Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Random Doodads

Today, I went on the mother of all grocery trips. Since August is a 5-week month, DH gets three paychecks, meaning there's an extra check, since I budget all the bills to be paid out of two per month. Also, our local grocery store is having a gas-booster price knockoff of $.40 per gallon for every hundred dollars you spend (usually it's half that) in one trip. Knowing this holy bifecta (is that a word?)was coming, I let the cupboards go EMPTY. I sh*t you not, there was nothing in the fridge but four gogurts, some condiments, and half a carton of milk. Plus, some moldy lettuce in the forget-you-bought-this crisper, but I don't count that. I was supposed to go on Sunday, but since DH had his kidney stone that day (yes, he's feeling a lot better, thank you all for your concern, darlings) I couldn't go until today, when I was sure he wouldn't either a)barf on the kids or b)piss a boulder.

SO, with two weeks' worth of coupons and bonus card in hand, off I went to the local market. And I saved (drumroll, please)... over $100!!!!! The original price was almost $450, and I spent $336!!! (Yes, you may throw confetti, because I AM!!) This beats my old record, because the last time I saved anythink like this it was with a special coupon from the store I used to shop at that gave me 20% off an entire trip. I don't usually spend this much money, but since the gas thing was on, and I had so many coupons, AND this was an extra check, I used the opportunity to stock up on nonperishables like dog food (I got two coupons from this woman in the pet aisle who wasn't going to use them - one for $5 and one for $6 off of Iams, which was already on sale!!! I nearly had an orgasm!), snacks, and cereals. Also, I still have another $10 to save from this trip, because I have a rebate form from Kelloggs that gives me $10 if I bought ten items from Kelloggs, Sunshine, or Keebler's in one trip, cut out the UPC codes, circle the items on the receipt, and send a partridge in a pear tree. I know they make it so hard because they think that no one will do it, or we'll all mess it up and then not bother. Well, guess what, boys? I have a LOT of time on my hands, and I don't care WHAT it takes, I want my $10 because I think you screw me every week on those damn cereal bars. Thank you, my envelope will be in the mail tomorrow. Nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

I like grocery shopping. I like the challenge of seeing how much I can save. I like knowing that there are going to be yummy foods in my pantry for awhile. I like fantasizing that I will cook even yummier foods using the things in the basket. Never mind that I will probably not have the time or the inclination to do so; when I'm at the store, ANYTHING's possible. It's like college - when you're there, there are endless opportunities and you really think you're going to do every single one. Then you go outside, wake up, and make tacos for dinner.


I have been reading up a storm lately. Most notably, I've read two books by Gail Tsukiyama, Women of the Silk and it's sequel, The Language of Threads, and both were wonderful. They tell the story of a girl named Pei, who is given by her parents into the silk factories because they can't afford to keep her in the home, from the time she's a child until, by the end of the second novel, she's in middle age. Tsukiyama is an amazing author who writes with descriptive clarity that provides a full image of her characters and their world without being gratuitous or heavy. One thing that I particularly like is the history lesson that seeps into my mind almost through osmisis while I read. These novels span southeastern China's 1920s through 1950s, which was a hugely tumultous time period with the invasion by the Japanese, the ending of the emperor system and the beginnings of Mao and the cultural revoloution. Another thing that I found particularly interesting was that the other novel of hers that I loved, Street of a Thousand Blossoms, took place in Japan during the same time period, so it was like reading one of those books where you read one side and then flip it over to get the other person's point of view.

I have also devoured Stephanie Meyers' books Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, the third and fourth books in the Twilight series. Actually, in the last three weeks I've read all four. I have to say, books 1 and 3 were good, while books 2 and 4 were not so much. In particular Breaking Dawn was a big disappointment. All the problems of the first three books are basically resolved in the first few chapters, and instead of using that opportunity to move forward, Meyers simply recycles old problems, dusts them off, and thrusts them forward like they're shiny new issues. Maybe her teen audience won't mind, but I thought it was cheap. She said in an interview (which I only read because I was at the gym trapped on an elliptical machine with a choice of Entertainment Weekly and Men's Bodybuilding Weekly, I swear) that her publisher had basically forced her to put out two books in a year and she would never do it again because it was too much pressure. It showed, because obviously she didn't have time to think up anything interesting to write about for OVER FOUR HUNDRED PAGES. I admit it, by the end, I was skimming. Boo, hiss.


Swistle said...

I just read Women of the Silk! It was kind of a downer, but good. I agree about getting history that way: I was surprised at how RECENTLY all that stuff happened.

Creative Kerfuffle said...

i love this post! i love the excitement you have for the grocery shop! i was right there with you and totally bow down to your superb saving skills. wow---tossing confetti all over. seriously, that kicks ass. as for the books--i'll have to check those out, they sound good. and why the hell is cereal so expensive? it's not even meat for god's sake!

d e v a n said...

Love the grocery store part! I agree about it being like college - I have that same issue. I stock up on all these wonderful ingredients but when it's 4:00 after a long day I make chicken and rice, again. Or tacos. hehe
Still, great savings!