Friday, February 27, 2009

Eggs, bacon, and a side of new dress

Husband and I invited a few neighbors over for breakfast/brunch tomorrow. Most of our neighbors have been nice enough to invite us over, so it’s long overdue for us to host. Plus, I think it’s about time I face my fear of cooking for guests. I chose breakfast food because I think my cooking skills have progressed to where I can safely make eggs, bacon, muffins, and fruit salad. Maybe at some point we’ll move toward serving our guests slightly more difficult meals, like lunch or (gasp!) dinner. I went shopping for groceries for tomorrow’s event. Here’s what I bought.
Oh, but wait. What’s that? It’s a dress! And here’s where I have to make an embarrassing confession for the story to make sense: I shop at Wal-Mart. (It’s cheaper that the other grocery stores, and it’s close to our house. Enough said.) Anyway, I happened to stroll by their clothing section, and I saw this dress…for $3! My love for a bargain runs in the family. And the only thing my family likes more than finding a bargain is calling and bragging about it. So I called my mom on the spot and told her about the deal. Coincidentally, my grandma (the queen of bargain shopping herself) is visiting my mom, and she was impressed. They both said, “Buy it!” Here’s a closer look at the dress. Kinda cute, eh? (Even if it’s not, please pretend like it is to spare my bargain-hunting feelings.)

And here’s proof of the price. Although, I must say, I would never lie about something as serious as a good bargain.

So, even after so boldly saying that I didn’t need to buy a new dress, I found one anyway. And if our guests enjoy the breakfast tomorrow, then this shopping trip will have been a big success by all accounts.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A New Wardrobe

When I told my grandma that we’re going to wedding #2 in town soon, she asked, “Will you have to buy a new dress?” And, for the first time, I realized a perk of military life that I’d overlooked. I won’t have to get a new dress. All of the people at this wedding are friends that we’ve met relatively recently at this assignment. None of them have seen any of my dresses, so I won’t have to buy a new one. (For a girl that hates dress shopping, this just saved me countless hours of my life and perhaps some tears. And money, of course.) None of them know that I’ve worn my pink and black dress to so many previous weddings that I secretly call it my “wedding uniform.” None of them have seen the back-up brown dress that I’ve worn to at least 3 other weddings. None of them witnessed me wearing my red and black dress to the previous 4 consecutive Christmas parties. Even my non-dressy wardrobe is all new to them. My neighbor saw me in an old blue shirt the other day and said, “Cute shirt! Is that new?” [I had to keep from laughing because a) it was at least 4 years old, and b) it had a hole in the armpit.] I figure that by the time the people here start suspecting that I’m wearing the same rotation of clothes over and over, we’ll already have orders for our next assignment. But my plot for wardrobe domination has one minor problem: Husband. He is starting to catch on. The other day I threw on an old pair of jeans, and this is the conversation that followed: Husband: When did you get those jeans? Me: In college, I think. Why? Husband: Just wondering. Me: Do they look out of style? Husband: Um…well, yeah. I know he’s probably right. (And I’m overlooking the fact that I’m taking fashion advice from someone who recently wore a 7-year-old collared shirt covered in orange “Fat Albert” images. I hesitate to call the shirt “out of style” because I’m not convinced that it ever was in style.) Regardless, I can accept that I might have to get some new jeans. But, I’m not giving up my wedding uniform. If Husband gets a uniform from our military life, then it’s only fair that I get mine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Come Back, Girl Scouts!

After our initial visit from the Girl Scouts, we’ve been anxiously waiting for our cookies to arrive. Husband and I made sure we set aside $7 in cash, specifically for our Girl Scout cookies. We rarely have cash on hand, and we want to be prepared for our delicious cookies! The $7 happens to be sitting on our bathroom counter. (Why we chose that location, I’m not sure.) I see the money at least twice a day: once in the morning when I’m getting ready for the day and once in the evening before bed. The problem is that I’m having a reaction like Pavlov's dogs each time I see the money. I immediately start salivating for Thin Mints. What’s worse is that we haven’t heard anything from the Girl Scout that sold us the cookies. I know that the cookies have arrived in the area, but I’m not sure why we haven’t gotten ours yet. I’m hoping that they’re just busy, and we’ll get them soon. Yesterday we saw a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside of the grocery store. I asked Husband if he had any cash on hand, so we could buy a box or two. He had nothing. Because the cash is sitting on our bathroom counter. I’m sure there’s some irony there, but I’m too busy trying to find another group of Girl Scouts…and some cash.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

