Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This is Not a Real Post.

Hello out there (assuming anyone is still listening)!  Just like the title states, this is not a real post.  It's going to be more of a photo dump.  After more issues with my teeth and continued dealings with a sick cat, I just really haven't felt like writing.  I think about writing a lot, I even do projects and take pictures to go along with blog posts, but very seldom do I even actually feel like writing.  If there are any fellow bloggers reading this, you understand that writing a blog post can be a long, tiresome project.  I always attempt to make each post as perfect as I can before publishing, and that can take hours.  And, when I don't feel like spending hours writing/editing a post until it is perfect, I simply don't do anything at all.  And then this blog sits silent, which is boring.  Sometimes I feel like I can actually hear readers unsubscribing every day that goes by without posting.  So today I am just hashing this out, minimal editing, in an attempt to just post SOMETHING.  Hopefully it will help get me out of my "I don't feel like blogging" slump.  So here you go.

The following is nothing more than a series of pictures I took two days ago when I suddenly felt like doing something resembling actual cleaning.  They are nothing more than simple before and after shots of key areas I targeted as needing extra attention.  I used my iPhone to take them, so they kind of suck.  I really need to just start using my real camera again, but the iPhone is just so handy.  (Read: I'm lazy).  On to the pics!

Video shelf before. (The beer bottles so belong to the Tall Cute Guy.  I hate beer!)
Video shelf after.
Night stand before.  (Have I mentioned I'm a Coke addict?)
Night stand after.
Bathroom shelves before.
Bathroom shelves after.
Bathroom sink before.
Bathroom sink after.
Overall view of the clean bathroom.
Ok, that wasn't so bad.  The post is far from perfect, but if I aim for perfect every time nothing will ever get done/written.  Sometimes you just have to settle for "good enough".


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

A few months ago I somehow discovered a new favorite product of mine, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. I honestly have no idea how this stuff showed up on my radar, but I am sooo glad it did.  From


Saturday, March 2, 2013


Sooooo, yeah. I turned on the word verification thingy you have to use if you want to post a comment.  Sorry about that, but seeing that since my last blog post I have had 1 real comment and, oh, I don't know, 5 BILLION spam comments that I have to report and deny publication, it had to be done.  Believe me, I hate word verification as much as you do, but getting so much spam and so few real comments has really bummed me out/ticked me off.  Sorry again!


Friday, February 15, 2013

Price Sheet Template Available for Download

Hello again dearies! As I mentioned in my last post, a reader had requested that I help her create a similar price sheet like the one the Tall Cute Guy and I cooked up to help me track the prices of items I purchase on a regular basis. I use this sheet to see at which stores I would score the best deals. TCG has a lot more spreadsheet experience than I do, so instead of me trying and inevitably failing to explain the formula he used to create the columns that generate the unit price, best price and best stores, I just turned the version I use into a blank template that you can just download and fill in with your own information. Let's get started!


I Want an Epidural For My Face, and I Want it NOW!

I'm back-ish.  The ongoing tooth/mouth pain I've been dealing with spiraled out of control in the last couple of weeks, so here is the update on that:

I had two more back molars that were thought to be the root of all this pain, and the decision was made to have them extracted and be done with it. I had that procedure done last Thursday, and I left the office happy as a clam thinking that FINALLY I would get some much needed relief. Only, by the next day, my mouth pain was worse. Now, I have had teeth pulled before and know what the healing process is supposed to feel like and the pain I was in was not normal. I called my dentist's emergency line that following Saturday and she ordered me more pain medication to get me through to Monday when I could go see her in the office. The pain meds did NOTHING. It was pure agony. I felt like all the teeth on the right side of my mouth had been smashed with a hammer, there were electric shocks that would run through my jaw, down my neck and to my shoulder. And then there was the muscle spasms.  For you ladies who have had children, imagine labor pains in your MOUTH. For weeks. There were times I wanted to die.

Monday came and I got to the dentist (my sister had to drive me because by this point I could barely go a few minutes without having another pain attack, and I had been awake for over 24 hours due to the pain). She checked me for things like dry socket at the extraction sites, and I had more x-rays. Nothing abnormal showed up. The diagnosis was is that I have facial neuralgia, which basically means the nerves on that side of my face have gone haywire. It can be very hard to treat and is very often mis-diagnosed. The best my dentist could do for me is give me a muscle relaxant to try and calm the muscle spasms, and thank god, they are helping. As long as I take them the intense "for-the-love-of-god-kill-me-now" pain has subsided to a manageable level. The down side-they make me so tired and loopy it's hard to function. I can't drive, and I basically wander around like a zombie when I'm awake. It's actually taken me days to write this one post. There have been a few times where the Tall Cute Guy has called me and apparently I answered the phone, but he barely recognized my voice and I have little to no memory of those calls.

