Seriously, I Have The Coolest Neighborhood In The Whole Wide World

It was a gorgeous afternoon yesterday and pjdaddy asked me to sit outside and visit with him while he bundled up some wood in the front yard.

I took my yarn and crochet needle and planted myself in my neighbor’s driveway so I could watch our kids ride bikes with the neighborhood kids.

Garren picked this color out because it’s the color of Thomas the Tank Engine. I have yet to finish one crocheted item because I keep screwing up.   I think this is finally the one. You know how excited you feel when you go on a date and absolutely everything clicks? Well, this is nothing like that, but I’m pretty happy nonetheless.

^ That’s my precious angel *cough pushing poor Talon off the bike because he wasn’t getting off Gavin’s bike fast enough I guess. Gavin is going to have a rude awakening when Talon finally realizes he’s a whoooole lot bigger than him. Hah, yes that’s pjdaddy right there. Totally oblivious.

It was a crisp, beautiful fall day. For me, the new year always begins not in January, but the fall. I’m sure  it has to do with the start of school and the start of all the holiday season.  It’s my favoritist time of year in a melancholy/sentimental stay up till 3 in the morning listening to Enya while I wrap presents and reminisce sort of way. Everything.  was.  perfect.

Then I hear it, the ice cream man. This man is a huge fan of the next door neighbors. Somehow they can afford to spend $800 in ice cream every time he comes around. I cringe when I hear his little song playing, it seems like he parks outside my home for HOURS torturing my children. As soon as I hear him, I blast the TV hoping they won’t, but it doesn’t matter, it’s like some sort of dog whistle for kids.

Yesterday was their lucky day because Graham used his own money and bought his brothers and sister a treat. The neighbors got their ice-cream and Graham got them theirs making sure they were fully aware they could only purchase the $1 treat. I wish I’d gotten a picture of it. All the kids lining up at the truck picking their flavors.

Everyone resumed riding their bikes and eating ice-cream, when the next truck showed up in our “hood”. Tomorrow’s trash day, so  the “junk guy” will cruise neighborhoods looking for scraps to recycle or resell. My neighbor “Honor Roll” (no that’s not his real name, he’s commented here before using that name) just happened to have some goodies for the man, so he backed up into HR’s yard and started loading up the bounty.

No sooner does the “junk truck” arrive then another truck comes along and stops when it sees pjdaddy bundling wood. The driver asks him a couple questions and I see it’s a tree removal truck. *sigh We get one of those trucks every couple weeks, but the prices they charge to remove our trees are just too expensive for us.

Not this time. These guys offered to take down the tree that causes us the most trouble for $185. WHAT?!?!?!? That’s insane! This tree was at least 40  feet high. We’ll take that deal. No more sap on my car! WOOT! WOOT!

We gathered up all the kids to make sure none of ’em got squished by falling branches and to watch this really cool event.

The guy put spikes on his feet and with chainsaw attached, climbed it like Spiderman.

 *visions of luau in my head   Oh if only there’d been coconuts up there!

He took the tree down.

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While the other guys chopped and stacked the wood in the street for pick-up.

Even the toddlers got involved.

This is Talon our next door neighbor.

I counted the rings 3 times to try and figure out how old the tree was. I got a different answer 3 times. I gave up.

They did such an awesome job at clean-up we gave them $200.

As pjdaddy and I sat letting the kids ride their bikes around one last time before we called it a night, we saw the local drug dealer walking across the street and heard him yell at his friend, “Those ni&#$rs are talking crazy, let’s get the fu$k out of here!” We watched them run and get into their vehicle and speed away and I thought to myself, yep, it’s the perfect end to a perfect day in our neighborhood.

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Pajama Momma- Doing Lame, Tedious Stuff So You Don’t Have To.

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to cut costs in my household budget. Not just because of the way the gas and food prices have gone up, but because as my household manager it’s the responsible thing to do. I’m trying to play catch up now from some of the more idiotic financial mistakes I’ve made in the past. As a stay at home mom of 4, cutting costs has become sort of a game for me. An obsession.

