Sunday, April 20, 2008

Free Chow!

The economy is slowing down. It's an ongoing topic on evening news shows and talk radio. Last night, I saw it for myself.
We went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game. Taco Bell has an deal with the team that it will give everyone in attendance gets a free Chalupa if the D-Backs score 8 runs or more in a game. This deal has been ongoing for years.

The Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres 3 to 10. When we left the game, Chalupa coupons were being handed out at the exit.

In past years, people seemed indifferent to the Chalupa deal. Upon leaving the stadium, some would take their coupons, and some wouldn't. Many would just drop them on the ground or in the nearest trash can. Life was good, and they simply couldn't be bothered with a free stuffed taco/burrito thing. After all, they're having brunch at the club in the morning.

This often worked to our advantage. The boys would sweep in and pluck discarded coupons off the sidewalk. At one point, Q had about 10 Chalupa coupons in the console of his car.

But last night was different. The stadium workers couldn't pass out those coupons fast enough. Everybody wanted one. Nobody was throwing them away. These coupons were being treated like gold.

I guess after having spent $3.30 per gallon on gas to get to the ballpark, $10 on parking, and $8 on beer, there was concern as to where tomorrow's lunch might come from.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm On A Break

We're getting down to the wire at school. I have just a few more weeks of classes, and several large projects to get done before finals. As a result, I will be putting my blogging duties (such as they are) on the back burner. I'll continue to read everyone else's blogs, but mine will be dormant for awhile...unless something post-worthy happens around here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hints and Tips

--Use the meats of walnut to hide surface scratches from the wood floor. Simply rub the walnut into the scratch and it pretty much disappears.

--When pushing a shopping cart, string the belt of the baby seat through your purse handle and clip it shut. This tactic may not completely thwart a purse snatcher, but it will make your bag just a bit harder to steal.

--Keep a baby sock in the car. It will come in handy on a hot day when the stick shift knob could double as a branding iron. Just slip the sock over the handle, and you won't have that shifting diagram burned into the palm of your hand.

--Don't let junk mail make its way into the house. Make a stop at the recycling can before going inside.

--If your wife sighs and rolls her eyes, something is wrong. DO NOT ignore her. Doing so is grounds for her to make your life hell.

--Covered sugar bowls make great dispensers for kitty treats. They're prettier than foil zip-top baggies, too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

So Long, Ace Man.

Last night, Adam Carolla was voted off Dancing With The Stars. I'll admit, he may not have been the best celebrity dancer on that show, but he was the most entertaining.

I'll continue watching as long as Priscilla Presley is on the show. After that, the TV will go back to HGTV...or baseball.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Our neighborhood is boardered by open desert and mountains. A few years ago, some of this land was subdivided into a series of custom home sites. All the lots are vacant, except for one. Construction on this home started over a year ago, but all work seemed to have stopped. Nothing has been done since sometime before Christmas.

I'm not happy that the mountainside being carved away and crammed with McMansions. But I'm even less pleased about garish desert palace (8,300+ square feet, per the county ascessors website) being left in a state of non-construction. In the meantime, we're greeted by a view of this lovely eyesore whenever we drive around the bend toward home.

It will be very interesting to see what becomes of this property. Will someone come along, buy the house, and finish it up? Or it be burned down by squatters who built an oil drum fire in the living room?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Family Jargon, Part 2

The Honda Fund: The giant AA battery gift tin and the loose change we store in it. I fill it with coins that I pull out of car ashtrays, sofa cushions, and the clothes dryer. Even so, the battery tin is only about one-inch full. It is my wish to be like that guy who used loose change to buy a pickup truck. Except I plan on stopping at the CoinStar first.

Camp Shower: The type of shower Q or I get when one of the boys decides to shower in their bathroom at the same time. So named because the water pressure is reminiscent of the semi-private showers one might find at a campground.

Utah Signs: Freeway signs so named because they are shaped like the state of Utah. (courtesy of Lucas)

Mars Cam: As seen on the local morning news. Footage taken from ADOT freeway cameras at sunrise. So named because on some mornings, the rising sun casts a glow that makes everything look red. (Courtesy of Lucas)

Piss Cam: See Mars Cam; replace red with yellow.

