Thursday, August 28, 2014

Almost My Last Day Alive

Someone literally tried to kill me today.

I was headed to pick up my oldest son and had stopped for a red light. When I started off again, something went wrong with the car and it wouldn't shift out of first gear.
I was pushing the gas, letting off the gas, nudging the shifter. Nothing worked, I couldn't go over like 25 mph, and the RPM was up around 5. (The red line *Danger* starts at 6.)

Where I was, I couldn't pull over and get off the road, but there was a turn lane ahead I was trying to reach. I got over to the right as far as I could, but the thing is, I was on a freaking 4-lane highway. Not like I was blocking the entire road, okay.

Then I hear "HOOOOOOOOOONK" and look up in my rear-view and this asshole's hood is nearly inside the back of the car. I wouldn't be surprised if it was pressed against the spare tire mounted on the back, pushing me along.

I started looking for the e-flashers to indicate that I was having trouble, but I was in Ryan's car and didn't know where they were, and I was so upset and distraught at that point I was having a hard time seeing anything clearly.

I'm still going along, trying to get the car to shift, trying to find the e-flashers, when I look up to see the asshole behind me, in front of me.
This jerk passed me, cut over in front of me, and slammed on their brakes!!

WTF? Who does something like that?

I would hope that they were upset with me holding them up because they had a dire emergency they were trying to get to - maybe their Mama was choking on a dog bone while riding a horse naked - but since they took the time to TRY TO KILL ME, I doubt it.

After they slammed on their brakes and tried to make me hit them, they zoomed away furiously, no doubt pleased as punch with their little antic. Asshole.

I would say Karma would take care of it for me, but Karma probably bites them everyday - for them to act like that, they must obviously live a miserable, shitty daily existence - but they're too stupid to figure out they cause their own misery.
I hope they melt into a puddle of a snot-like substance on the sidewalk of Walmart.

Anyway. (I pulled over and turned off the car and waited a minute then cranked it back up and went on without further problems.) I made it to pick up D and we went to the Food Giveaway at a local church.

I was complaining to D about my Yard Sale ordeal, so he decided to come home with me this weekend and help me.

I got a few more things put out, but still not all, and I never did get around to washing up the clothes or rigging a hanging place for them.

But it's on for tomorrow, like it or not, he took pictures and posted on Craigslist (for 7-freaking-am! I usually don't get up until 7am).
He also got the signs made and ready to hang out in the morning.

We were out back washing the plastic patio furniture with the water hose and I was getting eaten alive by skeeters. I told him it was his fault.
He said, without me, you'd still be standing in there "overwhelmed", not getting anything done.
I said, without you, I could have put this off for another week.

I don't know what's up, but I really, seriously don't want to do this Yard Sale. I dread it like I dread going to the dentist.

I say, welp, at least it'll be over and done and I won't have to worry about it anymore. But I need to worry about it, because I should be having a couple yard sales a year.
I *obtain* a lot of stuff; people know we'll take pretty much anything they want to get rid of, and I could (should) be turning that into some extra cash for things we need, like working on the house and paying bills.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deals of the Day

Still have been working on trying to set up this Yard Sale. I got more stuff put out yesterday, but still have a lot to go.

J got the front porch cleaned off, where we've been stashing scrap metal and aluminum. He also hauled off a refrigerator we had been going to repair and sell, but he was having trouble finding the part, or it cost more than he wanted to pay, or something. Anyway, just got tired of it sitting there taking up space, so off it went.
Between the scrap metal and aluminum, he made $68.00 and change.

I decided to try to expand the Yard Sale to the front porch.That was my plan to do today, figure out how to rig up some more tables/display, and tying up wire/rope for hanging clothes.

Then Ryan comes down and says he wants to go to Goodwill or somewhere to look for a suit jacket to wear to his job interview (for an ambulance service) on Friday.

So, we went a thriftin'.

He didn't find anything that fit at the first store, but I found a long-sleeved shirt in what looked like "Autumn Gold" colors on the $1.00 rack, and also a utensil tray for the camper. I'd planned to eventually get one at the Dollar Tree, but paying 50¢ was even better.

