Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Simplifying my life?

So I am at playgroup a few weeks ago and one of my neighbors had just been with a friend who coupons. She started talking about what she had learned. Her friend only spends about $20/week on food for a family of 4. She knows all the tricks. Always use a coupon but only use it when the item is already on sale. She gets many things free with this trick. And then things like if it is buy one get one free you can use 2 coupons. So if it is buy one for $4 and get one free and you have 2 coupons for $2 off then both would be free. Well the idea of saving money on food, which after my mortgage is the biggest expense we have, and some months they come pretty close, sounds very interesting to me.

So I went right out and bought a Sunday paper to get coupons. I was amazed by how many I could actually use. Now I might not always use some of the brands I cut out but if they are cheaper than what I would normally use I am for it. I have no brand loyalty. Then I went through the Cub foods ad to find out if anything I cut out was on sale. There were a few things but my best deal was hot dogs. There was a store coupon for buy one get one free and then I had $2 off. Then when I got there it had a $1 instant coupon on the package. So I was able to use 3 different coupons and paid less than $1 for 2 packages of hot dogs. Hurray for me. Of course I almost never buy hot dogs but I knew Memorial day was coming up and it would be a time I would consider eating them. I am hoping to get that kind of deal again on something I use regularly but didn't get the coupons this week. I need to re-subscribe to the paper if I am going to make this happen.

I wish I had figured out how to master this technique earlier in the month. There is a week left of the month and I have $10 in my food budget and an empty pantry. So I guess we will be going over a little. Next month my goal with coupons and sale flier reading will simply be to stay within my food budget. I don't know if I have ever done it before. In June I am going to have money left in the food category by the end of the month. You heard it here first people! Can't wait to see how it goes.

Now the question is, am I simplifying my life? Is it easier to cut coupons and read sale fliers all the time. Plus what I am reading says I need to become aware of what is a good deal on foods I buy. So if I saw a sale on chicken breasts for $2/pound I wouldn't know if that was a good deal or a bad deal. Should I stock up or just buy my one package for the week? I need to know what my target prices are in order to know if I should stock up or not. This is going to take more than a little time and effort to learn, process and organize.

I was reading through the Frugal Granola blog this weekend back when she was first describing their decision to simplify their life. She commented on the fact that making all their food from scratch is not simple but that simplifying their life was really about having a focus on family, health and time together not on actually doing simple things or doing nothing.

Somehow simple/family time seem to go together with budget/spending less. Why is that? I guess the goal is to live within our means and have savings so that every moment doesn't need to be spent wondering if we can continue living the life we have created. How long can we keep all these balls in the air? So John and I are learning to live on our income and are finding life to be so much more fun and simple as a result. Not that we are anywhere near mastering it. John still worries about whether he is makign enough money, we still spend more than our budget some months and we still sit in seperate rooms at the computer rather than sitting together as a family more nights than I care to admit. But we are trying, one step at a time, to create a simpler life.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Project

Well I can't feel the tip of my right index finger even a couple hours after finishing the project but I managed to turn a very, very dull (no before pictures) office furniture table and old brown metal folding chairs into THIS:

With just a few cans of spray paint.

Now I need to make all of this:


Look like it belongs in the same room with THIS:

Add a coat of paint to the walls and maybe even the floors and I have an enjoyable outdoor room.

I love summer projects. Hopefully by the end of summer this sad, sad gazebo will have a whole new life.

zombie proofing and gum wrapper baseball

I seems to be a Jake time of year. The last post was about him, this post is about him and likely with the activities of next week there is sure to be another about him soon. But that is the end of the school year for you. Lots of activities to write about and moments to be proud.

With the transition to Edina schools this year Jake has been busy making new friends. We have felt so blessed that he has been accepted into the school and have had so much fun getting to know his new friends. A few of them live walking distance and so with the arrival of the nice weather and the end of play rehearsals he has been spending alot of time with them after school. Somehow they never end up here. Could it be our lack of x-box 360? Jake has deemed our house "boring" and doesn't like to invite friends over.

I had been dreaming of Jake's friends hanging out at our house but now I am learning to find other ways into his life. He has deemed our house fun enough for parties. One friend over is boring, but 15 friends over is fun. So I am already looking forward to his birthday party in June. And last night we discovered that we can hang with them if we drive them somewhere.

