rugs to protect the hard wood floors when they were on sale for 75% off. I bought some outdoor furniture at the close of the season at 75% off. I used a gift card I had won to buy some new dishes, a bread maker, and a crock pot. We bought a comforter on sale. I couldn’t believe it the house was mine. Now we are here in this place. I’m moving out of this house and back to the Cartersville home.

I’ve steeled myself to that fact. There have been some improvements but the mice and rats are still there. I leave behind my loft and my jetted tub. OK rich girl you say get over it. I’m far from rich.

When Darryl and I first married his company was doing OK but by the time his mom moved in I was the sole support of that house. I was supporting him, his mom and his dad and I resented it. I wondered what the hell I was thinking. I wanted to leave.

Now here I was again. I was supporting him and his Dad and I wanted him to get right to work looking for a job. Why can’t I just stop working? Why can we support us on my salary alone but never his? When we were at the Cartersville house before we couldn’t make it only on his salary but now we can make it just peachy with mine. Darryl finally backed me into saying something snide to him today about how I didn’t want to be my sister. “Cathy, “ he said, “You are looking all wrong at this. This is just temporary. In a few years we’ll be in a much better place. We made a mistake buying this house. We should have paid down the other house. I don’t want to rush out there and get a job paying lots less. This could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us.”

Yeah. I kept the rest to myself. The disappointment I felt. Steve never got laid off and he would be retiring soon. So many angry words not spoken even though I know it’s not his fault. Still I’m angry that he’s not rushing to find another job. A job any job is what I think he needs to do. I think he should run out and get two jobs. That’s what I would have had to do if I didn’t have a husband. I feel used.

In the big scheme of things I know my disappointments are small. I've been poor. As a matter of fact I've been very poor but I think I finally felt that I had pulled myself successfully and firmly into middle class but once again I missed the brass ring

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confessing To The Neighbors

There is Christmas party coming up on December 5th with the neighborhood women. This sort of thing is what I found to be unique about this neighborhood. When I was younger I'd read about neighbors getting together and throwing parties, mixers, having ladies night out. I never had that.

Just a few weeks ago Darryl and I were thinking about when we would have our first party over here. I was using Pepsi points to download music to play. I was getting ideas from a book I had won about themes and invitations. I was excited but nervous. I thought I'd have my first party in March of next year. With the house in Cartersville almost rented I thought I'd be able to do just that.

Now of course the lay-off wipes all this off the plate. Although the ladies are nice and try to include us in various things we are not close. It is not their fault. We can be as close or as distant as we want and we hope to get closer. I had received the invitation to the ornament exchange last Sunday. I was excited. I always wanted to have a cookie exchange but this was exciting. Terri was having it at her house and I was thinking about what side dish to bring and where to buy the ornament. Monday and Tuesday I'm ill and then that fateful Wednesday comes and the ornament is not so important anymore.

Darryl and I talk. Should I go to the party or not go. Will people wonder why we never said anything when the moving van pulls up? Should we tell people or have them guess. What should we do. I finally decide to write this email and send it to everyone.

My husband and I struggled with writing this email. You know the old saying “What goes on behind closed doors.” We walk passed our neighbors homes and really don’t know what they are dealing with or struggling with.

I remembered crying when we signed the loan papers for this home. I honestly, never thought I would ever live in a home as nice as this. I grew up poor but I tried to do the right thing, worked to get my education, and I figured that the American dream was within my reach, and it was. I just never realized that living in a home and a neighborhood as nice as the bluffs was within my reach.

My husband had no doubt. He has a masters in mechanical engineering and he always knew that one day we would be able to live out all our dreams. We’d had some struggles. When we first married we took his mother and father in and we provided hospice care for his mother. We’ve been supporting his father since his mother passed on. Still he seemed like a rising star at Trinity Rail. His boss was grooming him to take over when he retired in ten years.

Moving here surrounded us in a whirl-wind like I’d never known. I’ve met some warm and wonderful people and have been invited into some amazingly beautiful homes. Just last week It looked as though we were finally going to rent out our home in Cartersville. This was a lynch-pin for us and I was beginning to plan a get together at my house in February or March. I’d never ever entertained in my home before but I was nervous and excited.

Just a week ago Trinity Rail, where my husband worked, sent him to their Mexico plant to do some trouble shooting. His boss was so appreciative. Just a week ago I was sitting here playing the endless contests and sweepstakes I play thinking the world was OK. We were finally over the rough spots. Then Wednesday, they called my husband in and told him he was being laid off. They said they were in shock too and thought that there had been a mistake. He wasn’t alone that day as the lay-offs hit family after family at Trinity Rail and though-out the United States.

I’m telling you this entire story not because we want anything from you, not because we want you to feel sorry for us or anything like that. This was the part that Darryl and I went back and forth, over and over. I’m just a high school teacher and we’ve been paying two mortgages with two wage earners. Even with the other house being rented out I can’t afford to stay here. We basically wanted to tell you all so that you aren’t surprised when you see our house is up for sale. The bank will be getting it back.