 The next thrift store didn't have clothes, and is really more an antique store than thrift store, kinda misleading.

I passed up this large, plastic table for $1.00 even though I could have used it for my Yard Sale. Later I could have painted it with Krylon for Plastics, but then I didn't know what I would do with it after that.  I am getting rid of plastic patio furniture at the Yard Sale, so last thing I needed was to buy more.
But, dang it! It was only a dollar. I should have gotten it.

Neither of us found any Treasures at the next couple of thrift stores or the Goodwill, and he ended up finding what he needed at Kohl's.

On the way home we stopped into Walgreens to pick up some sale items.
They have Oscar Meyer bacon, 2/$8.00 and then I earned back 2,000 Points, which I can redeem later for $2.00, making the bacon $3.00 each.
This bacon is usually $7.98 a pound, so $3.00 is a great price to stock up.

I had planned to use my Points to pay for the Vitamin Water, but the Know-it-All Manager (the kind who thinks they know it all but are typically wrong) told me I couldn't redeem Points to buy an item that was supposed to give me a Register Reward back. Which, of course, was wrong.
But I didn't argue, and just paid $1.50 for the Vitamin Water, and got back a $1.50 RR (Register Reward), making the Vitamin Water free.

The tuna is on sale for 79¢ a can (Tuna is typically around $1.00 a can). I spent my $1.50 RR and paid 13¢ cash.

Then we stopped in at Kroger grocery store because they're having a Buy 4 (specified items), Get Free milk.
I needed cereal, and I needed milk, so that works out good for me.
Usually works out better when better cereal choices are offered.  There wasn't many varieties included in the deal, and we don't like at least half of them.

Only two kinds were included that matched the coupons I had: 50¢ off Rice Krispies, and $1.00/3 Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks (some other kind I can't remember).  Out of all the cereal listed on the coupon, only Frosted Flakes were included, so I ended up having to get 3 boxes of Frosted Flakes.

Oh well, we eat them...but we like Corn Pops better!

The cereal is on sale 4/$10, or $2.50 each.
I used 50¢ and $1.00/3 coupons = $8.50, or $2.12 each + free Milk.

I don't usually pay as much as $2.12 for cereal, but in the cases where cereal is on sale for $1.99 and I have a 50¢ (or less) coupon and end up paying around $1.50 or so for cereal, then I still have to buy Milk. Milk at $3.58 divided by 4 boxes of cereal adds about 90¢ onto each box.

I'll enter my Three codes from my specially marked boxes and get a free book from Scholastic. 

When we got back home, all I wanted was a nap. I didn't take a nap (I'd have been up all night), but I didn't get any work done outside, either. 

Tomorrow morning I'm going to the food give away at a local food pantry, then hopefully after that I can get some more setting up done.

Beyond that, I'm going to just end up carting boxes full of whatever out in the driveway and let people have to weed through them. I hate doing that but dang, this has become such a big ordeal, when I'm pretty sure it should be a lot simpler.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Yard Sale

I've been working this week (actually a lot longer, but you can actually see progress now) on getting ready to have my Yard Sale.

"Why do you keep calling it a Yard Sale, when you're not having it in the yard?"

Garage Sale then. Whatever. Gah.

We have one big work table, and set up another couple made out of plywood and sawhorses. I bought some cheap plastic tablecloths at -

Nope, not the Dollar Tree!
I was at Walmart so I checked their prices and they have the same cheap tablecloths for 97¢, three cents cheaper than DT.
Even better, they had multi 3-packs for $2.47 which made them 82¢ each.

I hung (hanged?) my Ikea mosquito netting in the carport opening since we don't have garage doors.
Not to keep mosquitoes out, because that's pretty much impossible, but mostly to try to block the worst of the rain (if it rains), night time Dew, the majority of leaves and debris that blows in, and cats.

The netting is working pretty good, the stuff I've put out already looks like it did when I set it out there, nice and clean, not even any dust.