One of Jake's friends had been to a burger joint in St. Paul called "The Nook" and convinced them all they should go there for dinner. I don't know what all the other parents said but we agreed to drive them 30 minutes across town for dinner. It was only a couple blocks off the path to Jake's old school so we were familiar with the area. Plus we always love an adventure, especially when it involves food. There was a 45 minute wait for this tiny restaurant so we had to sit outside. Luckily it was a nice night. Thomas, one of Jake's friends, decided to teach them gum wrapper baseball which he invented to play at school between classes. (how much passing time do they have???) This entertained us (and the other waiting patrons) for about 30 minutes:

video

You use a pen to hit the balled up gum wrapper with.

Not to be outdone Isabelle posed for the camera: This same group of boys made a video discussing the need to zombie proof the school. I believe this somehow fulfilled an assignment for government class. I have no idea what the criteria was but apparently this is "A" work. Jake plays a zombie.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baptist Confirmation

We are a religiously confused family. John and I grew up in a large Baptist church and grew up to be good Baptists. But then something went wrong. One of our good Baptist friends married a man who became an Anglican minister and they moved here and asked us to help them start a church. They were sure we would say no since we are such good Baptists but when you are starting a church you ask everyone. So long story short, God had actually been preparing us for years to become Anglicans and we didn't even know it. We left our Baptist roots and for the past 6 years have been learning what it is to be Anglican. We have come to love the beauty of liturgy and all that is Angican and are privileged to be part of our wonderful church.

Kids go through confirmation in the Anglican church. Since our church is quite small and our youth group is even smaller, when the need arose for some kids to go through confirmation they just gathered up all the kids in 6th-12th grade, all 10 of them, and put together a little confirmation class. It was great and Jake really enjoyed it. We had a little trouble coordinating with the Bishops schedule but he was officially confirmed a year after completing the classes. They also went on a mission trip to New Orleans where they did clean up as a final step in the confirmation process. It was a life changing event for Jake who came home feeling a call to mission work and has not wavered from that course for the past 2 years.

However, we haven't given up being Baptists either. Since our church is so small we continue to have our children attending the Baptist church on Wednesday nights. This was logical 6 years ago for Jake since he had so many friends at church that he didn't want to leave. (OK so did we and this keeps us in touch with our friends too.) Now Isabelle has begun attending and is making friends of her own. This is the church John and I met at in 9th grade so this is a particularly interesting time as we watch Jake re-live our experiences.

For the past year Jake has been attending a class on Sunday nights called "AUG" which stands for "Approved Unto God". It is basically a Baptist confirmation class this church does. They use a text book from a seminary theology class and walk the kids through a deeper understanding of their faith. John and I were one of the first classes to take AUG way back when and so we were excited to send Jake. The church has grown a bit over the years as has the class and so while John and my class had about 25 9th graders, Jake took this class with over 140 9th graders and which was graded and required passing to go on the trip that followed. After the class John and I loaded onto the church bus for a 3 day drive into Canada to do service work at a camp in the mountains. We met that first day on the bus and the rest is history. :) The jr. high pastor, who decided to move the trip to Colorado a few years ago, described the camp in Canada as a place where "you were afraid to sleep with your mouth open for fear of what might fall in while you were asleep." It was a bit rustic. Now they go to a much nicer camp in Colorado where along with several work projects they also squeeze in a water park, a baseball game, rock climbing, mountain biking and more. (OK we did a few fun things too.) Unfortunately Jake won't be able to go on the Colorado trip. Have I mentioned we are going to Africa this summer? We had hoped to be able to do both but the cost of the Colorado trip was more than we had anticipated and we decided we just couldn't do both.

Last weekend Jake and 134 other students who passed the class all "graduated" from AUG. The parents all sent in pictures of our students and watched a slide show of our darlings (4 pictures times 134 students...). Although there were many kids I didn't know it was fun to see the ones I have known since they were babies. It is amazing how much they have grown and great to see the men and women they are becoming. They broke the slide show presentation into 3 groups and after each presentation graduated that group of students. It was a typical scene, read the name, student walks across, takes certificate while shaking pastors hand and moves on. We are about half way through the alphabet and everyone was properly following prodigal, then Jake arrives. He did properly walk across the stage but after taking Heather's hand and grabbing the certificate he pauses and says, "smile for the camera" and then turns to the audience and puts on his big cheesy grin. I had no idea he was going to do this but I was holding my camera up to get the perfect shot and caught it. The only problem was that I didn't run forward to get a good shot I just zoomed in from my nose bleed seats. Still it is a fun shot with the jr. high pastor laughing.