We don’t consider ourselves victims. We realized that we made this reach based on calculations that we no longer have control over.

Originally I told Darryl that I just wouldn’t go to the party in December because it would be too painful to me. Darryl insisted I should go. During the school year it’s usually so hard for me to get back from school on time or without feeling exhausted. Darryl said I should say good bye. I told him if I did that I’d break out in tears right there in front of everyone. Then he said maybe I could just say what I have to say and get it out there. Maybe he’s right.

So there it is. I’d still like to come to the get together. I will miss you all a great deal. We will probably be moving out within a few weeks. I will miss so much about this neighborhood and this house. You have all been so wonderful and friendly to my husband and I and I wish we could thank you but I just don’t know the right words to do that.

I hope that I will hear from some of you occasionally but I would understand if you didn’t keep in touch. The world goes on and I know that. So there it is. Long winded but at least I’ve said it and I feel better that we didn’t just leave without saying goodbye

People have written back and this is what they've said:

Dear Cathy: I too have been so busy the hours have not allowed for me to come to the parties--even the 5th now is our company party so I am not sure I can come but was planning on some time. Thanks for sharing your story--it is the story of millions of Americans and hits home to all of us. We just got back from a trip to see parents and family in S Fla--and my husbands brother told us his news of lay off after 15 years with a company. Things will change and improve--we will all have to work together. We do believe in this new president--have for the whole election. I am wishing you a speedy return to stability. Who knew that people who did all the right things getting educations and working hard would have these things happen? We are all watching and waiting and pitching in. We are honored that you would share your story--it is courageous and we will miss people of that great spirit in the neighborhood,Nancy and Tom Craney109 Evening Mist


here's another response

Cathy and Darryl,

We are so glad you did tell us instead of just moving. Of course, we would want you to join us for the ladies night on Dec. 5th . . .there is absolutely no reason for you not to. I look forward to seeing you then . . .I’ll take that as a “yes” to the RSVP.

Our thoughts and prayers will be with you both. Please let everyone know where you will move so those that can will keep in touch.

Thanks!!!

Terri
Our heart and prayers go out to you both. You will be missed.
When god closes a door he always opens window.
take care Lois and Bob

I can do all things through Christ who strengths me Philippians 4:13 .I am very sorry of the news , all things happen for a reason just step back and put God in control and all things will work out. I pray that God strengths your family through this time. we are all feeling the financial pressures of this economic crisis

staci parker


Cathy: What a beautiful letter and message. I am so sorry for the impact our economy is having on the hard working souls. Tim was let go back in August but in our case I have a job that can support us over the hump.
This type of letter should be in the newspaper as well as in a magazine. It hits the essence of families emotions and challenges.

I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.
Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished.Remember, when all is said and done we are not measured by materialistic goods but who we are in our souls.and deeds.

JANET MCGLOTHIN"

Cathy, I am so sorry to get this e-mail! I know how you feel!!! I sold my home & will be moving out on the 10th of December. I would like to talk with you. If you have a chance, please call me so I can discuss some options with you. Unfortunately, I am hearing this story more & more & am learning about different options for sellers to avoid foreclosure. Call me & let me see if I can help! Sincerely, Jennifer HellenThe Jennifer & Anita Group#1 Group 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007Keller Williams Realty Signature Partners770-529-7780www.JenniferAndAnita.com

Cathy - I am so sorry to hear that your husband has lost his job and that you will be moving. Things are very scary right now. Many, many, people are losing their jobs daily and times are tough. Richard and I know that we are very blessed that we both still have our jobs in times like these. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. I do hope that you will come to the get together on Dec. 5th. Do you know where you will be moving? Please do keep in touch and let us know if your email changes. I will be praying for you and your family and hope that your husband will find work quickly. Sincerly,Sandy


Dear Cathy and Darryl, I just can't begin to feel the sadness you are feeling right now. I am sovery sorry this has happened to you. Your letter was so heartbreaking.I wish you just the very, very best that life can bring. And I have beenkeeping you in my prayers. I hope we see each other at the get-together. Jude and Joe Bosco

Hi Cathy, I think I met you soon after you moved in. I was walking my little white dog and you gave me your e-mail address to give to my neighbor Howard Delashmit, our neighborhood and voting guy at the time. I've only been able to get together with the girls in our neighborhood once or twice. That's why I haven't seen you recently.I'm so sorry about this very tough time for you and Darryl. Last night I walked my dog up the hill by your home and prayed for you both. My family is suffering in a different way . . . my husband was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) March, 2007. It's a terminal and extremely cruel disease. We now have Hospice helping us out.What you said is true . . . you never know what's going on behind closed doors. I know it was very difficult writing this letter ~ and it is a good letter. You both will continue to be in my prayers. Mathew 6:25-34 is my good reminder to "NOT WORRY". I still do, but as soon as I realize it I try my best to give it to God. Hopefully you can do that same. Blessings to you both,Debbie Hamilton