The upside is, there has at least been improvement in my condition. For some people, neuralgia never goes away, and it's literally known to be one of the most painful conditions known to man. It even has earned the nickname "The Suicide Disease". Other treatments can include anti-seizure medication and laser surgery.  If I don't continue to improve the next step for me will be a neurologist, but due to my lack of health insurance, that's not really an option. Fun.

Anyway, just as a heads up- one of my readers (Momma F) asked if I would please share my price list spreadsheet that I showed you in this post. Don't worry Momma, I haven't forgotten you in my pain and drug-induced stupor, and that post should be up by tomorrow.

Till then, I'll be where I've been spending most of my time lately- zonked the heck out. By the way-the title of this post is literally something I said to my dentist. In the nicest way possible of course.  


Saturday, February 2, 2013


I. Am. In. So. Much. Pain.  It's not even funny.  For about the past 6 months I have been dealing with the seemingly never ending saga of getting my teeth fixed.  Fillings. Root canals.  Extractions.  Not fun. But, that's what happens when you don't have dental insurance and earn poverty-level wages.  I only have a few things left to get worked on, but at the moment my most pressing issues are two back molars that have already been worked on, but to no avail.  The fillings are  very deep and the nerves are very agitated.  I could get them root-canaled, but that costs about $1,000 each.  Not really an option.  Instead, I am going to have them pulled, but after having nearly gone into shock from the trauma the last time I had one pulled, I am insisting I be knocked-the-hell-out this time.  (Note: I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled with only local-anesthetic, and I did just fine, so when the oral surgeon wanted to pull my #15 molar local-only, I didn't think it would be a big deal.  I was wrong.  I left the office shaking, dizzy, sweating, and crying.  Never again.)  Because I want to be asleep with no memory of the event this time around, I have to go to a consult appointment with the oral surgeon first.  That appointment is for Monday.  If all goes according to plan, they will be pulled Friday, and Friday can't come fast enough.  In the mean time I am hurting.  Bad.  Normally for tooth pain I just take Ibuprofen  and that does the trick nicely.  If I need more help, I add on some Oragel and ice packs.  If that doesn't help, I try warm salt-water rinses.  If THAT doesn't help, it's time to call in the big guns.  My dentist gave me a prescription for Vicodin last week, and she knows that if I ask for pain meds, I must REALLY be hurting.  I almost couldn't take my first dose fast enough.  The problem is, even Vicodin isn't working.  It get a small amount of relief for about 2 hours, and then the pain is back to full-intensity.  It's miserable.  I'm miserable.  I fall asleep with ice packs on my face, and the moment I wake up in the morning the entire right side of my face starts to throb.  Plus, the pain meds make me really sleepy and wonky-feeling, so it's very hard to feel motivated to do anything.  All I want to do is lay in bed and watch Law and Order: SVU on Netflix.  I told you all of this to explain the next part of the story:

Yesterday I was in the drugstore waiting in the pharmacy line to pick up my prescription refill, looking like a hot mess.  I had no makeup on, my hair was in a messy ponytail, and I was wearing scrubby yet comfy clothes. I had big dark circles under my eyes.  The Tall Cute Guy said that he can actually tell how much pain I'm in because he can see it on my face, and it was showing in full view as I stood in that line. As I was waiting, I hear a woman in line behind me chatting on her cell phone about "if you want to wear nude eye shadow, you really need to wear fake lashes so your eyes will pop" and other such beauty-related topics.  After a few minutes I turned around to sneak a peek at her, and realized it was a girl I had gone to high school with. I immediately whipped my head back in the other direction, hoping she didn't spot me looking like such a wreck.  I mentally kicked myself for not following the FlyLady "rule" of getting dressed to shoes, including fixing my hair and makeup.  Now, there I was, looking like death warmed over in front of one of my old classmates, who of course looked completely put together and worthy of being seen in public.  I did not.  It was embarrassing.  I'm pretty sure it was situations like this that the rule was invented in the first place.  I felt like such a loser.