There was a dinner before hand and somehow Jake ended up at a table full of girls.



Of course there is really only 1 girl for Jake and she also was confirmed this weekend at her church. We made the trek across town to attend the ceremony at her church. It was lovely. Britta gave an amazing speech to her confirmation class and audience of a few hundred. I am amazed by her, her intelligence, her confidence and her faith.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Urban Wildlife

I got out this morning for my run. It was a lovely run. The sky was overcast with a slight warm breeze, about 55 degrees and the ground was damp from an early rain. I love the smell of the world on these days when everything is fresh and fragrant. On my route today I saw 2 geese and their new 5 new baby ducklings just sitting on the side of the road as I ran by. I love those moments where I get to see wildlife close up rather than glimpsing it as I speed by in the car or watch it on tv.

I have had some amazing encounters with nature here in the city. (OK suburb, but near the city.) I often have wished to live in the country. When life gets crazy I think it would be nice to go sit alone in the woods. But maybe I don't have to go very far to experience nature. At least not the wildlife that goes with it.

A few weeks ago I ran by 6 mallard ducks just walking down the road together like neighbors out for a little exercise and conversation. You would think I lived near a lake. Where do they come from?

I have had deer hanging out in my backyard and then hopping the fence to lay down for a nap in my neighbors yard.

2 years ago birds nested in the hanging baskets outside our back door. One day I opened the back door as a large hawk flew out of them having taken care of the eggs.

There are wild turkeys living in the next neighborhood over, one of my neighbors was almost attacked by them on a walk. I have seen them but they stayed put as I walked quickly by.

I have looked out the kitchen window to see a fox strolling down the alley.

And most amazingly last summer I stood right next to (we are talking less than 5 feet) a hawk sitting on a neighbors fence post. Just as I gazed down at what he was standing on he lifted off flinging up the chipmunk he was holding to grab with both legs as he flew away. The National Geographic Channel has nothing on a simple walk around my block.

Rumor has it there are some cougars living near the creek down the road, maybe this summer I will catch a glimpse of one on an evening stroll.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Not Me Monday



It is time for Not Me Monday. I haven't done this in a while so here are a few things I haven't done over the past few weeks. If you want to read other people's "Not Me" post head over to MckMama's blog to read what many other people didn't do this week.

This past Saturday I did not lay on the couch watching tv (old and very stupid movies) with my husband for 6 hours while Isabelle ran free around the house. I would never do that because we had so many other things to do that day. Such as mowing the lawn.

I did not suggest to my son that he mow the yard for mother's day yesterday. He did not suggest that I call a lawn service. I did not call and leave a message on his voice mail while sitting in the car with him requesting that "Jake's lawn service" come and mow. He did not later that afternoon tell me that he heard from our lawn service and they have had to shut down because of the poor economy. I am not wondering what we have done wrong with that boy.

I did not completely abandon my family for a week while preparing for and holding our church sale. We did not completely blow the budget eating out every night that week. I did not leave my family with an empty pantry and fridge while I was gone all week. I would have prepared for that busy week and had all my meals in the freezer. I take good care of my family.

I did not eat sugary foods every day of the sale and buy myself caribou drinks. I am on a serious diet to help me feel better and would have more will power than to eat and drink junk when I need the most energy.

I did not tell my boss the Wednesday before the sale that I needed the following Tuesday off because I was scheduling my post church sale break down for that day. Nope I am totally on top of my life and never have break downs. I did not in fact have that break down later that day, Wednesday, and instead enjoy a day off to clean my house after a week of neglect.

During that week of neglect Isabelle did not smear poop on the toilet seat in the bathroom one night and I did not just ignore it and sit on it for 3 days before I got around to cleaning it. No way would I ever sit on dried poop. That is just gross.