Hello Cathy, I'm sorry I'm late in answering your e-mail. We had family visiting and couldn't check messages.I'm very sorry you and Darryl are going through a rough time! I met you at the Tuggle's get-together and enjoyed talking with you. Life is so unfair at times and to the people that don't deserve it. Has Darryl been called back to his job? Does he think he will have a chance later? I understand what you were saying about living on this street. I grew very poor and never thought I would live in a house or on a street like this. If the stock market keeps falling, I don't know what Jerry and I will do. We're retired and thought our stocks would see us through. We didn't count on the economy going crazy!Please keep in touch and let us know where you are. We only met the one time, but I consider you my friend. If I can do anything to help you, please let me know. Your neighbor, Sue Fuller

FREE Dr Peper Today


I checked out the FREE Dr Peper offer which is happening today, November 23, 2008. You simply log on to www.drpepper.com then click on promotions. FREE Doctor Pepper will be the second choice. Click on the link, fill in your information, and they will send you a coupon for a free Dr. Pepper. WAY Cool

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WIN A Flip Ultra Video Camera


Deliciousbaby journal is having a great giveaway check it out

http://www.deliciousbaby.com/journal/2008/nov/17/giveaway-flip-video-camera/

Deliciousbaby is also a great place to get information about traveling with your young ones. It has travel tips and city guides. I think it's a site worth checking out.

Box Tops Marketplace & Sweetwatersavings


Can You Believe It? A wonderful blogger decided to write about Box Tops Market Place. For those of you who don't know it, your school can earn points when you shop at some wonderful stores.

Stores Like:

Circuit City
Barnes and Noble
Kohls
1-800-Flowers
PetSmart
Snapfish and so much more

Be sure to check out www.boxtops4education.com for more information


To sweeten the deal check out sweetwatersavings.com

She's having a great giveaway where you can win a $50 Penny's gift card.

Hugs going out to her for talking about this great program.

Education Is Not Recession Proof


As a teacher I can tell you I recently received a letter from our principal reminding us of this fact. We are expecting cutbacks at every level. Programs like boxtops4education can be a lifesaver for your school.

Thank goodness My Precious Pennies blog saw fit to tell others about this great program

check it out

http://mypreciouspennies.blogspot.com/2008/11/christmas-catalog-box-tops-marketplace.html

Not only can your school win when you collect those boxtops but Mypreciouspennies is going to make one of its readers a winner too.

Check out the giveaway for a $50 Walmart Giftcard.

http://mypreciouspennies.blogspot.com/2008/11/christmas-catalog-box-tops-marketplace.html

So help your local schools and get registered today.

Do Your Kids Love Reading?


Well here's a great blog giveaway for you. Check out sahmtooreviews.blogspot.com and read the great review she has written about the Poingo Reading System.

Even better she has a giveaway. What you say? She's giving you a chance to own this great product. How you say. Well check out her blog and find out. You won't be sorry

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writing For My Supper


I didn't sleep well last night. I'd lay in bed wondering what I can sell to help out. I thought of our granite outdoor dining set. I know, I know, it sounds pretty fancy. We bought it at the end of the summer season two years ago for 75% off. We paid $600 for it and it came with 6 chairs and a serving table. You should see it because it's pretty fancy. What a steal it was. We were amazed to get it so cheaply. It wasn't something we were even looking for but when we found it we new it would be perfect for this house. It was. Now what do I do with it? I told Darryl to see if he could put it up for sale on Craig's list. Maybe we can get $200 for it. It's just a possession.

I lay in bed staring up into the darkness and wondering "What now?" Certainly no one likes to feel that they are a statistic but that's certainly what we are. It's not that Darryl doesn't have skills, experience, or education. He has all of these. He will get another job. He might not make what he was making at Trinity but eventually he will get another job. Like Darryl said, companies will hire people at deep discounts because people are desperate for jobs. Where an engineer might make $80,000 in a better economy he might be lucky to get $40,000 now. It will also take awhile to get a job. In the meantime I lie in bed and the reality of our lives lies upon my chest weighing me down.

Recently I've submitted several essays for contest. I've done OK with them. It's certainly not like I'm a Nobel Laureate. I've won a few and lost far more. Now I'm scouring my OLS club for essay contest with cash prizes. It's as though I'm trying to write or my supper.

Yesterday, before I knew Darryl lost his job I entered this essay contest

Smucker's/Jif - Feed Your Need To Read Contest premium..:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

unlimited | home page · entry form | essay | 1 note · rate it · report · link

Prizes (6): Selection of Scholastic books of winner's choice and Sponsor will also donate a selection of Scholastic books to winner's local school (ARV $3,000).

