Sunday, August 28, 2011

There were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident

Yesterday was a pretty tense day around the ol’ Fortress of Solitude.  In anticipation of Irene’s arrival we got our bottled water, filled our bathtub, put away all of our deck and porch furniture and waited.

Thankfully, she didn’t do much damage around here.  Looks to be some localized flooding, but nothing too bad.  Or at least not enough that we can’t look back on some of yesterday’s weather coverage and laugh.  Because, seriously people, some of these intrepid individuals just about hurled themselves into the sea to demonstrate how bad things were.

But first, a brief detour.  As instructed by the good people at The Weather Channel, I texted my parents this morning to make sure all was well instead of calling, to conserve my battery just in case we still lost power.  I did break all of the rules (damn the man, Willard) and called yesterday as Irene cranked up to make sure Mom had filled the bathtubs. 

She did not, however, fully appreciate my kind and thoughtful gesture.  Probably because when I called I told her that I was calling because the people on the TV instructed me to check up on the elderly and infirmed.  And, um, Husband might have been yelling “ARE YOU OK, INFIRMED ELDERS???” in the background.  I kid because I love, promise.  No, really!  (But yeah, we really did do that.  Moving on.)

So after getting my text this morning, Mom (always the rebel!) calls back to tell me that they were fine but without power.  And that they had already driven around to check out the damage.  Teeeeerriffic.  As visions of my parents getting play on the news for being flood-rescue candidates ran through my head, Mom ‘fessed up that the REAL reason they ventured out was to go out for breakfast.  Because what’s a little flooding when you’ve got a hankering for some good diner eggs?

As sane people stayed indoors, all food-related establishments were closed.  Which left Dad with a problem – morning coffee.  Dad NEEDS his coffee.  Strong like hi-test gasoline and piping hot, every morning first thing.  Their power was out and restaurants were closed – what to do?

Dad is nothing if not a modern day pioneer.  As a result, when I called to check in, I couldn’t actually speak to Dad because he was perkily boiling water for coffee. Outside on their deck.  On my parents’ gas barbeque.  Pa Ingalls would be proud.

Beyond Mom and Dad, I have to laugh at some of these weather guys.  Yes, last night was practically Christmas.  Beyond the dangerous potential of the storm, this was the local guy’s big opportunity to finally get noticed and get that big call up to The Weather Channel.  And try to get noticed they did. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of our fine local weathermen, Adam Joseph.  First, the guy was on the air for 12 hours straight.  So he gets mad props from me for that.  However, there came a point where I didn’t think Adam would make it. 

At about 9:30 p.m., a pack of tornadoes started popping up around the area.  Adam, jacket and tie off and sleeves rolled up at this point, basically lost it.  He started gesticulating wildly around the map, spitting out the names of random cities that might be in the path of a tornado.  Which, mind you, at this point basically covered the entire greater Philadelphia region.

“Radnor!  Central Philly!  Conshohocken!  Broomall!  DREXELL HILL!  KING OF PRUSSIA!!!!

Then Adam started screaming for paper.  “I need this written down.  This is too much.  I need paper!  PAPER PEOPLE!”

An hour later, Adam had both his paper and grasp on reality firmly in hand.  But that moment when he morphed into Kermit the Frog-doing-the-crazy-wave will forever make me smile.

Then we have the reporters who feel the need to actually try to get swept away by the ocean to prove their point.  If you tracked The Weather Channel at all yesterday, you may have seen the reporter stationed in Nags Head, NC.  During a hurricane, this guy decided to stand in the ocean.  As the wind and surf picked up in power, this guy doesn’t move to higher ground or even get out of the range of the ocean.  Nope.  Instead, he just widened his stance.  

There you go.  Don't get out of the way, just hunker down.  Because a lower center of gravity can defeat a frieking hurricane.  No problem.
As the day went on, he got closer and closer to doing a full split.  My black heart encouraged me to root for the ocean.  (No, of COURSE I didn’t.  That would be wrong.  Husband did.)

Finally, you may have heard of the enterprising young go-getter who stood right next to the boardwalk railing in Ocean City, MD to give viewers the fullest sense of the ocean’s fury?  He got covered in that ocean foam stuff that doesn’t dissipate and pretty much looked like Foamy the Snowman.