I've been working on cleaning the stuff up and trying to organize it for selling, but I'm already running out of room, and this is only about half the stuff. I still have at least this much if not more to go. 

I end up getting overwhelmed when I think of all the stuff that's still left. I tell myself, 'Don't worry about that, Deal with one thing at a time', but I find myself going in circles, moving this, carrying that away, relocating something else. I feel like I spend half my time doing the same thing(s) over and over.


It's stressing me out, needing everything to be 'just so'.
Other people can just decide to have a yard sale, haul the stuff outside, and voila', yard sale.
Me, it's this huge ordeal.

Not to mention, most everything is filthy from being stacked and stored for so long. I'm having to go through everything one thing at a time and wash and dry it. 

R asked me earlier what if someone stole my yard sale stuff (tonight, when we're gone to bed), and I told him that would be great, a huge favor and a real blessing.

A few days ago I was seriously about thisclose to posting on Freecycle for someone to just come get it all. (There have been several people posting in the Free and Garage Sale sites lately saying they will take yard sale leftovers or ANYTHING anyone is wanting to get rid of.) (They say ANYTHING, but then ask for a picture of the stuff. I guess if it's junk, nothing they can re-sell, they don't want it, but then they shouldn't say ANYTHING.)

Anyway, I talked myself out of it because my Frugal and Money Saver leaders and peeps would be so disappointed. (One of the ways to be frugal is to earn money by selling things you have or have acquired.)

However, I did give away 2 carloads of (what was basically garbage) today.

One was a good sized load of empty jars, containers, cans, buckets, and the take-out trays with lids I use for greenhouses during seeding season.  I still have some, I had just collected up too many and didn't want to throw them in the dump if someone else had any use for them.

The other was a pile of old printers, satellite dishes, an old VCR, PS3, DSL modem, and a vacuum cleaner, most of which worked anymore, or if it did, not well. I posted them in case someone with more technical knowledge than myself could do something with them.

I'm kinda liking this getting rid of stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August Rambling

I hope everyone's been enjoying their Summer/August. I have been, although not as much as I would've liked.

School has started back around here - the County next to us started back the first week of August - and it seems like everyone said, like, oh well, Summer's over, bring on the Pumpkin Everything.

I have to admit, I used to be the same way, hurrying from one thing to the next. School started, Summer's over, bring on the Fall. Okay, Halloween's done, bring on the Christmas. Okay, Eff this cold Winter crap, bring on the Springtime.....

I'm sure I'll still feel that way about Winter, but Summer, noooo.
People are wishing away and wasting a whole month of perfectly good, get out and have some big time fun weather.
I know it's hot, but that's the best temperature for playing in a pool, creek, lake, or at a beach.

The other day I was reading a funny-but-true list someone had compiled on one of the sites, buzzfeed maybe, to the effect of words that have different meaning in the South.
One of them was AC.
Typical meaning, short for air conditioning. In the South, "A device sent from God and something you can't live without".

I hear the same kind of thing from other people, younger Southerners, or people who've moved here to the South from Elsewhere.
I laugh because it wasn't that long ago that even here in the South - with 90* temps, 1000% humidity, deadly Pollen counts, and mosquitoes as big as airplanes - we didn't have air conditioning in our homes or cars.

I grew up in the 1970's running barefoot in the Summer, all the doors and windows of the house stayed open all the time, box fans blowing. Car windows were always left down (didn't matter if it rained, there weren't any cloth seats or carpet floors).

I was a teenager when my parents got our first window unit a/c - and put it in their bedroom! LOL.

Anyway, after our recent roadtrip/vacation, along with J's extreme cut in hours from the ambulance, we're not able to go and do too much now.
I reckon after buying school clothes and supplies, others are probably in about the same shape.

But the good thing is we've been making some pretty good progress around here as far as our house projects.
Well, the carport project.
We got a set of attic steps installed and most of the OSB ceiling put up, all except for a couple of small 4-inch by 8-feet sections.

Got a door I wanted installed, and cleaned out/off the carport and back porch, getting rid of a lot of stuff.

