Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Dream House

I signed up for a service where a realtor emails me house listings in the area whenever they come up. I really love real estate and looking at houses and just dreaming of a space bigger than my 25' x 25' little house. Just the other day, the house of my dreams came up in Saline (about 20 minutes from here).

Here are its specs:
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 full baths
  • 1 half baths
  • Built in 2001
  • 2 car garage
  • 2236 square feet
  • 0.37 acres
  • Basement
  • 1+ fireplaces
  • SALINE school district
  • 130 BY 124 lot size
I love it! And to top it all off, it's only listed at $190,000. I'm tempted to rent out my house to incoming University of Michigan students and buy it. Isn't this house amazing?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Off to the Market We Go!

There is a "to do" in my life that will just never go away no matter how many times I do it and causes me a great deal of stress. No, it's not the dishes, or the vacuuming, or the never-ending laundry. These are things I can cross off my list without my heart rate increasing too much. But the one thing that completely stresses me out is grocery shopping. I hate it. I really, really, really, really hate it. And the funny thing is that I haven't taken either of my kids with me in I don't know how long, so it's not the stress of a screaming toddler or having to abandon a cart full of food because of a child who is having a meltdown. It just dawned on me a few days ago that the one thing that is giving me anxiety attacks is the actual grocery store itself. And the people who work there. Just last week I decided to ditch my regular ghetto Meijer and make Kroger my new store. Sadly, it did not make a good impression on me. With only Ashlee in tow, we decided to go pick up a few things for dinner. We were greeted by a blasting air conditioner, which was good because it was over 90 degrees outside and almost 90% humidity. But within as little as a minute or two, Ashlee was saying how cold she was. I said, "Hold on. We'll be out of the refrigerated section soon." But no matter where we went, the cold followed us. We had goosebumps and our teeth were chattering. We were sooooooo cold! I started shopping really fast so we could check out, but when you don't know where things are, this takes awhile. Upon making it to checkout, the cashier commented on the watermelon in my cart: "Now that's a seeded watermelon if I've ever seen one." First of all, What?? How can you tell a watermelon is seeded just by looking at it? I said, "Actually, it's supposed to be a seedless watermelon." He says, "No, no. It's way too late in the season for a seedless watermelon. That one is seeded." I was thinking to myself, Well, Mr. Produce Specialist Moonlighting As A Cashier, I picked this one out of the section labeled seedLESS watermelons, but whatever, dude. Just let me check out and leave. He scans all my stuff and then I go to put the watermelon on the belt, but he says he's already scanned it. So I'm thinking, How on earth did he scan it when I haven't even taken it out of the cart yet? So I say, "Can you tell me how much it rang up as?" He takes 3 years to scan back over the receipt and tells me it was $5.99. I say, "It's supposed to be just over four dollars." All of a sudden, he takes off. Yep. Just turns around and leaves without a word. The bagger guy and I look at each other like, "What the heck?" We realize that he went to go and see the posted sign for himself in the produce section. I say to the bagger, "Why didn't he just scan the sticker on my watermelon? It would have told him the price." Bagger guy just shrugs and looks confused. Ashlee starts with, "Mom! I am FREEZING!" and we're all just standing there wondering when he's going to come back, and I'm getting anxious because I'm supposed to be on my way to pick up Nick. Then a manager lady comes over and asks where the cashier went. I tell her that he went on a quest to do a price check. Then I politely request that she kindly scan the sticker for me and send me on my way. So she does, and it comes up as $4.38. But then I realize that now I'm being charged for two watermelons and ask her to take the more expensive one off. While she's doing this, the cashier comes back and says, "Yep! It's $5.99, just like I said it was." The manager says, "No. It's $4.38. Why did you leave to do a price check? You should have just scanned the tag." He starts into some explanation about how my watermelon was long and not round like a ball, so he thought it was a seeded watermelon, blah, blah, blah. The manager tells him to void out the first watermelon which he can't seem to do very quickly. Ashlee reminds me again how cold she is and wants to leave. I'm stressed because of how much time this is all taking. After what seems like forever, they hand me my receipt without a single "Sorry for the wait." In fact, they seem to have the attitute that I am the one who is causing so much trouble and shame on me for making them correct their own mistake. Geez!