Road Sign Guy: The circle-headed, silhouette guy whose picture is mostly seen on school crosswalk signs. Road Sign Guy has branched out and is now found on graphic novelty t-shirts, water heater warning labels, and some IKEA furniture assembly manuals. He's very popular in our house.

Kyle Style: The inconsistent way in which Kyle unloads the dishwasher. The measuring cup that he put in the upper cabinet one day might get thrown in with the Tupperware the next. We once thought our cheese grater was gone forever until I found it lying inside the crock pot.

Double-Ended Laugh: A laugh so hearty and abrupt that it causes you to fart at the same time. Everyone does it. Admit it! (Courtesy of Quinton)

Throw-Up Pac-Man: Player 2 in Namco Museum's Pac-Man game. So named because he's green and looks like he's about to puke. (Courtesy of Kyle)

Flying TWA: TWA = Teenager With Attitude. Whenever Kyle has one of his bruting moments, is told no, or is otherwise pissed about something, we say he's "flying TWA".

Permanently Borrowed: The borrowing of an item that the lender doesn't immediately need returned. The item lives in the borrower’s garage, but the lender can call and ask for it back when and if he/she needs it. From my mom, I am PB-ing a compound miter saw and a matte cutter. And my sister and brother-in-law have "loaned" us a weight bench, a tile saw, and the cane that Q used while he was recovering from surgery.

Arizona Bathtub: The swimming pool. During the boys' summer vacation, I don't necessarily enforce daily showers as long as they've been out swimming that day. Use water wisely, People.

Arizona Hand Towel: Ratty old towel left outside for wiping hands while doing yard work. Use of the Arizona Hand Towel is usually preceded by dipping hands in the Arizona Bathtub.

The Stick of Power: The TV remote. (Courtesy of Quinton)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture? Part 2

Today, I was cleaning off the kitchen counter, and I came across this receipt:

So what's wrong with it? Yep, the genius who programmed the cash register thinks we live in Arkansas.

I shouldn't be surprised. As a lifelong Arizonan, I've seen this very same mistake made a lot. But dammit, if publishers and businesses can't get their geography straight, how can the general public be expected to do the same?

Attention to detail, people!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Container Gardening

As part of our ongoing backyard makeover, I've decided to try my hand at gardening. I'm planting everything in containers because their portability allows me to move heat sensitive plants indoors when needed. Also, buying pottery is half the fun. So far, I haven't killed everything...knock on wood.

Petunias and Impatiens. I love these pots. The colors remind me of Fiesta.


Gerbera Daisy. This bloom is the perfect shade of pink.

Elephant's Food. Note to self: buy more Talavera pottery.


No Arizona landscape would be complete without some Mexican pottery and cacti.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Service With An Attitude?

I'm in the middle of recovering an ottoman for upholstery class. Yesterday, I had to stop at a fabric store to pick up some supplies. This isn't a big, shiny chain store like Jo-Ann Fabrics. No scrapbooking aisle here. It's a no-frills, warehouse-type place with bolts of decorator fabric piled high to the ceiling. They also sell stuff like replacement mechanisms for Grandpa's recliner or new bun feet for the family sofa.

When I was there, one of the employees was a woman in her 50s, and she was walking around with a scowl on her face. This broad was pissed and wanted the whole world to know it. In fact, she was none too pleased when I requested to have some piping cut.

And then I noticed her t-shirt. It was sporting the same phrase as the one pictured below:

I dont find the shirt offensive, per se. It would be funny when worn by an emo kid, a smarmy college student, or even a spunky old guy. But on a retail store employee--an employee whose job involves public interaction--it is inappropriate.
I have shopped at this store before, and it appears to be a very casual work environment. There's no dress code that I know of. And that's is fine. I'm definitely a champion for discount fabric and low overhead. But why would a business owner allow an employee to give his customers a passive-aggressive "F#&% YOU" through her manner of dress?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday 13: Conveniences

A few weeks ago, kj posted a list of modern conveniences that make life easier. My list is below:

1. iPod: Changing CDs after 12 songs is just a pain in the butt. Plus, I can hear Pablo Cruise and Sammy Hagar concurrently. Try THAT with FM radio!