Normally, I DO fix my hair and makeup before going out, and I really enjoy having that confidence of looking put together while I'm out and about.  I felt like I had failed myself big time, and that pain or no pain, I should have sucked it up and put my best face forward.  But then again, maybe this kind of thinking is just my perfectionism getting in the way and I should cut myself some slack?  I don't know.  All I do know is that I'm in pain, and I feel embarrassed.  So, I'm asking you- should I have sucked it up and cleaned myself up before heading out to the pharmacy, or should I cut myself some slack?   


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bargain Bounty Hunter

Like many people, I have certain products that I consider to be my go-to, favorite, or "holy grail", if you will. For me, one of these products is Sally Hansen Insta-Dri No Chip Top Coat for my nails.  It's the only top coat I use, and I've never had a complaint about it. Normally when I'm running low, I pick a bottle up at CVS for about $7.50.  That price runs right about what Seche Vite top coat costs (another holy grail product in the nail polish world), so I never really thought much about it.


About a week ago, I was shopping at Drug Mart (it's an Ohio thing) and happened to notice this same top coat was priced at about $4.99. I was a little miffed at having overspent on so many bottles of this stuff over the last couple years, but I chalked it up to live-and-learn and made a mental note to purchase my next bottle at Drug Mart. That is, until I saw it selling at Target for about $3.50.  Then I was mad.  Not mad at CVS, Drug Mart, Target or Sally Hansen, but more mad at the situation that I had never even thought that I could find it for less and just kept on paying over double the price without question. This little incident sent me on a mission to find out what else I might be over-paying for.

I started by listing all the stores where I normally shop (Target, CVS and Drug Mart being my main stores, and Walgreens, Ulta and Rite Aid thrown in because sometimes I'll pop in there just to see if anything good is on sale), and then listing all the products I use on a regular basis.  Right now I have confined the list to cosmetics , hygiene and pet products, but groceries can be added later.

Next, I created a spreadsheet (with Tall Cute Guy's help) on Google Docs (Google Drive, whatever it's called now) with all this information.  The hard part was then going to all these stores and writing down the base prices for each and every single item on my list.  I'm pretty sure the store clerks thought I was either crazy, shoplifting, or both the way I kept bouncing around from aisle to aisle for about 30 minutes, then leaving without buying anything. It took a a few days to gather all my prices and enter them into the spreadsheet, but now that it's done (with the exception of Rite Aid), I can tell you it's worth it.

Click to enlarge
The two columns at the end are set up to show the lowest of all the prices I entered for a particular item and which store that price is associated with.  Then I know to buy THAT item at THAT store unless I have a coupon or another deal at a different store that can beat that price.

I added a column after the item names so that I could input a numerical code telling me what level of "need" I had for the products.  Level 1 is "in stock, don't need any", Level 2 is "starting to run low, begin to check circulars for deals", and Level 3 is "out of stock, get off your butt and go buy at the Best Store listed price NOW".  Normally I would have just highlighted the product names in green, yellow and red to tell me this, but Google spreadsheets does not currently have the ability to sort by color like I wanted.  Ergo, the extra column with the numerical code and conditional formatting to add the color automatically.  Below is what the spreadsheet looks like when I have sorted it according to "need":

Click to enlarge
A few things to mention/add:

1. I have both Target and Target Online listed as retailers. This is because some items are available in store, online, or both, and this helps me remember that.  For the most part, Target's in-store and online prices have matched up.

2. The prices shown for Target and Target Online are not what the price tags actually listed.  Because I have a Target Red (Debit) Card, I get 5% off my purchases, and always have free shipping from Target Online.  I entered my data to already show that discounted price to accurately generate my best price and best store data.

3. I ended up entering a store called Earth Fare (think Trader Joe's or Whole Foods) as a retailer mainly because I am currently in love with Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap products.  Until now I have been purchasing these goodies from Target. The other day, Tall Cute Guy and I stopped in Earth Fare just to scope it out, and imagine my surprise when I saw that they not only carried a much larger selection of Dr. Bronner products, but at MUCH lower prices than Target!  Overall, Target is winning as my "Best Store" according to my spreadsheet, and normally I associate organic/health food stores as having higher retail prices.  This was a double whammy on selection and price, so I added it to my list.

4. I did not include Walmart as a retailer.  I hate Walmart.

This spreadsheet has only been in existence for a few days and already it's helping me save money.  And, in a sick-nerdy way, it's fun sorting the sheet by brand, item, need level, etc.  I've caught myself staring at it for no reason.  It's sort of like pricing-data porn...