Comments: Submit an essay in 200 words or less describing why you want to feed your family's need to read.

expires Sunday, November 30, 2008 @ 11:59pm ET Started 8/24/08 - Submitted 8/24/08

Search Relevancy Score: 2.53

I remember thinking, Wow if I won I can donate some books to my school and I could get some books for the grand kids for next Christmas. I was thrilled. Here is my entry.

While I might indulge my family with the great taste of a Jiff Peanut Butter and Smuckers Jelly sandwich, I realize we cannot live by peanut butter and jelly alone. The hunger of the mind can only be satiated by reading. Books can nourish your mind and soul. They can be brilliant, inspiring, insightful, and hilarious. Books open our minds to the possibilities.

Maybe I'm a little prejudice; you see I am a teacher. For the last seventeen years I have taught in poorly funded inner-city schools. My students often do not have the same access to books that students in more affluent areas might have.

I read to my boys before they were even born. Before they could speak I recited nursery rhymes and fairy tales. We made weekly trips to the library a family routine. I realized that reading was the pathway to knowledge.

I am more concerned about feeding my student's need to read. My goal is to place a book in every student's hand so they can overcome the obstacles that have been set in their path. I don't want to leave any child behind.

Now I'm thinking look for big money essays Cathy and write for something that's real in the line of money. Now it's about the money and not the love of writing. Not so altruistic of me is it?

Now I'm wondering how to squeeze out a story and sell it.

I have to write Dan and Mike an email in a few minutes and let them know what's going on. I wish I didn't have to do this. Darryl joked that it's hard to be on the downside of success. Yes I suppose it is. I won't be able to send the boys the money I normally send them. My sister will have a great time with this. After all she and the Amazing Randy (her husband) are doing quite well don't you know. Do I dare let her know that Darryl lost his job so she can gloat? Do I look past that and say, contact Mary, find out where Randy is working and see if he knows of any jobs? I have some pride but of course that doesn't put food on the table.

That's the thing about having been poor before. I've faced challenges like this and far worse. Somehow God has always come through and always put me where he wants me to be. I will probably write more later. Right now I have to check for essay contests an write for my supper

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Economy Sends Us a Sucker Punch

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Darryl's company just recently sent him to Mexico. He was gone for several days and I missed him. When he came home he went on and on about what a great sign this was for him. After all his boss normally would have gone on such a trip but they were sending him. We imagined that he would be promoted and sent to Dallas, Texas. I hated to think about that but on the other hand it looked like we'd be moving in the right direction. We figured I'd have another three years here and then I would be vested in my pension plan. We figured even if he got called in before I finished my time here we'd travel back and forth and then I'd move down. I love this house but I wanted Darryl to move forward with his career.

The planets seemed to finally be aligning in all the right places. The auto insurance was going to pay us almost all of what I needed for my new car after the accident. We were finally going to rent out the house in Cartersville. I was beginning to have little dreams of being more like some upper middle class woman. You know the kind that stays at home, gets her hair done every six weeks and goes out to dinner with the girls. We just got an invite from the neighbor women to go to an ornament exchange and I was trying to figure out how to make the pennies really squeeze.

Darryl was wondering about us taking a trip to see my family for the holidays and about seeing Gene get married. We talked about visiting my son Michael before he shipped off for Iraq. As a matter of fact Darryl just emailed me about a cross country trip he'd like to take this summer. We were finally going to stop wondering when the next shoe was going to drop.

Well the shoe dropped. Just a few weeks ago I asked Darryl, what would happen if he got laid off. I fretted over it a little but Darryl assured me his company was having record profits. At the time they were getting ready to send him to Mexico. He assured me that the nation needed coal and he didn't for see any reason to worry. He'd actually been told that engineering probably wouldn't be hurt by all this. He was being trained to take his boss' place. I believed him and I believe Darryl believed this too.

I came home from work planning to work on Dan's resume. Honestly I felt pretty good. I was finally through with being sick. I would have time to work on Dan's stuff and keep up with my sweeps. Yippee. No sense of impending doom.

I was home, maybe an hour and I was fixing dinner. Big dog as moving back and forth, he wanted to go out. I saw Darryl outside. What was that about? He was supposed to be at work. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he took the day off. "Look big dog. Daddy's home."

Darryl looked up. "I didn't want you to see this. I wanted to wait until I got in." he said. He was taking his boots out of the car. His small fridge was in the trunk. "What's wrong?" I asked. He asked me to wait until he got in.

I wondered if he was going to tell me we got broken into again. I'd just had enough I was just sick and tired of it. I waited and stood in front of the stove. What could it be. What did he know. I hadn't seen his Dad was something wrong and he wanted to tell me when he was inside.

Then it clicked. He got laid off. He WHAT? No no that can't be true. That's a crazy thought.

Darryl came in. He got laid off. They called him in today around 3:00 and told him that they were laying him off. This is so unexpected. We were so blindsided by this. We are going to have to give this house, my dream house back to the bank. I'm moving back to Cartersville. I've been here before.