“It’s in my face as well…as you can imagine, it doesn’t taste well…it has a sort of sandy consistency to it.”
Yeah, um, about that foam.  For those of you that go to the beach, don’t ever go near that weird ocean foam again….organic matter is NOT plankton.  Guy pretty much made raw sewage foam snow angels.  (shudder)

For those of you yet to be hit, stay safe out there and please don’t eat any ocean foam!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Whatcha gonna do, brother?

To the Good People in the Programming Department at Food Network:

My family and I immensely enjoy your “Challenge” program.  Whether it’s making Rube Goldberg devices out of sugar or Disney characters draped in fondant, it’s all hands on deck in our house at 8 p.m. on Sunday nights.

However, I must bring to your attention a cruel injustice done during this past Sunday’s program.  Someone at your fine station decided to inexplicably attack one of the members of our geriatric population. 

This particular individual has done nothing but give to our good country.  For more than thirty years, he has fought.  He has fought for our rights – not just his own mind you.  This individual has fought for the rights of every man.  He has even fought for his life.

In short, he is a real American and I just don’t think it’s right to take an utterly unprovoked swipe at poor Mr. Hogan.



Listen, Hulk, I know it might be crashing down and hurt inside, but you gotta take a stand against this cruelty - it don't help to hide.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Parenticus Sportian

“Let’s!  Get!  Fired up!”  (clap, clap, clapclapclap)  One hundred little voices ring out from the center of our high school’s courtyard.  The time has come – Girl #2 has joined cheerleading.

This isn’t our first time at the kid sports rodeo.  Each of the Kiddos has played soccer at one time or another, The Boy started t-ball, Girl #2 does gymnastics and Girl #1 swims.  So we have been to quite a few practices and games over the past few years.

Practices provide a unique opportunity for parent-watching.  It’s almost like bird-watching, with each sport having a specific species of uber-involved parent.  For now I’m going to focus on the male varieties of the species.

Soccer has the Beckham Dads.  These individuals can be found at every practice and game in rip-away warm-up pants and an Under Armor shirt, ready to be called into the game should the need arise.  As the games we see are generally played by 7 year olds, you can imagine that the need has never arisen for a parent to step in to sub for a fallen first grader.  But there the Beckham Dad waits, prepared to bend it at a moment’s notice. 

The Beckham Dad also has the charming attribute of directing his child’s every move.  “Joe!  This way!  No, attack!  ATTAAAAAAACK!! Now back!  Back!  BACK!!!! Get the ball, Joe, get the ball!  Defense!  DEFEEEEENSE!!!”  For two hours.  At top volume.  Please Joe, just get the ball and score.  For all of us.

Closely related to the Beckham Dad is the Varsity Blues Dad.  This individual played back in the day and hasn’t quite left those glory days behind.  Parent-kid game?  Yes.  Parent swim relay?  Sign.  Him.  Up.  He’ll show up in Speedos and tell everyone within earshot how he used to swim a 52 second 100-meter free.  Everyone smiles, nods and indulges him, secretly shaking their head at the aging, balding, waistline-expanding guy who insists on trying to recapture his youth.

Most recently, we spotted the elusive Bring It On Dad.  I had previously only seen this species on T.V. and was unsure whether we’d ever find a Bring It On Dad in his natural habitat.  Usually this particular species can be found on the kiddie beauty pageant circuit, shaking his groove thang and doing the Outfit-of-Choice routine right along with his daughter.

As I mentioned, Girl #2 has started cheerleading.  Practices began last week with the basics – learn the cheers, learn the moves.  I was watching the girls when all of a sudden I saw a dad step in line and start stretching.  Could it be a Bring It On Dad?  Sure enough, when the leader yelled (with SPIRIT) “READY???!?!??!” the suspected Bring It On Dad popped his hands on his hips right along with the girls.  Right L?  Check.  Left diagonal?  Indeed.  High V?  The highest!  

Sighting confirmed, I only have three words - GO!  FIGHT! WIN!!!

Please feel free to report your sightings of these and other species at kid sporting events around the country.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keeping abreast of the situation

After a week spent blissfully cut off from civilization, we reentered the continental United States this morning with a bang.  Or, more appropriately, with a nipple.

