The Gossipers Are Out To Get Me

…or at least determined to keep me from getting Ellie’s nap schedule back on track.

This weekend Ellie had one late nap, and the whole schedule was blown out of the water.  The last 4 day have consisted of her fighting her typical 2pm nap and refusing to settle down to sleep until closer to 5pm.  Follow that by 2-3 hours of sleeping, and it’s made for 1am bedtimes for Ellie, even later nights for Mommy, and rough mornings.

I was determined I was going to use this rainy day to help me get her to sleep at her normal time.  I’ve kept things quiet most of the day with the exception of the hour she stayed with my Grandma while I ran an important errand.  When I picked her up at 1:30pm she was already yawning, so I thought this might just work out as planned.  Of course I was wrong as usual, but when do things ever go as planned?

She was almost asleep when we got an unexpected delivery from UPS.  That set the dog off which in turn caused Ellie to jump up and down in her crib begging “mama out me no seep”.  Then someone hydroplaned into my Mama’s front yard, so my phone started ringing off the hook.  I’ve taken probably 30 calls in the last 2 hours from nosy people (most I have no idea how they got my cell phone number) who have driven by and saw the white mustang sitting in her yard half buried in red mud a long with the fire truck, EMS, and 6 cops blocking her driveway and filling the rest of her yard.  Of course there have been many stupid questions.  I just love the ones who call and say “somebody wrecked in your mama’s yard.  What’s going on?”  I reply with “Somebody wrecked in mama’s yard.  If you saw it.  You know more than I do.”  End of story.  

I got tired of it, so I finally turned the ringer off and changed the voice mail on my phone to say “If you’re calling about the wreck in my Mom’s yard, we know about it, no we don’t know the details, and no she’s not at home.  I’ve turned the ringer off so Ellie can sleep.”

Apparently that wasn’t enough because now we have people stopping by to ask if we know what’s going on.  Ben’s manning the door. Ugh.  That’s small town life for ya.  I’m probably the most popular person around here right now!

Now it’s 4:34pm, and Ellie still isn’t asleep.  She’s overtired at this point, and she’s bound and determined to fight it until the exhaustion gets the best of her.  Oh well.  It looks like it’s going to be another late night for me, so when she does finally fall asleep I should let the rain on the roof carry me off to nap time as well.   By then Mama will be home from work, and she can deal with all the nosy gossipers.

Couponing Is Working, Newspaper Subscription Isn’t

A few weeks ago I sat down with our budget and decided I had to do something to cut our grocery bill drastically.  The cost of groceries is always on the rise while the amount I have to spend on groceries is on the decline.  I’ve never been a big coupon shopper because I’m a bargain hunter who shops mostly for store brands, but I decided to give couponing a try anyway.

My first step was to compare the prices of items I normally buy are a few various stores.  I admit I had to go out of my way 3 weeks in a row to make a price list.  Once I had my price list I discovered I’m totally shopping at the wrong store most weeks.  We usually only shop at Ingles because it’s the closest, but I discovered if I chose to base my weekly shopping trips around our trip to Ben’s parent’s house I could go to the Bi-lo near their house and save a lot of money. 

In two weeks I saved $137 and cut my grocery bill in half.  I shopped only at Bi-lo so I didn’t become overwhelmed with learning a new store, but at the same time I kept an eye on the sales ads for other stores to make sure I wasn’t getting ripped off.  I centered my grocery list around the Buy 1 Get 1 free sales and the coupons I have accumulated only buying items that my coupons made a really great price and a few must have things that were a required buy.  I saved 46% the first week and 49% the next week, so I’d say using coupons combined with sales is definitely going to help us.

The one thing I don’t want to do is battle the crowds to get a newspaper every Sunday just for the coupon inserts, though.  It’s getting harder and harder to find a store that has papers in stock after 9am without driving so far the gas usage would cancel out my savings.  I received a promo code in last Sunday’s paper to subscribe to the Sunday only home delivery for $1 a paper, so I decided to sign up.  I’m disappointed, though, because I’ve tried to sign up 4 times now, and my subscription isn’t working.  It told me everything went through and I purchased the subscription, but I never received confirmation or the charge to my debit card.  Two hours later I gave up on waiting and called customer service only to find out there was no record of the transaction.  I tried 3 more times while on the phone with the rep, and yet again it tells me everything submitted, but there is no record appearing in the system.  The rep even tried to manually enter the info and take the order over the phone, but for some reason the transaction disappeared when she submitted it.

Ugh.  It looks like I’ll be battling the couponer crowds for my paper Sunday morning if the office can’t get this straightened out.  I don’t know why it’s being so difficult for me to order a subscription!

Take A Walk In Our Shoes

When I say we’ve been scraping by the best we can most of the year I mean it.  When I take a look back to September sometimes I honestly can’t believe we’ve been okay.  We’ve struggled financially, but we’ve been able to keep the bills paid and food on the table. 

I hate living like this, though.  I hate not knowing where money will come from next week, but it’s something we’ve gotten used to.  We’ve both been on the job hunt since Ben lost his job in September.  What was supposed to be a temporary lay off turned into a permanent situation.

It’s been very hard to find jobs around here, especially in the construction field, and it’s become very frustrating for us.  Ben has applied for everything he can find from construction jobs to plant jobs to management jobs and fast food jobs.  When we goes in for interviews he’s met with a line of other applicants all hoping to get the same position, no matter what job it is. 

That’s why it really upset me when I turned on the radio at lunch the other day, and there was a a guy on the local station ranting about unemployment.  I didn’t catch the entire story, so I’m not exactly sure who the guy was that was ranting about it, but it sounded like he was part of county council.  He was going on and on about how our unemployment rate has dropped into the single digits in the county, and those still unemployed are most likely those who “don’t want to find a job” or who “won’t settle for pay cuts”.  He ranted about how some of the unemployed complain about lower paying jobs, most of them you find around here now are minimum wage or barely over, and they shouldn’t be complaining because the cost of living in our area is much lower.  It was quite obvious this person has never struggled to feed his family and keep his bills paid with a minimum wage job.  Our cost of living may be much less than most of the country, but $7.15/hour is still very hard to live on, especially with the cost of transportation these days.

We don’t care how much a job pays right now.  Either of us would be happy to take anything we could get our hands on, but we’re not finding anything.  It’s more feasible for only one of us to work because if we both worked my paycheck would pretty much cover just gas and daycare.  Actually I’ve figured it up before, and if I am able to find a minimum wage job my entire paycheck would go to pay those costs, and it wouldn’t be enough to cover insurance, too.  That’s why I’m very thankful that I do have some income from working at home.  It’s not enough to cover everything, but that and the odd jobs Ben has been able to pick up here and there are keeping us afloat.  Plus we’ve got wonderful family who have helped us out whenever possible.

I really wish the noon time news show would take calls sometimes because I would have definitely called in to tell the guy to walk in our shoes for a week.