Darryl's got to get a job within three weeks or we lose the house. I told him that we'll just give this house back. There's just no way he can get another job so quickly. Not in this economy. Just no way. I sit here in the loft typing on my computer. I had a dream about how I wanted this loft to look. I loved looking out my window as the sun rose in the morning. I imagined how we would entertain in my beautiful kitchen. I loved my bedroom. I loved my living room. It's a beautiful house.

It's all over. I need to start bringing boxes home soon. We really have to leave. I can't say my life is over. I've faced much worse in my life. What I can say is that this is a sucker punch I wasn't expecting.

Say a prayer for us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Talk About A Great Giveaway



JoJo's Place is having a super giveaway so check it out

It’s the holiday season and Christmas is around the corner. Wouldn’t you like to have the ultimate gift for you and your family. I have a gift basket full of fun things for the family to give away to one lucky reader.

Included in this basket is ~

1. Nintendo DS Lite in White
2. Guitar Hero: On Tour 2 –Decades (DS)
3. Rubik’s World (DS)
4. Deluxe 60th Anniversary Scrabble
5. Cranium Family Edition

How's that for a great giveaway?

If you'd like to check out this fantastic blog go to

momof2andwife.blogspot.com

Free Shipping From Snapfish


Today was free shipping day at snapfish. You can ship everything you order no matter what for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!

So here's what I got for Darryl's Christmas:

An 11x14 poster of all kinds of pictures of Darryl and I together. That was a free credit.

A free mouse pad I had them put a picture of Darryl and I having dinner in St Lucia on it. Again that was a free credit

I ordered 120 prints from free credits. I'll send some with Christmas cards others I might put in frames and give as gifts. All 120 photos free from credits.

The shipping was all free.

I ordered my free 8x11 photobook from Snapfish on that I had to pay the shipping though. It only cost me $7.20 so really it wasn't bad at all. I've received books much smaller for more, well more if I had to pay cash for them.

If you go on snapfish put in the code SHIPALLFREE use it today November 18, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

5 Minutes For Mom Has A Great Giveaway Going On Right Now



Check out 5minutesformom.com for wonderful giveaways!

Stepping Stone Play Mat from One Step Ahead
Charlie and Lola Dolls and Sticker Book
Lola’s Pink Milk Game
Multiple Moms Rock t-shirt
1 Gobblet On the Go game
Epson Artisan 800 Printer
$50.00 Gift Certificate to Sudz N Bubbles
Two copies of the 3-Disc standard definition DVD Version of WALL•E
Mrs. Goodbee Talking Dollhouse
$100.00 Gift Card to Sears
Wonder-Full Balm from Mama Mio
All Star Buddy Plush

Does it get any better than this?

Kroger's Gift Card Giveaway


Two lucky Goodies for Mom winners will each receive a $25 Kroger's gift card*, courtesy of the Kroger Company.

Check out this great blog and learn how you can be one of the winners.

My Prodigal Dog


Darryl arrived back from Mexico last night. I was so glad to see him but that changed within the first half hour he was home. He went off because there was a huge chocolate mess by his easy chair. Now here's the back story.

We'd gotten a bunch of fancy chocolate samples a while back and had them in the fridge to eat whenever. One day a few weeks ago Darryl took one of the baggies filled with candies and left them by his chair. He leaves cans of soda there as well as paper plates. Sometimes you will find bowls with salsa in them behind his chair. I usually wind up picking these things up despite his promises that he will get them "later". Later of course never comes so I'm the one who winds up picking them up.

Earlier yesterday I got home to discover the dogs had managed to get out of the laundry room. This meant that they had decided to poop on the rug. As a matter of fact there were several piles of poop on the rug. I was hungry but I had to wait until I'd picked up all the poop. They never used to do this in the house but now I think it's because they are getting older they can't hold it as long as they used to.

Anyway I'd finished picking up the poop, washed my hands and went upstairs to eat my dinner. Shortly after getting upstairs I smelled poop. Oh No. Well it's not like it's going anywhere. I'll eat and get down and clean it.

After dinner I went downstairs to discover this runny mucus based poop. YUCK!! What fun that was to clean. Oh and did I mention, I have a runny nose, a headache, and my throat hurts?

Ten minutes after I finished cleaning up the last of the poop, Darryl comes home. I kissed him and told him I missed him. He griped that I didn't have anything for him to eat. Honestly I thought he'd already eaten, after all it was after seven. He went on and on complaining how there was nothing for him to eat. I kept asking him what he wanted and offered him one of the frozen dinners we had since we need to get rid of those. Nothing seemed to satisfy him.

Darryl decided to head upstairs and sit on his throne, I mean recliner. Three minutes later he began shouting and carrying on. "Which one of these God D%$@ dogs did this. I'm going to F'ing beat the cr@& out of the F'ers."