2. Memory stick: Or flash drive, or USB key, or whatever you choose to call it. This thing allows me to store work done at home and retrieve it on the school computers, or vice versa. I lose this thing so much that I should be wearing it around my neck like some sort of nerd bling. In fact, I probably would if it was pink instead of white and day-glow green (Q bought it).

3. Debit cards: I haven't gone inside the mini market to pay for gas in over 10 years!!!! I no longer carry a checkbook, either.

4. Live streaming: This allows me to listen to The Adam Carolla Show over the Internet. The former FreeFM station in Phoenix changed its format to bad pop music and rap last June. Imagine my surprise when the radio alarm went off and instead of hearing AC rant on about airport security, we got Paris Hilton music! Rude awakening, indeed!

5. Remote control for the ceiling fans: No more getting off the couch to adjust the fan speed.

6. Caller-ID: This feature came in REALLY handy when Q was sick. Some days, I wouldn't even answer the phone unless the readout indicated that the call was from the hospital. In those cases, it was usually Q calling to tell me he got his test results. Oh, and could I please bring him some clean t-shirts and when I come in tomorrow?

7. The on-screen program guide that comes with digital cable: We used to buy a Sunday newspaper just for the TV listing insert (and Parade magazine). Later, we'd see what's on by consulting the TV Guide Channel. The latter method was fine when the schedule scrolled up the whole length of the screen. Nowadays, TVGC is less TV Guide and more Channel. If it weren't for the on-screen guide, we'd probably get rid of digital cable. There are far too many crap channels on our cable system. Did you know there's a C-SPAN 3?

8. Cell phone: Surprisingly, I don't use mine that often. I make maybe 10 calls per week...most of which are to Quinton's office or to check on the boys. Sometimes the battery dies at the bottom of my purse. Even so, my cell phone is like a security blanket. I just know something bad is going to happen if I don't have it.

9. Swiffer SweeperVac: Lightweight and cordless, this battery-operated broom vac allows me to do quick sweep ups of dust bunnies, crumbs, and errant kitty litter. Definitely better than a broom and dust pan. I just wish it had better suction.

10. The ability to get cash back at the point of purchase: I don't understand why people complain about ATM fees. They are the easiest thing to avoid! Just go to the store, buy some beer and Cheetos, and pay with a debit card. When prompted, tell the little machine you want cash back, and how much. Most grocery stores big box retailers make this option available. And unlike an ATM--which only dispenses twenties and fifties--the cashier will break it down any way you wish. The only problem is, most places allow you to withdraw a limited amount...usually $40.

11. Air conditioning: Living in Phoenix, I use the car A/C year-round. Even in December, the inside of a parked car can reach 80 degrees, plus.

12. Spray-on sunscreen: This stuff is expensive and one can doesn't last very least not around here. But application is quick and not nearly as messy as regular sunscreen.

13. Online bill pay: Check writing is down, and postage stamp use is WAY down. We only have a handful of expenses that require us to write a check and mail it. I only use online bill pay if it's free. There's an online service I could use to add money to the boys' school lunch account, but they want to charge a $2.50 transaction fee. To this I say: "Lucas, please drop off the lunch check on your way to band practice."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Yesterday in "Dear Abby":

DEAR ABBY: I'm 13, and I have a problem with my parents. They have been having sex. That's not the problem, except for the fact that they don't wait for me to fall asleep before doing it. Tonight they had sex before saying goodnight! How do I confront them about this? -- FREAKED OUT IN ALAMEDA, CALIF.

DEAR FREAKED OUT: Tonight at dinner, say, "Mom, Dad, I think it's time we talked about the facts of life. The first fact of life is, I'm not deaf."

My Response: Be grateful, Honey. Be grateful that your parents are still together and that they still like love each other. Most kids your age aren't so lucky.

Also, there are worse things in life than overhearing your parents have sex with each other. You could be hearing them do it with other people.

Now, go close your door and listen to your iPod, Dear.