328 - A day of 'hurry up and wait'

Took the day off work to get my passport updated and my driver's license renewed. In both cases I had to go down there in person because I was finally changing my name. Would have waited, but my license expires on my birthday so I had to renew it, and I felt like if my license was in my new name, my passport probably ought to be too, just to avoid problems.

The fact that I made an 'appointment' at the passport agency was misleading. Once I got there, I found that I still had to stand in line, show my documents to a clerk and check in, then I was issued a number and sat down with a very interesting variety of people, and waited to be called to another window where I would hand my documents to another clerk who would actually process my request. Both clerks scrutinized the calendar, you can only make an appointment if your travel date is in 14 days or less, so when I told them when I was travelling, I guess they thought they 'got' me... but alas, I was within the window. Ha! I win. By the end of next week I should have my new passport. So that took about an hour. Not too bad, but not what I expected. And they have no parking, you have to pay to park at a lot across the street... $10. I need to build a parking lot so I can charge exorbitant prices just so someone can park their own car and use a machine to pay me for the privilege.

Then I went to lunch with a couple of friends. We ate Greek food, then went to Spec's (liquor store) to look at cheese. I've never been to the downtown Spec's before. They claim that it is as big as a city block... that's a lotta liquor. But they also have food and other odds and ends. I ended up buying a creamy version of Limoncello, a weird soda, and a couple of things for Mike.

After that I went to the DPS. Holy hell... that was... no words to describe... I'm scarred from the experience. There were no spaces in the parking lot so people were parked all up and down the street.  That should have sent me running the other way, but I needed to get this done. So I parallel parked and walked inside. The line was to the door and going nowhere fast. I think it took about 15-20 mins just to get to through the first line of defense, a surly woman whose job it was to put people in their place. I sailed through, but an old woman behind me got some attitude.

So I got another number, and leaned against a wall until a seat became available. A small community formed around me, each of us in disbelief at how unorganized this operation seemed. My number was 084. They were calling 900's and 200's and 600's and 400's... seemed like there was no rhyme or reason to it. Then the surly woman whose job it was to put people in their place asked for everyone's attention: "Anyone here who doesn't have a number, all the support people who do not need to be here, need to leave. Go outside, go to your cars, but you cannot be in here. There are too many people in the building and the fire marshall will close us down." So a few (unhappy) people got up and went outside into the 97-degree heat. Except... there was one woman that surly woman noticed that didn't leave. So she confronted her and told her that her fifteen year old son would be fine on his own, that she has a son that age and she leaves him home alone and he is fine, and there are police officers in the building who keep an eye on things. The lady left, and took her two daughters with her, but she didn't go quietly. I kinda felt like it should have been surly woman's job to control the flow of traffic. If there were too many people in the building, she should have turned some of them away rather than handle it the way she did.

I was there for an hour and a half. And I left with a new restriction.... I have to wear my glasses when I drive. I already do it, but it wasn't mandatory. Now it is. Damn I'm old.

So I started my day at 9 am, made it to the passport agency by the skin of my teeth at 10 am, spent some time with friends, braved the DPS, and finally made it home around 6 pm. This was my 'day off' and I only enjoyed about an hour of it. Plus I didn't get to talk to Mike very much, so that sucked. Glad tomorrow is Saturday. Sort of.

Also, Cat Genie... about to shove it up someone's... yeah... so far it has gotten plugged up twice, which results in shit soup... very nasty, and something I really don't want to deal with. 90% of the time the cat's are pooping on the garage floor anyway. I'm dealing with more shit than I ever did when I was scooping out a litterbox. So after I came home to shit soup again today, and had to clean pee off the guest bathroom floor, I gave in. The litterbox is back in business. The cats win, Cat Genie sucks and I'm sorry I ever purchased it. In theory, it was great, and maybe for some people it actually works, but for me, it has been nothing but a hassle since day one.

So ending on a positive note... Red Riding Hood was a good movie. I wanted it to be, but I hadn't expected it to be. I was pleasantly surprised. Haven't run across too many good movies lately.


327 - Obsessed... again

I'm back in full-out couponing mode. It's addictive. I'm not one of those Extreme Couponers, although I watch them and dream of someday checking out for $0 (not buying quite so much stuff)... but... for the moment, I can work a deal at CVS and Walgreens, and maybe save about 30-60% on my groceries. I agree with the EC's... coupons = money.

This weekend I got several boxes of cereal, three bottles of Ragu, two bottles of mayo, a bottle of ranch dressing, some candy bars, mosquito towelettes, suntan lotion, razors, pain relievers, several air fresheners five 2-liters of Pepsi... and a whole bunch more... a trunk full of stuff... $230 retail value, for about $60 out of pocket, and I got about $30 back in Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards to spend next week, plus there was a rebate on one of the items, plus a $10 gas card. Filling up for $23 felt good. When it all settles out, I effectively paid about $19 for the lot.

Then I heard that Sears has a promotion this week where if you buy $50 worth of men's apparel (happy father's day!), you get a $25 gift card back to spend next week (in store only... I had Mike about to order online before I read the fine print). I scanned the internet for printable coupons and found a 20% off coupon that happened to be good until 5 pm yesterday, so at 3 pm I hauled ass to the store and bought Mike four shirts and four pairs of shorts for $85 (retail value was probably over $350 before sales and coupons). What made the deal extra sweet was that we had gotten a free $50 gift card from Sears for writing to the corporate office to tell them about a shipping debauchle with a workbench we'd ordered. In the letter I explained the problem, but I also praised a very helpful associate... I try to be fair. They actually called me to follow up on the letter, and they offered the gift card even though they had already refunded our shipping costs. So Sears is on the good list - do business with them! Effectively spent about $40 out of pocket after taxes, and got $25 of that back in a gift card... happy... happy... happy...

I get all my deal scenarios from the links on my side bar. I use Southern Savers and My Dallas Mommy the most often, but I check around on the other sites because sometimes I find deals there they they both missed. Check the math though, sometimes prices vary.

Online, I use EvReward.com to see which rebate sites are giving the biggest percentage back, and then I use RetailMeNot.com to find coupon codes to stack on top of that. Save a lot of money that way. Sometimes you have to try a few codes out before you find one that works, but hell, if you save $10 it's worth a couple of minutes, is it not?