Now keep in mind that Darryl doesn't normally have a temper. He has also never hurt any animal that I know of but he was going off and the dogs took off. The problem was that the bag of chocolate was still by his chair, well not really. You see I had tried to put it back in the fridge a few days before he left but he insisted that I leave it there. He said he would get it and besides he felt he would finish off the chocolate. Well honestly I didn't fool with it. Didn't think about it. Yet there, all over the light colored carpet was a huge mess of chocolate, wrappers and a baggie that had been torn apart.

That explained why I'd been cleaning up loose poop. It all made sense. "Well Darryl" I said "Don't get mad at the dogs because you left that chocolate there. This is your fault but don't worry I'll clean it up."

Keep in mind that Darryl acts as though he equates dog hair with nuclear waste. I'm pick it up with my bare hands and then he almost insists that I douse my hands in bleach to get my hands clean.

He was still going off telling me that he'd left the chocolate there for weeks and no one had messed with it. Exactly my point. Now he was going off because a dog, an animal without the ability to reason, had eaten the candy and gotten it all over the carpet.

"Let me get it." I offered. "No" he said "Leave it there. The carpet is ruined. Now I'll have to pay to put new carpet up here."

I immediately checked the internet about how to get chocolate up from the carpet. It said to begin by vacuuming the carpet and then using either a carpet cleaner or dish-washing soap. I hauled out the vacuum which set Darryl off more.

"Leave it alone. I said Leave it alone. Why are you doing this when I told you to leave it alone." I looked him in the eyes and said "You're not the boss of me." "Fine ruin the G&% Damn carpet!"

I set to work on the carpet and as I was working the wet rag on the carpet cleaning solution, Darryl tapped me on the head. "Look Cathy I'm sorry. You didn't deserve that. It's been an awful day. I'm sorry." I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. I forgave him and finished cleaning the mess. Believe it or not the carpet looked fine.

I put Liddy dog outside so he wouldn't poop in the house anymore that night. I put his bed out on the covered porch and figured I'd let him in the next morning. Darryl and I kissed and made up and he told me about how difficult the week had been.

Its easy for people to say what they would do if this whole thing happened to them but it's more important to decide if you will allow forgiveness. This was not a normal pattern of behavior for Darryl. If it was I wouldn't stay or put up with it. I looked upon it as an anomaly and let it go.

This morning I was going to go to Belk. I had a $5 off any purchase for today and it was only valued from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. This meant a trip to Cartersville my nearest Belk store. On my way I stopped at the Starbucks in Cartersville. I had my usual green tea latte and I tried the vanilla scones.

Well before I left I put the dog food out and let big dog out. Surely Liddy dog would be there. NOPE. I checked the side porch. Nope. I checked the back porch. NOPE. It was still dark outside so I thought, maybe he's in the woods out back checking out deer or wild turkey. I let big dog back in and kept a watch for Liddy as I left our street.

Belk always has such nice wedding gifts. I checked some of those out because Darryl's brother Gene is marrying Kim in February. I didn't want to buy anything for them unless Darryl was with me but I definitely looked. So how did I spend my $5?

Well I've always had cold hands and cold feet. You know what they say, cold hands warm heart. My feet are generally chunks of ice during the winter and I have to wear socks to bed or it would freeze Darryl and I. I found a cute pair of footie slippers.

I almost didn't get them because the slippers were marked $10 and I only had $5 worth of coupon. Then I noticed the sign that said 40% off which made them $6. So the slippers only cost me $1plus tax. YIPPEEE!

No we're coming back to the dog. As I was driving home down my street I kept my eyes peeled towards the neighbor's yards because I thought he'd be out in the open. I didn't see him. Then I figured he'd be back on the porch by now. NOPE. Maybe Darryl or his Dad let him in. NOPE NOPE. This was ridiculous. I wanted to cry.

I got ready to walk the neighborhood by foot figuring I'd see him more easily. Just as I got to the end of my driveway I noticed our Canadian neighbors pulling into my driveway. My wayward dog had wandered onto their porch and made himself at home there overnight. I'm not sure why. After all he was laying on a piece of carpet they had but his actual bed was on our covered carpet. I couldn't thank them enough. I was so glad to see Liddy. I kept kissing him as I carried him home.

So all is well. Both dogs are here and now I am wearing my new slippers. Darryl and his Dad? They went to see the new Bond movie. I'm not interested. Besides this gives me a chance to get some stuff done here like laundry.

WIN A Sony Cybershot


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wake Up Sleepy Head


I tried waking Darryl up at 8 AM to ask him if he wanted to go shopping with me. He said “No. You go.” Fine that’s great I like it like that anyway. I had already made my Starbucks run. I’d bought that at the Krogers when I bought my newspaper. I just needed to hit the CVS. I had just finished shopping at CVS and I was almost at Krogers when Darryl called. “I’m ready to go grocery shopping” he says. Well that’s nice. I had to turn around and pick him up.