One, Two, Three...TV

I knew it was inevitable. It was over a year ago that I found Husband drooling over new TVs in the electronics section of a store. I protested at that time because we hadn’t moved into our house yet and we had no space for a new TV. “Just let me dream a little bit,” he said. And I did. Then, a few months ago, a military buddy of his was moving, and he offered to sell us his TV. Husband e-mailed me with “TV” in the subject line, and then explained in the e-mail what a good deal it was. “It’s an $1800 TV for only $300!” I asked why they were selling it. “Oh, because it’s old and it takes up too much space, and they want a sleeker, new TV.” And then he told me how they had to send it back to the manufacturer at one point because of a “blue line” that would appear on the screen. Still, Husband couldn’t understand why I wasn’t excited about this good deal. I told him that I’d rather put the money towards a new TV that we were sure would work. Recently he’s spent time researching TVs: the best types, brands, and prices. He finally has it narrowed down to the exact TV he wants. And I finally have run out of excuses why we shouldn’t get a new TV. Last night the debate turned to exactly where the new TV will go. I voted for putting it in the family room, where we do the majority of our TV-watching. Husband voted for putting it in his den (affectionately called the “game room”), where he plays video games. We decided to settle the debate like the mature adults that we are: by playing rock, paper, scissors. I suggested the idea as a joke. Husband said, “Great idea!” I asked him if he was sure that this was how he wanted to seal of the fate of the TV’s location. He responded with an enthusiastic yes. We spent a few minutes going over the rules. We’d only play only a single game. We’d count, “one, two,” and you must show your hand on “three.” So we counted, "one, two, three," and we tied with scissors. Then we each took a minute to silently plan our strategy for the next game. We said, “one, two, three,” and I won with paper against his rock. We simultaneously shouted. I said, “YES!” and put my arms up in the air victoriously. Husband shouted, “Noooo!” Still, Husband has respected the results of the game. I, however, wonder maybe if it should go in the den after all, since Husband is obviously much more excited about the TV than I am. So I guess the TV’s location is still mostly undecided. I’m sure we’ll find a better way to make our decision than playing rock, paper, scissors. Like maybe a coin toss.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Coupon Craziness

Last week I decided I was going to start using coupons. I was so proud because I managed to: 1) Buy a Sunday paper. 2) Review the coupon section. 3) Clip the appropriate coupons that I might use. 4) Save the coupons. 5) Keep the stash of coupons in my purse. 6) Bring the purse with the coupons to the grocery store. 7) Notice in the store which coupons were applicable to what I was buying. 8) Hand the coupons to the clerk. I was getting ready to proceed to step 9 (brag to Husband about all the money we saved), when I looked over my receipt in the car on the way home. That’s when I realized that the clerk put the coupons near the cash register, but she forgot to scan them. I immediately vented to Husband: “The coupons! She forgot to scan the coupons!” Husband then asked, “How much would you have saved?” I did some quick math in my head. “$1.40,” I answered. “You really want $1.40? I’ll reach into my pocket right now and give it to you.” I explained that it’s just not the same as the thrill of saving the money with coupons. I actually considered going to the customer service desk on my next trip to the store, but I decided that I just didn’t want to be that cheap or crazy. (“Um, hi. I left $1.40 worth of coupons here. Did someone turn them in?”) This week I decided that I’m going to take a break from coupons.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love, Your University

I noticed a large, white envelope propped up against our door this morning. It turned out to be a love note from my University. More specifically, a love note that contained my long lost diploma! I think they wanted it to arrive just before Valentine’s to say, “We love you.” Or, it’s so belated from the last delivery mix-up that it just happened to arrive before Valentine’s Day, which says, at best, “We sort of like you.” Either way, I already promised Husband that I’d be his Valentine this year. (Sorry, University. I can’t be so easily wooed by the belated proof of a graduate degree.) But, I will definitely keep your love note for years to come.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weddings and Readings