I am glad I didn't do any of those things. Hope you haven't done anything like that this week either.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I am having a lovely Mother's Day today. I was able to get up and take a short run this morning and returned to my cards and gifts. My wonderful husband and son came up with a gift theme they thought would be appropriate, Africa. I got African Red Bush tea and a CD of African music. Isabelle chose a music card with a jamaican song. She doesn't understand themes. She did "write" a note to me on the envelope and read it to me. It was so precious about how much she loved me and what a good mother I am. I actually teared up it was so precious. I really wanted her to do it again on video so while I was getting ready John gave it a shot. There were 3 take but none quite as good as the original. Still they are cute so here you go:
video

Take 2 was very similar with the tire swing (which she did not mention in the original precious one) but she also added something about getting eggs and me being cheap. Where does this stuff come from??? I mean yes I am trying to be more frugal but cheap? Have I been saying that word? Has someone else been telling her that her mom is cheap? (grandma?) Take 3 was also cute but not worth posting. Actually I was going to post all 3 for you but it is taking so long to post just one that I will only torture you with this one version.

After church we went out to lunch at the restaurant in Macy's. It is traditionally a place I lunch with my mom and a bit of a girly restaurant but we had a wonderful time. Then I decided that while I spend my every day with Isabelle I don't get enough Jake time so we dropped off John and Isabelle and Jake and I headed out. First we hit Best Buy to look at gaming systems and cameras. Something for each of us. And then we spent a great deal of time looking at book at Barnes and Noble. Finally we sat and chatted over a little Caribou coffee. He is a wonderful son and I enjoy being with him. Then we decided we should pick up something for dinner. I was reminded that my sister had recently gotten crab legs for some celebration (birthday? anniversary?) and I had been wishing I thought of that kind of thing when we were having a special night. So Jake and I ran to the grocery store, picked up some crab legs and John has been busy cooking since I returned home.

The day has been like a vacation, exactly what Mother's day should be.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm OK, Cellulite is OK

Spring has come, the weather has warmed and I have been thinking about my summer wardrobe. I love summer clothes. They are so much more casual and quick to put on. Not alot of layers restricting your movement just toss on a tank top and shorts and you are good to go. Or a swimsuit and cover up for an afternoon at the pool. Life is simple and relaxing.

However, summer is also a time I am faced with a difficult truth in my life...I have cellulite. Not just the kind you see when you are sitting down with crossed legs squishing the fat on your upper thigh but the kind that follows you around when you are standing there doing nothing but holding up your body. It is there when I am heavier, it is there when I am thinner. It is my friend through thick and thin, good and bad, happy and sad, whether I want it around or not I can't get rid of it. And we aren't talking about one small spot but a rippling down the entire back of my thighs.

It is better in some lights than others but who can predict which light you will be exposed to from day to day. The worst light seems to live in dressing rooms. That light highlights every ripple and creates shadows deepening the dimples. You would think dressing rooms would have perfect light. Don't they want to convince you that their clothes will make you look better than you really do? Recently I discovered a new location with bad light for me to view my cottage cheese legs, the club. As it has been getting warmer I started wearing my shorts to work out rather than pants. I also have been using new machines and one I use is right next to a mirror. As I stand there doing inner and outer thigh movements I can glance over at the mirror and get a disturbing side look at my ghostly white legs. I have noticed that my cellulite from this angle looks a little like that loose extra skin formerly fat people have. Like the plump part of my cellulite has gotten thinner but now rather than shrinking back to the dimple skin it is just hanging there.

Last summer I decided I needed to have a new perspective on my cellulite. It is OK. I'm OK, cellulite is OK. That will be the title of my autobiography someday. I used to see my cellulite as a sign that I am fat. I am not fat. My legs are a little fat but even they really aren't fat in the grand scheme of fat people in the world. So I am a skinny person with cellulite. It means nothing. I can walk around feeling comfortable with my body while my cellulite ripples.

Since I am obsessed with my own cellulite ridden legs I am also obsessed with other peoples legs. I covet women with long thin legs. Always focus on what you don't have rather than what you do. Never notice that the person with thin legs isn't looking at your cellulite but is actually looking at your flat stomach. Why would you know that though because you didn't notice their belly since you are focused on their skinny legs, it is a vicious circle.

I have decided to have new standards which I can control. I cannot stop my legs from being the biggest part of my body, that is just the way God made them. So when I am running up a hill I think about my thighs as my "power" since they are so large and focus on using those muscles to get up the hill. And I am concentrating on creating long lean muscles which live under that cellulite. I might not be able to control the ripples on my thighs but I can help shape them with exercise. And I am changing the way I think about them. I am not going to obsess this summer about what other people are thinking of my cellulite but instead am going to focus on enjoying the summer knowing that I am healthy and strong.