So, I have a few options. I can go back to my regular Meijer where the lines are ridiculously long and I'm afraid I will get mugged, I can give Kroger another chance*, or I can spend 3 months of my grocery budget on one trip to Whole Foods (where I get good customer service and have no fear of being mugged, but will be forced to fast until we have enough money to buy more food.) Can you see why I love grocery shopping so much? Seriously! Please tell me there is a better way!

*Kroger originally put a bad taste in my mouth when I was approached by a very scary hooded homeless man who was mumbling some extremely crude things under his breath--it frightened me so much that I didn't go back for many years. The Kroger mentioned in this watermelon account is at a different location.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diary of Mad Woman

I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to take Nick to karate practice. I tuned out the loud chatter of the kids in the seats behind me and was in my own little reverie, thinking about the events of the day:

"Kids, it's time for breakfast."
"I don't want breakfast."
"Nick, please get off the computer."
"I don't want to get off the computer."
"Ashlee, please go to the potty."
"I don't need to go to the potty."
"Nick, please vacuum the family room."
"I'm too tired."
"Ashlee, please pick up your Barbies."
"But I'm going to play with them later."
"Please get dressed guys."
"But I'm watching a show."
"Go outside and play."
"But there's nothing to do."
"Let's walk up to the park."
"I don't want to go to the park."
"Nick, come and see these tiny baby frogs I found!"
"I don't care about frogs . . . I want to go home. This is boring."
"Nick, it's time for karate."
"I hate karate."

I'm leaving out the length of these conversations for brevity's sake (along with the foot stomping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth), but hopefully I've drawn a partial picture of the absurdity of my days since summer began. You know in those prison movies where the inmates are sent to solitary confinement for huge amounts of time and how it basically drives them mad? I was thinking that instead, they should just sentence each inmate to a summer alone with two children. The end result would be the same and I could get some free babysitting out of it. Coincidentally, it was right at this moment that I was coming up to a red light. The car in front of me had a single bumper sticker that read, "Some Days I Wish I Was A Missing Person."
I wonder where I can get me one of those . . .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

My latest "project" lately, now that I'm finally down to one class, is to procure a trampoline for my two beloved children (ok, and for me, too.) In theory, this should be a relatively simple task: go to Sam's Club, put giant trampoline box in cart, put the safety net enclosure box in another cart, check out, go home, set up said trampoline, jump with silly grin on face, etc. But this simple life has been tainted by a thing called "Craig's List," where one can find pretty much anything at all at really, really, really discounted prices and sometimes even for free. You see, that simple life I was just talking about made no mention of the money I would have to part with to obtain the brand-new, blissful bounciness--$340 including tax. While this really isn't a huge amount of money, knowing that if I hold out long enough my chances of finding a decent free or really cheap trampoline prevents me from whipping out my credit card.

You would think this would give me great cause to jump on any trampoline listing (no pun intended) that comes up cheaper than $340. But strangely enough, I have the nerve to be picky. I don't want the giant 15 foot trampoline because then it will kill too much of my lawn and will be too heavy to move around to keep the lawn growing. Maybe I want the 12 foot trampoline or maybe that will be too small. Perhaps I should go with a 13 foot, right in the middle. I don't want the trampoline that doesn't include the safety net because I want the kids to be able to jump without me peering out the back every 2 seconds. I don't want the one that has rust on the legs because that will just plain look bad or it might fall apart. And when I finally find the right combination of things I am looking for, I back out because the drive to go get it is an hour or more and I'll have to take it apart and load it into my car. I'm so annoyed with myself. What is wrong with me?? I guess what I basically want is a decent used trampoline with a safety enclosure for free. Or a small amount of cash. Come on Craig's List! Help a girl out!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peonies Season!

These gorgeous flowers have become my new favorite. They bloom along a big stretch of our fence every late Spring. I just can't get over how fantastic they are!

The kids and I couldn't believe how perfectly fragrant they were!

It's too bad they're only in bloom for a couple of weeks. As of today, they are still growing, but it won't be for too much longer.

It's this kind of scenery in the Spring that almost makes the long Michigan winters worthwhile. Almost.