Thursday, February 24, 2011

Be packing!
King Henry VI

With the constant back and forth between the Quad Cities over the last few weeks I am so thankful to finally have a moving date set (one week from today!). I've been sitting in a completely packed house for almost a month and I'm sick of it.

Because everything has been packed for longer than we expected, we've reached the point where we're digging back through boxes to find things. Nick's favorite egg pan. Our return address stamp. The hand-held mixer.

Now I can finally repack everything but the essentials, seal it up and start packing the "relocation cubes" sitting in our driveway.

"Oh, why yes, we do have three storage units in our driveway. Adds to the character of the neighborhood, don't you think?"

Movers are really, really expensive. We used ABF U-Pack when we moved from Florida and it worked great. So we're doing it again at the fraction of the cost of standard movers. We will be hiring help to move the furniture but other than that, it's all us.

Sounds like fun, right? Wanna come help?

That's what I thought.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out
with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.

Erma Bombeck

With the move and my non-full-time-employment status we've been extra careful with our money lately. It's not that we don't have money for the essentials and an occasional dinner out, we I need to be more conscious of those little, random purchases that chip away at a monthly budget.

I'm just being super aware of where my pennies go. I'm eating lunch at home after running errands, skipping TJMaxx browsing sessions and smuggling cans of soda and microwave popcorn into the movies (eh, I always did that anyway).

In a recent trip to Target, I needed two things. A can of my Dove hairspray and a replacement for that little plastic thing that holds your toilet paper roll on the dispenser. I did not need a shirt that was on sale for $9, stationery from the Dollar Spot, a cute pair of PJ pants, discounted Valentine's Day items or a toy for Winnie.

Did not need. Did not buy. Thankyouverymuch.

Here are my two thrifty revelations:
  1. Target has little bags. Not just the standard grocery store size ones but they have little ones too. Two items fit nicely in that little bag. Never in my life have I ever walked out of Target with a little bag. It swings nicely on the end of your finger.
  2. They actually let you out of the doors spending $4.72. You don't have to spend $20 to be released from Target.
Here's to many more tiny bag shopping trips!

My snazzy little Target bag.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • we finally have a rental house in the Quad Cities!
  • the fun atmosphere at Iron Barley.
  • doggy socializing and chatting with Winnie at the local pet store.
  • having my lovely in-laws in town last weekend to celebrate a very belated Christmas!
  • glorious weather in the 50s that's melting the snow and taking the chill out of the air.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Random: lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
  • Today is my wonderful father's birthday. We always recognize today and Father's Day through the year even though he isn't here to celebrate. And we are sure he is thrilled to be in heaven and not have to turn 66(!).
  • We are on round 496 (okay, round 3) of trying to find a rental in the Quad Cities so we don't have to live in the golf shop. Fingers crossed we've narrowed it down to two prospects and should have a decision today.
  • The low tonight in the Quad Cities is 6 degrees. I'm going to need to upgrade my outerwear.
  • I know I grew up with terrible allergies but it still amazes me to see my entire body break out in hives and red splotches simply due to fragrance added to a common pharmacy item. As Nick said, "That's impressive."
  • Winnie is operating at a high level of naughtiness lately. Poor thing just has cabin fever but she is sort of driving me
  • 37 days until I get to spend a week in Vegas with Ashley. I am so fortunate to have the time with her before the baby comes - lots of fun together and I'm throwing a baby shower. Yippee!
  • I treated myself to a movie on Wednesday afternoon while Nick was working in the Quad Cities and saw Black Swan. I knew it was going to be weird but I loved it. The dancing is what I really adored (I could smell the resin!) but I just thought the whole thing was fascinating. Totally creepy and disturbing but well worth every award nomination.
  • I rarely eat candy (I'd rather have cheese) however driving for four hours each way and forth to the Quad Cities makes me want those sour gummy worms in the gas station. And the caramel bulls eyes. And the Red Vines. Damn.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cats are smarter than dogs.
You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.

Jeff Valdez

Pets are funny. I often pause to laugh and think how random it is that I share my home with these furry, unique little creatures.

During our snow day on Tuesday, Bella and Winnie were in rare form. I'm always amazed that Winnie can go a full eight hours at home without an accident but when we're here she needs to go out no less than every 45 minutes.

Let the dog in, let the dog out.
Let the dog in, let the dog out.
Let the dog in, let the dog out.

Being home all day also lets me see their habits. Winnie conks out on the living room chair. Snoring and running in her sleep. Barking occasionally, no doubt chasing squirrels in her Beagle dreams.

Not very ladylike, but cozy still the same.

Now Bella, on the other hand, spent the entire day stationed next to the heat register. I'll have to agree, cats are far wiser than dogs!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

All things are cheap to the saving, dear to the wasteful.
Benjamin Franklin.

A day at home because of the weather was certainly welcome because of our growing to do list. Nick got a ton of stuff done at the dining room table for his new job. I worked and also put a dent in our packing. We are low on boxes now but I got all of our bathroom and bedroom drawers cleaned out.

Perhaps it's because of my mother's minimalist household, but I tend to stash toiletries! I'm ruthless with editing home goods and clothing (if I don't use them, out they go). But with sunscreen, bandages, cotton pads and razors... you know you'll use them, so why not store them?

Generally, it's practical. We really do use most of my stash and it's nice to not get stuck without that extra bottle of aloe gel or extra Zicam.

But I do, as realized today, have a problem with hoarding hotel-size goodies. Not just shampoo and conditioner but sewing kits, little plastic bags of Q-Tips and shower caps are all in my stash.

I always take all the bathroom goodies when we travel. When we get home, I toss them in a drawer. A drawer that I can no longer close because it's full to the brim! I use the little lotions in my work bag or at my bedside table. Other items are used in later travel and for house guests. Nick loves mouthwash (aka "Mouth Juice") so I put aside those little bottles!

But it's gotten out of control and I'm not moving all this stuff! I gathered two big freezer bags for the food pantry pile (they said they'd happily take them) growing in the basement.

Hopefully someone who really needs that bar of soap (or an individually wrapped shoe horn, for that matter) will appreciate and enjoy my little travel tokens!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Of winter's lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer's secret
Deep down within its heart.
Charles G. Stater

Well, as of Tuesday evening, this "record setting snow storm" wasn't much more than 3 inches of sleet. The areas around us in Missouri had huge amounts of snow, but it basically missed us here in St. Louis. It is supposed to snow through the night so we'll see how everything looks in the morning.

Beyond the minimal snow, what was impressive was the ice! I'd never seen a real ice storm before.

It literally coated everything in a shiny grey veil. From the power lines and big tree branches to tiny berries and every little blade of grass, everything was covered with ice.

Really, it was beautiful. I took Winnie out early in the morning and you could hear the sleet hitting the ice - tink, tink, tink. Everything was so still. So calm.

I know I'll see plenty of snow and ice in Iowa but here are some pictures I snapped while taking Winnie for a little walk in the afternoon:

Rabbit, rabbit!
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