Husband and I will be attending two local weddings in the next two months. Both of the couples are in Husband’s unit, and both also happen to go to our church. The weddings will probably be small, since both couples are already legally married, and now they’re having their marriage blessed. But, we’re excited be going to the weddings, since they’re good friends of ours. I was also excited and honored when they both asked me to do a reading at their ceremony, and I told them so. And, in an effort for full disclosure, I also told one couple this story about a previous reading that I did in church: It was the second time I was doing a reading at church, and I was a little nervous. The reading was from “A letter from St Paul to the Philippians.” I practiced the reading out loud at home a few times. I told Husband that morning that I was worried I was going to mispronounce “Philippians.” He told me not to worry. “There’s no way you could pronounce it wrong. I mean, what would you say? Phil-i-PE-ans?” Exactly. I stood up in front of the church, and I started the reading. Then my brain realized, “Wait, did I just pronounce that wrong?” I figured it was best to just keep going and pretend like nothing happened. Sure enough, I asked Husband about it later, and he confirmed that I said the incorrect “Phil-i-PE-ans” instead of the correct “Phil-LIP-i-ans.” Whoops. Anyway, the couple laughed at the story, and they said they still wanted me to do a reading. The other couple, who had the privilege of hearing my reading blunder in church that one Sunday, recently e-mailed me about the reading for their wedding. I replied to the e-mail and jokingly asked, “Any chance the reading is a letter from St Paul to the Philippians?” The lady replied with a “haha” in her e-mail. I hope that’s a no.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine's...Gifts?

A couple weeks ago, a girl that works in my office asked me what I was going to get Husband for Valentine’s Day. I hadn’t even thought about Valentine’s Day before she asked. Actually, my first thought was, “Are we even going to get each other Valentine’s gifts?” But instead, I replied with a decisive, “Uhhh…I’m not sure.” And then she asked, “What did you get for each other when you were dating?” My mind went totally blank. (How is it that I can remember what we wore on our first date, but I couldn’t recall a single Valentine’s gift?) I replied something like, “Umm…maybe a book? Or chocolates? Really, I can’t remember.” Then I’m sure she pondered my profound words and made a mental note to herself to never ask me for gift-buying advice again. Husband and I have never had over-the-top Valentine’s Day gifts or celebrations. I started thinking about our past Valentine Days together, and one of the most memorable was when Husband brought over a fresh pizza (at my request) one Valentine’s when we were dating. It wasn’t fancy, but it made for a simple and fun evening. I thought about my co-worker’s questions, and I concluded that maybe she was more interested in Valentine’s gifts because she just started dating her boyfriend. I figured that the married people in our office probably wouldn’t be giving or getting elaborate gifts. But, that theory went out the window at lunch when a few of the married ladies started listing their past Valentine’s gifts. One lady talked about the diamond earrings that she got one year. Another said that last year she got two dozen roses and an order of chocolate-covered strawberries. Even still, I’m content with our card-and-a-dinner Valentine’s celebrations, which we plan do again this year. But now I’m curious. What are your Valentine’s celebrations like? Do they involve fine jewelry or, say, a fine cheese pizza?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Non-Fans and the Superbowl

Today I think I figured out what it must be like to be a non-Christian on Christmas. I was running an errand this afternoon, and I decided to make a “quick” stop at the grocery store to pick up some soda for Husband. I walked into the store, and I felt like I entered an alternate universe. The store was packed with people. An announcement was blaring over the loudspeaker about various specials. Store displays were overflowing with chips, soda, and beer. My senses were immediately on overload, and it took me all of one second to realize what was going on: Superbowl Sunday. I thought how na├»ve (stupid, actually) it was for me to think I could make a “quick” trip to the grocery store on the biggest sports day of the year. I wished I could somehow display my “non-fan” status, which would maybe exempt me from the chaos in the store. While others are talking about which team will outscore the other, I’m preoccupied only with trying to score myself a decent spot in line. The lines, however, moved quickly. I noticed that the man in front of me purchased Velveeta cheese, salsa, and a bag of chips. Now that’s a part of this holiday that I might be able to celebrate. Husband and I will still probably watch the Superbowl tonight. But I won’t lie – I’ll be paying closer attention to the commercials than the game.