I've started pulling together the stuff I want to Yard Sale.
I had hoped to have my Yard sale this weekend, but I felt bad yesterday and didn't do anything so I got behind.
Next weekend is Labor Day weekend, and I'm not sure how good it is to have Yard Sale on a Holiday weekend. Most people might be going to the Lake or out of town for their one last Summer hoo-rah.

Last Friday I went and picked up my oldest son and we went to a free food give away at a food pantry.  One of the items we got was a dozen avocados.

I've never had avocados, or ate or cooked with or made anything with them, but my son said they make guacamole out of them, so I looked up a recipe and tried to make some guacamole.

Turned out most of the avocados were brown inside. J said they were over ripe. I found one that was green, and one that was mostly green, but when I mixed up the guac, it was a yucky brown color.

J said it tasted "over ripe" and wasn't too good so we dumped it.

We had gotten four tomatoes (and a couple of Serrano chili and one Datil pepper) from the garden and I used one tomato in the failed guacamole, J ate one on a "mater samwich" and I used the others to make another batch of Pico de Gallo. 

J kept making comments about not being able to taste the peppers in the last batch, so I left some of the seeds in the peppers this time and he was able to taste fire this time.

It "opened up his sinuses", "caused drainage into his gut," and "made him sick".
I'll probably end up dumping this batch, too.

I saw this project on Pinterest:

And thought it looked like a good idea for a filing cabinet we had gotten free recently, along with a bag of those same green file folders.

Mine didn't work out as neatly as hers. And I still had a lot that were too bulky/heavy to be able to go in at all.  Oh well.

Otherwise, I went one day down to my Mom's (local) house and helped her start cleaning things out and getting it ready to go on the market to sell.

My oldest son's fiancee' asked me if I knew where they could get a couch (I've only told her about Freecycle a thousand million times, but there you go, that's what I was talking about, people that apparently aren't capable of doing the simplest things for themselves), so I made a Wanted post on Freecycle to see if anyone had one they wanted to get rid of.

So happened a man's wife had bought new livingroom furniture and they had a couch still in very nice condition they needed to get rid of anyway, so me and J went and picked it up and delivered it to my son's.

Another project I was able to tackle was scanning some old family photos.
I've been working on this for a long time, but it gets so boring after awhile, I lose interest and go find something - anything - else to do.

This batch of pics was mostly of my Dad's Mom.
I came across this pic of my Granny and my Dad (ca. 1950-1):

I guess Gran didn't read the "Clothesline Rules" about hanging your undies out of sight, lmao! 

Seriously, though, 1940/50's? I wouldn't have thought under garments, especially ladies undies, would have been hung (hanged) out in public view.

I reckon my assumptions are based on old tv shows I used to watch, "Andy Griffith", "Happy Days", "Leave It to Beaver", "Father Knows Best", "Ozzy and Harriet", etc.
I can't imagine any of those TV Moms hanging their delicates out in the yard...but "The Waltons" Granny probably did, lol.

My clothesline is all-5-lines-full today.
I usually wash a load every day or two, but oddly, this week, none of the piles got full enough to wash until they all did about the same time. So I had 4 regular size loads to wash today, plus I pulled off the bedsheets to wash while I was at it anyway.

Okay then, guess I've rambled on long enough.
Off to wash some dishes and try to work on organizing the Yard Sale thing.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pico de Gallo

I tell you what, I have really been making some good progress getting things done around here this week.

I had/have a (mental) list of things I want to do, and I have accomplished most of those, plus a few more things I hadn't even planned on doing.

But despite everything I've gotten done, yesterday I still felt like a failure because of the one thing I didn't do.

We'll likely never get the yield from the garden now that we would have had we not left and it dried up, but since we've been home and watering it, we've gotten some tomatoes and a couple of peppers.

(I thought the peppers were Sweet Banana, that's what they look like to me, until it dawned on me that I hadn't planted any Sweet Banana peppers.  I got my picture I had drawn of the garden where I labeled what was planted where and it says they are Serrano Chili peppers.
There's also a Serrano Chili plant at the end of the row with some small dark green peppers growing on that don't look much like these, so...*shrug*.)