Let’s start with free. I was able to buy a free box of Special K. I love Special K and I bought the flavor I loved. Darryl tried to talk me into buying a different flavor because I would get slightly more. Then he said, “Buy what you want since you’re the one who will be eating it.” EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!! I also got a free 12 pack of Pepsi. I was finally able to use my last two free coupons for Pedigree Goodbites Hip and Joint. Those things are expensive!!!

They were still having some buy 10 items get $5 off my order. First we bought PowerAid because it was on sale for $1 instead of $1.69. I had a coupon for a free PowerAid when you bought three. This makes them 4 for $3 or 75 cents a piece. These were part of the buy 10 deal so they were 25 each. The Deer Park water was also on sale for $1 instead of $1.29 and I had a coupon for $1 off three. The water came down to 67 a piece then subtract the 50 cents and that was 17 cents a piece.

The Glade candles worked out well. I had a buy two get one free coupon and they were on sale for $2.50 a piece. This made them $1.66 a piece minus the 50 cents off they were $1.16 a piece. I love candles and these were beautiful. Normally they were $2.99 a piece. I also bought two Glade Scented Oil refills with a coupon for buy one get one free. That made them $1.25 a piece. Don’t forget they qualified for the 50 cents off which brings them down to 75 cents a piece. The real beauty of this deal was when you bought two glade products you received $2 off. Since I bought two of these deals it printed out a $4 off your next order coupon.

Stouffers was on sale for $2 and it qualified for the buy ten deal making them $1.50. I also had a coupon for $1 off four bringing them down to $1.25 each.

I was able to find a Dole Salad kit that was marked down to $2.19. Darryl liked it and was surprised I could find that on sale at half price. I had a coupon for $1 off making it $1.29 so it was even better.

With the holidays and holiday baking coming up soon I was glad to get a deal on Domino Sugar. It was on sale for $2.50 instead of $3.19. I had 35 cents off coupons. They of course double to 70 cents. This brings the sugar down to $1.80 before the 50 additional cents off as it was part of a set of 10. I paid $1.30 for 5 lbs of sugar.

We hit the jackpot again with chicken and this time we also found ribs that had been marked down to $3.99. All I had to do was heat them up for a nice dinner.

We also hit the jackpot on some half gallons of milk. They were on sale for $1.39. We cleared out all three. They say that it’s skim milk that tastes more like whole milk and it doesn’t have BGH. We bought them and threw them in the freezer.

Before coupons and sales the total would have been $182.11. The register rang up $139.48. Darryl looked back at me. I nudged him to hand over the coupons. He did and the total went down to $95.94. He turned to me and said “That’s not as good as you usually do.” Gee I just used $42.63 worth of manufacturer coupons and he’s complaining. Besides I got that coupon for $4 off my next visit which could mean either free chicken or free ribs. Yippee!!!!

After a nice lunch of chicken bits in the salad, V8 butternut squash soup, and sour dough bread we went back to the Cartersville house to work. I spent hours pulling up tacks from the floor. I don’t understand why I just do what I’m told. I also cleaned the shower. It looks much better now. For dinner we had the rest of the salad and we had ribs

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Voting Contest For Sears Card


I entered a vote contest Category: Games

I know. I know. I HATE entering the vote contests. I see I'm already way behind. I figured it wouldn't hurt to enter this one and post that I've entered it. Maybe someone will vote for me. All you have to do is click on the thread then under search type teechbiz. You'll see me standing next to a potbellied stove. Thanks a bunch

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/promotion/sears/kenmore-contest

Five finalist will be chosen by vote and the prize is: $25,000 Sears gift card to make over winner's kitchen. That would be an AMAZING prize and one I certainly would appreciate.

Thanks ahead of time for your help and support.

Great Cofee Deserves Great Food


Can you believe I'm actually celebrating this? I was riding home on empty yesterday. I figured I'd go get a green tea late at Starbucks and fill up at the Kroger. For those who are not familiar with Kroger, if you spend $100 you earn a discount on your gas of 10 cents a gallon. I scanned my card and up it came $1.96. if it hadn't been so cold this morning I'd have been dancing out there in the dark.

Then I discovered that at 8:00 that morning the Starbucks across the street from the Kroger was going to giveaway some of their new hot breakfast sandwiches. I went home and told Darryl. Free breakfast I thought as I drove home.

Darryl is right about one thing. When Starbucks has anything free they act as though they have it coming out of their pocket. The place is probably not going to be around in five years and it over charges for everything. I figured that they would have samples of all their sandwiches and i would try a sample of all of them. Honestly I didn't expect them to make a big sandwich and give me the whole thing, just samples. Maybe a quarter of each sandwich which would eventually equal out a whole sandwich and I would be just fine. OK I'm cheap. Not so cheap that I don't go to Starbucks on the weekends but cheap all the same. If you say "Sample our Delicious New Hot Morning Sandwiches" I expect to be able to do just that, sample them, all of them.