Of course I will still wear a cover up when in my swim suit and I still wont buy a pair of short shorts (but really should anyone?). Yet I am going to strive to enjoy the activities of the summer without worrying about my cellulite and what others are thinking about it. Because lets face it, others are not thinking about my cellulite, they are thinking about theirs.

All good posts need pictures so here are some good ones of my thighs, luckily outdoor light does seem to be the right light to hide cellulite:

Here I am using that power in my thighs to spin around the lake last summer. Looks like I might be about to loose my bottoms, they are really a little too big so that they don't squeeze too tight and create muffin top. Apparently I am less concerned about them falling off than having my skin bludge even a little. What does that say about me?

Here is an example of the way my mind works. Right before this pictures was taken I lifted my leg slightly to relieve the pressure and alieviate possible cellulite squish in the photo.

And here is a shot 2 years ago when I let John take a picture of my in my 2 piece but only from the side which I have deemed an angle where my legs look good. Of course with my hands like that I look like I have a bit of a gut so mental note, put the hands down when you are having a side picture taken. Future post on my lack of breasts to come...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Fundraising Chair

This weekend was our church sale. It was a fundraiser for the mission trip we are going on to Kenya this summer. Since all 4 of us are going on this trip fundraising is very important to me and I volunteered to head up the fundraising committee. I figured that I could handle the job. Come up with some fundraising ideas and put together a team of people to help do the work. I have become something of a fundraising committee chair person over the years as I headed the Entertainment book Sales at Jake's school for a couple years and have headed the boy scout wreath sales for the last couple years. The first year always involves a little more work as you set up a system and the second one is easier because you know what you are doing and can more easily recruit and delegate others to help.

Of course I don't have more than one year to perfect these fundraisers so I am having to delegate and trust a little more than usual. Up to this week my duties had been pretty light and I was doing a pretty good job.

Enter the big fundraiser. The Church Sale. Cue the dramatic music. To quote my mom, "you keep taking on projects you have never done before". This was after I told her I bought a second shirt to make into a dress for Isabelle so we would be matching. (Hilarious post on that sure to come.) However, it would certainly apply in this case as I hate to garage sale and haven't been to a church sale in 15 years. Actually that is the only church sale I have ever been to and I only went to that one because it was at a church near my home that I walked by after work on the way home from the bus. Yet here I am planning our church sale. That is OK, I will get help. Well I did get lots of people to say they would help but nobody that really wanted to commit to a responsibility. This seems to be a theme these days which could also be a whole post. Anyway...I took it all on.

We told people late last fall to begin collecting things for the church sale and we would take donations closer to the sale. Then a generous couple in the church said they could store larger pieces at their home. John and I brought some furniture we got from other family members (thanks Jessy) but there wasn't a ton of stuff brought over. As the sale got closer we started to wonder how much stuff we would have. One friend who frequents church sales wondered if we should just use a members garage and not do it in the church. Apparently church sales are a very serious thing. You do not want to have a bad sale which would give you a bad reputation and make it difficult to have a successful sale in the future. If we were going to host it at the church we were going to need ALOT of stuff and it better be well organized. No pressure.

I sent out an email asking people to let me know if they were setting stuff aside for the sale so I could assess how much stuff we were going to have. Several people let me know they were donating and most had at least one larger item of furniture, enough that I didn't think it would fit in a garage, so I decided to go for it at the church and pray we had enough to fill the entire church basement. I could tell my friend (and pastor's wife) was a little skeptical but she trusted me to run the sale. No pressure. We were only presenting our church to the entire community through this sale. If it flopped we could never have a sale again. And it would all be MY fault.

2 weeks ago we began to collect stuff for the sale. I had planned to store what was brought in a small room the youth use (all 10 of them) on Sunday mornings. After meeting they moved the donations in their room. I later found some stuff that had been left upstairs and added that to the pile. Already that room was full and I knew more was coming that afternoon. I got permission to put stuff at one end of the "great hall" and directed the people I knew were coming there. (the room was being used that week so we couldn't take it over quite yet.) I didn't get back to the church until Friday when I met my mom to drop off some stuff. The end of the room was looking a bit crowded! Saturday morning George, the man storing stuff, brought his load and then went to pick up some furniture from people who didn't have trucks to bring in their donations. Throughout that morning as we were having a Kenya trip meeting people brought car loads of stuff and by the time we were ready to start sorting through everything the pile was encroaching on our meeting space!