 I can remember back in the day (last year) when, by the time I bought product, I got out of the hair salon for just under $200 and my hair didn’t even look anywhere near as purty as John Edwards.

I found a really good hairdresser at Hair Cuttery, shocker I know, but this woman has a line waiting out the door for her. If I don’t let her blow dry my hair, it only costs me $13. I also color my own hair now. I wanted to find a way to get my box o’ hair color cheaper.

So I found this chick’s blog, I don’t know how I found it. It’s one of those I clicked on a link that lead me to a link that had me click on another link until I stopped. She has a post called, “Couponing For Dummies”

It was about www.thegrocerygame.com. I was turned off immediately.

I’d done this game when I lived in San Diego. Back then I didn’t care what kind of stuff I got because I was a fast food mom, poor Graham, it was all about convenience. That and I didn’t know how to cook worth squat. Most of the coupons were for crap food. It was also annoying because everybody and their brothersister did the game too, so if I wasn’t up at 4am, everything was gone and I got rainchecks from the grocery store. Ugh, just what I wanted, more paper to stick in my coupon organizer. I was also overwhelmed with the whole deal. I lost interest.

Now, that I’m all growed up, I’m less than impressed with coupons. It’s all crap cereal and fruit snacks, right?

Nope, wrong! 

I decided to peak at the grocery game again because it only a $1 for a 4 week trial. I can’t lose only spending a $1 right? I got the newspaper last Sunday and the first coupon I get is a $1 off Pampers. No Gavin’s not potty trained yet, he’s anal retentive, er penil retentive stubborn. I’m ok with that, he’ll learn, either that or the kids are really gonna work him in junior high if he’s still wearing diapers.

Anyhoo, “the grocery game’s” not just about coupons, it shows you where the best deals on food are in your area by tracking the sales trends for items. It also tells you when and where to apply your coupons if you want them. Just because you get a coupon in this Sunday’s paper, doesn’t mean you should use it that Sunday. It might not be good to use it for 3 more months. You’ll get deals on items like meat and produce and baby items and toothpaste and shampoo and razors and soap. Not just crap food!

The Sunday before last it took me the whole day to cut and sort and figure out what the heck I was doing and I started to wonder if it was worth it. I went to the grocery store and got $280 worth of items for $140. This Sunday was a lot easier because I had my coupon organizer and new what I was doing. sorta. 

However, because I’m still a skeptic, I wondered, well, what if I took the list the Grocery Game gave me and compared it to Super Target or Super Walmart and applied the coupons and deals there? Surely the box stores would win, right?

I took the 3 little ones with me yesterday to Super Target to do some comparison shopping with a plan of comparing to Super Walmart the next day. Don’t even bother to say it, I’ll tell you the answer right now. Yes, I do have too much time on my hands. 

Mom, why are we here so long and we aren’t we buying anything?

Mom, are we ever going to leave?

Nope, we’re gonna live here forever. See those tents over there? That’s where we’re sleeping tonight. We’ll finish your schooling in the book section and you can get married in aisle 9.

Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.

NOOOOO! We were just in there!

Madeleine it’s ok if you have Lisa Gavin be your puppy, but please don’t have him play dead in the middle of the aisle. People might run him over.

Here, here’s some chocolate. That will keep you guys quiet, well at least till it hits your bloodstream.

3 1/2 hours and 5 bathroom trips later we left and I tallied the results. The Grocery Game won. Sometimes in huge margins, sometimes by only pennies and on occassion, not at all. But all in all The Game won. Best thing of all? There’s boatloads of haircolor coupons in there. Now I just have to pick a color and stick to it.

There’s no way in hell I’m going to Wal-mart today for any more comparison shopping.

Pjmommy also got a job! Did I forget to mention that? It’s a grueling 6 hours a week. When I got hired I forgot to even ask how much I was getting paid because it’s obviously not a life changing amount. I’m only in it because I can take the little ones with me as I work in the daycare and my gym membership becomes free. I’m also hoping being forced to be there anyways will motivate me to workout more.

I’m tired.

[update] I should clarify that with the grocery game I’m not running to a gazillion different stores. I go to Publix (which is our local grocer) and CVS and they’re two shops from each other in the same complex.