The first was an Eggs Florentine Piadini with Baby Spinach, feta cheese and mushroom. The guy behind the counter fixed one for us and gave Darryl and I each a half. While they were making it I was wondering which other one I wanted to try. I figured we would try the pepper bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. They asked me, no told me, let me know if you want to try anything else. They handed Darryl and I each a half of the Piandini. I took a bite. OK but not great.

I turned to the counter to see a new person ask if I'd like to try anything else. They were rushing around. Sure I said and told the counter person what I'd like to try.

I asked Darryl, what did you think? He said he would never order it again. I agreed. Certainly not at the price they were going to charge.

A few minutes later another person asked us if we needed help. Darryl said, "You better make sure they know you just want a sample. I looked at the cashier and said, "Well I told them I just wanted to try it just a sample. Darryl do you want a cinnamon bun my treat?" Darryl looked bothered. He didn't say anything. As a matter of fact the cashier didn't say anything really, not at first. Then I felt all the counter clerks eyes glare at me. I could almost hear them saying "She's getting another sample? What is that about."

I sputtered and almost walked out. Darryl wanted to walk out. I was staring at the sign which clearly stated: "Come sample our breakfast sandwiches." One might actually think that the "s" signaled that you could try more than one sandwich. Darryl groused "No I don't want to get a cinnamon bun. Just get the sample and lets go."

The clerk yelled "Cut that thing up into sample sizes this is just a sample. She's not buying one." I wanted to ask them "Could you speak up I don't think the people in the back row heard that."

I was finally handed a quarter of a sandwich and that was fine. All I wanted was a taste anyway. Really if I had tried them all and liked any of them I might be willing to buy some from time to time but after the way I was treated I certainly doubted it.

I left with my sample in hand and Darryl handed me his. Come on now Darryl at least try the thing. He was ticked. "I just hate the way they treat you in there. They act like you're stealing from them. They act like your sample is going to bankrupt the business. If they don't want you to sample stuff then don't offer samples. Plain and simple Cathy, obviously your sample is going to be the sample that is going to throw them into bankruptcy and you should feel guilty when you eat it."

I put my sample in my mouth. UGH it tasted like powdered eggs. Maybe they weren't powdered but God that's what they tasted like. I've had breakfast sandwiches like that before at a convenience store gas station. YUCK!!!!!

"Please Darryl. Try it I want to know what you think." Finally he agreed, begrudgingly to eat the sample. He told me it was awful and told me never to bring him to another Starbucks. He hates the place. He hates coffee and so do I. He doesn't like the attitudes from many of the people behind the counter.

I found someone else wrote a review about the sandwiches and their opinion was less than stellar also. The sandwiches are basically pre-made and they warm them up in the microwave, then they wrap them in paper with a sticker that says Great coffee deserves great food. How about some great service? Gee Wiz!!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CVS Savings


This week the cheapest place to buy soda was CVS. Pepsi was on sale for $3.00 a 12 pack. While I was there I took advantage of the Crest Pro white toothpaste which was on sale for $3.49. I used a 75 cents off coupon bringing it down to $2.74 cents. I used a $1.69 ecb bringing the price down even further to $1.05. Well you know I didn’t really need toothpaste but they were giving it to me “free” because they were rewarding me with a $3.49 ECB.

The other deal I got was Cover girl eye shadow. It was on sale for buy one get one 50% off. So they wound up costing $2.62 a piece rather than the usual $3.80 a piece. I had two $1 off coupons so that brought the price down to $1.62 a piece. I used a $2 CVS coupon for that. This means that the eye make-up cost me 62 cents a piece.

The grand total was $14.99 with tax. The four sodas alone would have been about $12. Then I received back my ecb for $3.49.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Win $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card


I don't know about you but I sure love a good book. As a teacher I sure could use this gift card to buy one for my classroom library. Be sure to check out the link below and enter for yourself. Good luck

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Books Lists Life Is Having A Contest


Books. List. Life is giving away a $15 gift card to the bookstore of your choice! That's right, Amazon, Books-A-Million, Borders, whatever you want.

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment telling her your favorite bookstore, and why it's your favorite. Who know you might win BIG. Big I say. Well at least you will feel like you won big with that $15 gift card burning a hole in your pocket.

Didn't Need Much


Since I already had a plethora of Lean Cuisines and other frozen dinners to last us this week our grocery bill was small.

The dogs of ALWAYS need food of course and luckily I had a coupon for 75 cents off ten. This brought the price of the dog food down to 54 cents per can.

The Garden of Eaten tortilla chips were on sale buy one get one free. Darryl loved the guacamole ones I bought him awhile back. I like the black corn chips but the guacamole chips were good just a little salty. Even better instead of two for $2 I got them both free.

Our total before coupons was $56.72 before coupons and after $40.04. I’ve done better and I’ve done worse. The secret is that the whole transaction was really was FREE for us because I used the Kroger Gift Cards I won. I wish I had a dozen of those things. That would be great.