We made the decision that first day to simply sort items into categories. We ended up with a pile of clothes, toys, electronics, books/Cd's/records/movies, lamps, kitchen/housewares/home decor, Christmas, and a misc pile of sporting goods, pet supplies, craft stuff. We also started a pile I called "crap" which eventually became the free bin. By the end of the day instead of one huge pile we had many small piles that looked something like this:






We also recieved a great deal of furniture which my husband set up nicely down the middle of the room.



The next question was pricing. I really didn't want to do it but wasn't being overwhelmed with people volunteering to take over that task. God provided in the form of 2 women in our church who work with an Estate Sale company doing pricing! They attend the church and came up to me Sunday morning to offer their services. They decided they were most available that day and so while I didn't have pricing on that days activities we made it happen. They focussed on the furniture and we unpacked the housewares looking for antiques. They ended up finding a few fun pieces but the most fun was 4 pieces of Belleek.
Now I had never heard of it and probably would have slapped the same 50 cents or $1 on them I put on practically everything else I priced. Maybe $2 because they looked old and pretty. But it would have been a steal. They went home to research and we ended up pricing the 4 pieces at $90 which was still below their value. I was thrilled when a woman from the church came by on the second day of the sale who collects the stuff and she was excited to get it. That was the fun of the sale, we blessed others with new stuff at a great price and they blessed us with the money for our trip.

I spent 4 hours on Monday and Wednesday and 8 hours on Tuesday, along with a wonderful team of people, setting all the stuff up and pricing it. While moving the stuff around and setting it up is alot of work, turns out the mental task of pricing everything is what really takes it out of you. I had meant to take final set up pictures but forgot. Sorry. Donations continued to come in all week and we were full to the brim. We even had to put the clothes in the youth room and some overflow furniture up in the entry. We mapped out an in one door out the other flow and felt we were ready. I went to bed early Wednesday night feeling so exhausted I was literally shaking and feared I would be too sick for the first day of the sale. I got up the next morning feeling a little better, took and few advil and headed to the church where a wonderful woman who couldn't help with the sale decided to contribute by bringng fresh coffee and homemade treats for us each morning. God bless her. We all kept our sugar energy levels up throughout the sale.(so no not on the endo diet at the moment but definately going back. More on that another day too.)

So Thursday we opened the doors and the professionals, who were lined up at the door, came swarming in. It was a little freightning actually. I was afraid to move as they quickly scanned the room, scurried from place to place and snatched up stuff before anyone else could get to it. The ladies working the check out table had no time for chit chat as a line quickly formed. We were busy all morning and I started to relax and think the sale might be a success. It slowed down a little in the afternoon but that whole first day there was constant traffic. I knew we were on to something when one of the check out people asked if I had a key to the office because she had $1000 in her pocket and wanted to lock up.

We re-fluffed the place for Friday and kept busy that day as well. By Saturday we were ready for the bag sale, everything you can fit in a bag for $2. We were toward the end and ready to just get rid of what was left. 50% off the furniture we had left. It really cleared out then. Here are a few pictures of the place from Saturday. Keep in mind that every table you see was packed on Thursday morning.



These chairs never did sell. Anyone interested???




Finally the day came to an end. A couple women came and took stuff for charities they work with and the rest will be picked up this week by another charity. I headed up to count the money while the stuff was being boxed. The grand total? $4211.65!!! My goal had been $2-5000. The $5000 was really a dream but as the stuff came in I started wondering if we might actually make it. I am thrilled we got so close.

What a week. I normally work Monday and Wednesday mornings and every other Tuesday morning. This Wednesday I asked my boss if she could cancel my Tuesday shift because I was planning to have a break down after the sale and didn't think I would survive 3 mornings in a row. She laughed and told me I could take it off. Hurray. Now that the sale is over I am feeling pretty good and don't think I will have a break down as I thought. Actually I think my break down happened Wednesday night when I was sick in bed early. Instead I will be busy doing the homemaking I haven't done all week. I will put food in the fridge (I never want to eat out again), get to the bottom of the laundry and see how far off budget all those meals out put us. I got started last night cleaning the toilet after spending several days sitting on dried poo smear...Oh was that too much information?