So we had these tomatoes and peppers, and I needed to do something with them before they rotted, and decided I'd make a batch of Salsa (Pico de gallo).

I have no idea how to make Salsa, so I went on the internet to look for a recipe. Gosh, there are sooo many different recipes, using many different varieties of tomatoes and/or peppers.
I don't eat tomatoes or peppers, so I don't know the difference in them as far as taste or sweetness or what they're good to be used for or anything else, so it took awhile but I finally came across a likely looking recipe I thought I could attempt.

I'm not a great cook, or very knowledgeable about things like substituting this for that, or adjusting measurements. Usually I have to follow a recipe to.the.letter.

So I was nervous about this. Scared. I didn't want to mess it up.
If I didn't start, no way I could mess it up, right?

Well, except, the tomatoes and peppers were going to rot anyway if I didn't do something, so I finally said, Just do it! If it turns out gross, oh well, rotted veggies is gross, too!

First I cut up my tomatoes into little cubes. I had a mixture of Cherokee Purple and Beefsteak tomatoes. I have no idea if either of those are suitable for Salsa or not. 

Then I cut up my Serrano Chili peppers into tiny little pieces and added them to the tomatoes.

Next the recipe called for cutting up fresh Cilantro. I haven't ever used fresh herbs before, and my Mom used dried spice in a jar, so I went with that instead. 
I didn't know how much to use so I added a teaspoon full.

Next it wanted a whole clove garlic, chopped. Fresh garlic is another thing I'm not experienced with, but I had minced garlic in my fridge so I added a teaspoon of that.

Then a chopped onion.  I have chopped onions before, but I had frozen chopped onions I'd gotten on sale in my freezer so I just used those for ease. I just added "some", didn't measure the amount.

Then it said, "taste and season with lime juice and salt". 
I knew I wouldn't like it without salt at all, it was questionable if I would even like it with salt, on account of I usually don't like raw tomatoes or peppers at all.
So I went ahead and added the amount of lime juice and salt it recommended in the recipe (even though all the other measurements were off, I don't know, it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Walmart didn't have any limes, so I got this thing of Reconstituted Lime juice.

I was just going to let it sit and "soak in it's juices" (aka, wait for J to come home and taste it) but I was curious to know if it was terrible, or if I could actually taste something it needed, or needing adjusting.
So I girded my loins and gave it a try.

My "taster" is a lot like my nose. I don't know if it was good, but it wasn't bad. So I thought that was something.

I thought maybe it tasted a bit bland, but I didn't know if it needed more Cilantro, or salt, or juice or what.  But I don't like raw tomatoes anyway, so it might have been that I just didn't like their taste.

I got Ryan to try it, but he's a lot like me, we're not "foodies", we eat to survive, not for enjoyment.
He also didn't know if it needed anything, or adjusting. He said it didn't taste bland to him, though, especially with the salty corn chip he dipped in it.

So-kay, I called it a success and jar'ed it up (not canned, just jar'ed and refrigerated. J will probably have it eaten in a week.).

DIY Laundry Detergent Follow-up

Despite having been accused of finding things to wash just so I could hang it on the clothesline (have I ever mentioned how much I lurve my clothesline?) I think the bedsheets really did need laundering today.

I'd washed them before we left on vacation so I'd have a nice, clean bed to come to after sleeping 2.5 weeks in a camper bed, and we've been home for....uh, several days. Probably a week or a little longer, so I'm sure it was time or past time they needed washing.

I used 2 scoops, about 2.5 Tablespoons I think, of the DIY laundry detergent.

They didn't really have any stains or anything gross on them when I put them in, and they pretty much look the same after washing them.

They smelled....damp. Nothing special. Not like laundry detergent or soap or anything really.

I don't have a very intelligent nose, though, I can't decipher particular odors the way others can. To me something smells 'good' or 'bad' or 'like it's on fire'....
I asked Kev what he thought and he didn't know either. He said it smelled like fabric, lol.

