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Plenty of 20s

I bought a flag to hang at the property tonight. It cost $20.

Looking at shovels in hardware stores this week. Know what they cost? $20.

Axe to cut firewood? $20.

Garbage can? $20.

Rakes? $20.

The scythe I bought day before yesterday cost $20 when you added in the new mailbox letters I bought while I was there.

Speaking of the mailbox, you’ll never guess what it cost after taxes — $20.

Padlocks for the door and gate? $20 apiece.

Nail puller/pry bar with a box of roofing nails and a pack of brass screws for the mailbox? $20.

New rain barrel. $40 (That’s $20 x 2).

Lunch today? $20.

So tonight, when I opened the birthday card from my mother, what do I find? A $20 bill.

Thanks mom. Whatever I buy tomorrow is covered.



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Now cut that out

Dear Sure Deodorant,

Enough already with the rebranding.

I’ve been using your product since the early 1970s, after you employed actress Glynnis O’Connor as your spokesmodel for a series of commercials. I had a major crush on her at the time and the thought of her bumping into me and a) detecting the scent of Sure regular on me or b) actually seeing me pick Sure out from among the dozens of other choices in the supermarket and smiling at me could trigger daydreams that lasted most of Algebra II class.

Glynnis O’Connor

Though Glynnis stopped being your spokesmodel after a short while and took up with that awful Robby Benson, I held out hope. Whenever I ran low on deodorant, my spirits were lifted as I spied your familiar white can with the wavy blue shield and bright orange bar that contained the word REGULAR in bold white letters.

Imagine my chagrin last week, when I looked for the wavy blue logo and could not find it among the ever dwindling number of brands of aerosol deodorants that super markets carry these days.

“How could they not carry Sure any more?” I asked to no one in particular. “Right there,” a lady said, pointing to a row of cans with translucent purple tops.

Gone were the cans with clear tops and wavy blue lines, replaced by purple-topped cans with a purple and blue X. Not a lick of orange to be found on the darn thing.

Here’s the deal. I haven’t given up on Glynnis. And I fear that if you keep changing the way your can looks, she may walk up to me in the store when I have my perplexed, “WTF did they do with the can now?” look rather than the confident look that comes with scooping up that can with blue waves and an orange bar as I stroll through the personal care aisle.

You started this thing. I need you to stick with me.


A loyal customer

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Shower problem solved

Between vacation in July, my parents’ accident and trying to monitor Hurricane Issac from afar, I haven’t had much time to blog, but I ran across this gem from a tiny house blogger and thought I’d share.

Water is always a challenge for people who want to live off the grid. Running water can be even more so. But this couple solved the shower issue using a chemical sprayer easily found in any home and garden center. Warm the water to whatever temperature you’d like, pour it in the sprayer bottle, pump it up and enjoy a hot shower.

This could work for camping, too.

I’m glad they thought of it because I never would have.

You can read more about how they did it at this link.

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I’ve had my eye on a set of good quality stainless steel cookware since before I struck out on my own again last year.

Emeril Pro-Clad

But as I made the move from house to apartment, the money I had to set up my new home dwindled faster than I thought it would amid a family emergency, so I decided to get by with my 1-quart All Clad pot, an 8-inch Emeril Teflon fry pan, my old 3-quart copper-clad pot that once served as my tea pot and the cast iron skillets I bought for camping until my debts were paid down and there was enough cash to buy a decent set.

Bed, Bath & Beyond has a really neat program where you can register to receive their literature in the mail and they send you 20% off coupons. So soon after the move, I signed up at the store and got my first coupon right after Christmas. I used it to buy a 10-inch Emeril stainless steel fry pan and saved $8.

We owned Emerilware stainless for several years and I found it to be a good quality product. But to me, All Clad is the benchmark for quality cookware and I really wanted to buy a set before money got tight again. The $800 price was too hard to justify .

I did my taxes shortly after buying the fry pan and for the first time in 9 years, I was eligible for a refund. I knew I’d have to wait for the refund but had no idea when it would come.

A week ago, I checked the IRS’ website and learned that my refund would be processed by early April. With cash flow getting better, I started looking around at All Clad pots to see what the prices were for a 2 or 3 quart pot, which could tide me over until after the summer, when a big chunk of debt will be gone and cash flow will be easier. After looking at several places, I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and compared Emeril Pro-Clad to All Clad. To tell you the truth, other than Emeril’s signature on the bottom, there isn’t much difference, so I  used another 20% coupon to get a 3-quart Emeril Pro-Clad sauce pan that doesn’t come with the set and saved $16.

I also discovered that Emeril Pro-Clad is a division of All Clad. The main difference is that All Clad is made in Pennsylvania while Emeril Pro-Clad is made in China. Emeril Pro-Clad is built to the same specifications as All Clad.But we’re looking at $300 for a 12-piece set of Emeril vs more than $1,000 for a similar set of All Clad. (And you can’t use Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons with All Clad.)

I have some reservations about using cookware made in China. It’s not that I’m a snob, it’s just that China has a history of not appearing to care where they get their raw material. So in recent years there have been recalls on children’s costume jewelry, infant formula and dog food to name a few. Since cookware is heated, there’s even more opportunity for toxic and noxious things to find their way into my Spaghetti-O’s. But since this has Emeril’s signature on it, I feel a little more at ease. Push comes to shove, I know where his restaurants are, if you know what I mean.

I boiled some eggs the other night and was blown away by how fast the water came to a boil with my new 3-quart pot. Then on Monday, I checked the IRS site again. This time it said my refund was scheduled to be deposited in my checking account on Wednesday. I woke up this morning and there it was, sitting in my bank account.

So I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond after work this evening. I used a 20% off one item coupon (the last I had) for the 12-piece Emeril Pro-Clad cookware set and saved $60. Then the checkout person told me I was eligible for a free 12-inch Emeril frying pan ($60 value) as well as a $30 mail-in rebate.

When it’s all said and done. I paid $300 for $500 worth of cookware. If I hadn’t waited until now, I would have paid full price. So I celebrated by having Chinese food for supper. When I opened my fortune cookie, the word of the day was “Cook” and the fortune said I could expect a surprise.

Not a bad evening at all.

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