Archive for July, 2011

The WalMart Effect

I don’t go to WalMart any more often than I have to.  There is way too much temptation.  I end up buying things I didn’t even know I needed or wanted.  Okay, sometimes I get something really cool.  But the truth is, I could have managed very well without it.  As cheap as some items are, if I don’t buy them, I’ve saved even more, just by not spending at all.

However, the other day I needed two things that I knew I could get there without running all over town.  It’s terribly hot.  No one needs to spend any more time in the car or parking lot than absolutely necessary.

I found the first item, some Oil of Olay facial cloths I particularly like,  in short order — and, of course, much cheaper than the price in any other store.  The second item was the same — something I knew they had, and cheaper too.  However, once again, I noticed that odd phenomenon. If I’m getting  just two things, the second one is always as far away from the first as is humanly possible.  I still have to walk the entire store.  But, at least it was air-conditioned and cooler than the parking lot.


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Our pickle session was uneventful this year.  With the new range, we could no longer use the big pressure canner in the kitchen.  Way too heavy for the ceramic cooktop.  Therefore, we had to do the processing a bit differently.

After internet research, Bruce purchased a turkey fryer set-up.  It’s “cooking” apparatus reminds me of a very large bunsen burner.  We  put it outside by the back door on the patio area out there.  Bruce was in charge of the 10 minute water bath timing.  Man — hot and heavy work.

I ran the cooking pots for the relish and the bread and butter pickle recipe.  Severeral years ago I discovered that smaller batches are easier to manage than a double batch.  Too often the pot can cook at the bottom and not at the top.  Better to stick to the recipe.

So we put up 16 pints of delicious relish and 26 pints of b&b pickles. That keeps us in pickles for a year with ones for gifts too. A good summer project.

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Several years ago Bruce bought me an ipod for my birthday.  He loaded it up with the kind of music I enjoy.  I was all set up.  Except — I seldom used it.  Truth is I like my music in the room with me.  And I do mean — in the room — surround sound style.

I think I’ve seen too many shows and movies where someone sneaks up on another person because they weren’t “tuned in.”  I grew up with a deaf mother who jumped when she didn’t know you were there.  I’ve even tried to vacuum facing the middle of the room since I too hate finding Bruce in the room when I haven’t heard him coming.  It just creeps me out.  Really, the only time I want to be tuned out to the world is on a crowded airplane.  Then I’d do anything to get the coughing, the crying babies and the yakking and giggling to go away so I don’t have to think about how many humans are actually crammed into that plane.  Music in my ears and some Zen meditation or a good book are perfect.

Consequently, the ipod sat in the drawer and I felt guilty.  Then one day he asked if he could use it and since then, it’s been on his desk, not mine.  Awww, end of the guilt trip.

On his last birthday, after much deliberation, he asked for a Kindle.  We had already picked David’s brain about its pros and cons.  He-who-likes-electronic-devices dutifully loaded it up and used it.  For about two weeks.  Then he admitted that it gave him a headache and eye strain.  It sat deserted on the coffee table.  I eyeballed it every once in a while.  Finally, I realized that there was a solution to the huge hardback book I was struggling with.  I was loving The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, but the physical book weighs several pounds — it’s enormous!  Usually, I try to buy the long historical fiction that I love in paperback version.  They are simply easier to handle.  However, Bruce had this one from his book club and had heartily recommended it.  Once in a while, that gigantic book would fall on me — and it hurt!  So — going against my usual frugal adage — don’t buy another version of anything you already have — I purchased an electronic version of The Fall of  Giants.  Now I curl up with “my” Kindle, set to a nice easy to read font and away I go to Fictionland.  I even use a clip on reading light — just like on an airplane.

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