Also my bedsheets weren't as soft as usual, but I think that might have been because I hung them out to dry. Usually I put those in the dryer. Hang drying gives things a little crunch.

So, no real verdict yet. Maybe after I wash something we wear, or something really dirty.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

I ran out of my stockpile of laundry detergent right before we left to go on vacation, so when I went to pick up a bottle to do all the laundry when we got back, I figured it'd be a good time to try to the DIY Laundry Detergent project: Make your own year's worth of laundry detergent for $20.00 (or less than $30.00).

Since I was standing in the Laundry aisle when I decided this, I had to google up a recipe on the fly.  I came across a likely looking recipe by Happy Money Saver, then when I got home and looked up my Too Hot to Handle fire wife friend, Trina's DIY laundry detergent project, the recipes weren't too different.

The empty laundry detergent bucket came from the fire station, rescued from the dumpster.
Don't people have any idea how handy buckets are?!  Just because the original contents are gone, there's a ton of things you can do with a good bucket. Carry water, garden soil, store pet food, compost, plant garden vegetables. Make/store DIY laundry detergent.

First thing I did was cut my Fels Naptha soaps into 5 chunks and microwave them. From one minute, to many, depending on your microwave. The Happy Money Saver took a minute to nuke the Zote soap, another page took 1:45 to nuke Fels Naptha.
My weak, sad microwave took several go's. I lost count.
Then I forgot to take a picture of them all puffed up. 

After they cooled thoroughly - if they aren't completely cool, they won't crumble right - crumble the soaps up into crumbs.

Once the soap was done, I layered it and the rest of the items in my bucket some at a time, stirring as I went.

The Oxyclean came with a scoop which I measured to be just about a Tablespoon. It should only take a couple scoops per load.

The detergent recipe with the pink Zote soap was prettier, if you're concerned about that sort of thing, and here are some cute printable gift tags to download if you plan to gift any.
Christmas is coming - could be an idea.

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $3.24
Great Value Baking Soda x 4 @ 56¢ each $2.24
Oxyclean (1.3 lb) $3.86
Fels Naptha bar laundry soap x 3 @ 97¢ each $2.91
Borax $3.97
Purex Crystals (Free, stockpiled from couponing days)
= $16.22 Total

I have no idea how to break down the cost per load, but I don't wash much, maybe 4-5 loads a week, so I expect this batch will last me a year at least.
I can get with a year's worth of laundry detergent for less than $20.00.

PS, I'd tell you how it worked, but I did all the laundry before I decided to make the detergent, so it'll be a couple days before I try it out.

PPS, Have I ever mentioned how much I loooooove my clothesline? I think it's my favorite thing ever!

(older pic; the grass has been mowed)

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Home From Our Roadtrip

For those who aren't on my FB, we've been away on a Roadtrip/Vacay the past couple of weeks.

I've been busy unpacking, doing loads of laundry, cleaning up (what's left of) the garden, and settling back in, and all the pictures are still on Ryan's harddrive, so I'll post more about the trip later.

The trip was nice, though. Arriving back home to find my garden in such a disastrous state, not so much.

Typically, we didn't get as much rain as we needed to keep it going on it's own.
(I thought J had arranged for his cousin or the neighbor to come over and water and pick any ripe tomatoes, but guess I thought wrong.)

The tomato plants were very dried up, and most of the tomatoes are just gone. I don't know if someone did pick them, or if a critter got them.

Something has been eating the pepper plants. The whole top part of some of the plants are gone.
Same thing with a couple of my Hydrangea.

Whatever ate/is eating the pepper plants apparently don't care much for the peppers themselves, though. We have a couple of nice Sweet Banana Peppers, and some Jalapeno (I think? Maybe Habanero...I forget what's what. I knew I would, though, so good thing I made a drawing and noted what I planted where.)

In other news, the Catawba tree leaved back out again. I didn't see any Worms on it this time, so I don't know if they'll come back...or if all those leaves will go straight into the pool this Fall.

Oh, and the volunteer vines I had - hoped - were cucumbers, turned out to be gourds.
Oh well. Maybe birdhouses.