Let me set the scene, if I may.  To get back to the mainland from our carless paradise, island-dwellers have to take a ferry.  After the ferry ride, everyone sort of runs around with their heads cut off at the terminal looking for their luggage.  While this is run with almost Disney-like efficiency and speed, there is nevertheless a general scrum as people spot their bags.

During the organized chaos, I see a newborn baby pretty much screaming his precious little head off.  I have nothing against newborns.  As I have little people of my own, I know the struggle.  I even remember the struggle.  Your kid is crying, you think everyone is not only looking at you but judging and looking up the number for the closest Child Protective Services office.  So I sympathized….until.

Everything was going along according to plan.  Screaming Baby had faded into the background commotion.  We were executing a precisely planned attack – Husband was completing the Tetris puzzle of repacking the car and I was corralling the Kiddos.  

Suddenly, I noticed that The Boy was a little….giggly.  He kept stealing looks across the departure loading road to a stairwell.  I followed his furtive little gaze and saw Screaming Baby and his mom.  Well, that’s not entirely correct.  I saw the back of Screaming Baby’s head and his mom’s right breast.


Listen, I get that a baby’s gotta eat.  Not trying to get into the Great Nursing Debate at all.  (But might I suggest nursing blankets for those expecting?)  However, at that moment, The Boy got more sex ed than I had really been prepared to give right off of a vacation. 

I nudged him.  Nothing.  Caught in the tractor beam of a free flesh buffet.  Finally, thankfully, Husband finished packing and I literally hauled my son into the car.

Husband’s reaction?  “Well, now we know The Boy’s a boob man.”


I can’t wait to read his first journal entry on “What I Did This Summer.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

What is THAT???? Part 2

Just because I’m away from the crazy of everyday life, don’t think for a second that I’m not looking for blog gold.  Constant vigilance, people, constant vigilance.

My mom has been on a mission during this trip to find gnarled driftwood to bring home.  I get my special brand of, um, focus from my mom.  Some might call it a tendency to obsess, while Husband would probably say stubbornness.  (Husband:  LIKE AN OX!)  Once we get an idea in our heads, well, it’s lights out.  We are goal-oriented and that is that.

Last year, we decided to look for sea glass.  Instead of casual sunset beach walks, Mom and I would speedwalk-race each other down the beach, frantically scanning from side to side for a precious piece of sea glass.  It got uber-competitive, uber-quickly.  I don’t think I have to explain why Trivial Pursuit has almost resulted in blood?  No?  OK, then, moving on.

So, driftwood it has been for the past five days.  Yesterday, Mom came home with a special find from her walk.  She loves the gnarled and knobby qualities of the wood.

Me, I think the fine children she teaches are going to have the unfortunate opportunity to touch petrified deer poo.

So, my dear readers, I give the issue at hand to you….what is THAT????

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I scream, you scream

 The idea was simple in theory.  A relaxing post-dinner trip over to the local market’s ice cream window to grab dessert.  The important part here is in theory.  Reality intervened in the form of Alexei, Svetlana and Katarina.

No, we have not acquired Russian immigrants during our travels.  These individuals were the crack team assigned to work the ice cream hut during the evening rush. 

The basic set-up is simple – you go up to Window #1, give Svetlana your order and pay.  You then take one sidestep to your right to pick up your order from Alexei or Katarina.  Think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, but with ice cream.

Our orders were simple enough.  Vanilla cone, vanilla hot fudge sundae, 2 rocky road cones, 2 vanilla mocha almond dishes, 2 birthday cake cones.  (Yes, I got the birthday cake cone.  Yes, I know I have the palate of a 10-year old.  My favorite cereal remains Marshmallow Blast Froot Loops –  in college, I could study for a good 20 hours at a clip on a box of that stuff.  Along with Salsa and Sour Cream Doritos Thins, it’s the discontinued food item that I mourn the most.)

Perhaps we should have started to worry when Alexei (helpful subtitle of The Russian Boy on his nametag) announced “cookie cream!” as he hurled a dish of ice cream out of Window #2.  Husband picked it up, as cookies and cream looks pretty similar to vanilla mocha almond.  Nope, cookies and cream all the way.

Window #2 opened again.  “Cookie cream cone!”

“Um, sir?  We ordered vanilla mocha almond in a cup and a cone.  Not cookies and cream.”  Husband gallantly took the communication reins as he handed his dish back through the window.  Alexei looked at Husband, then down at the ice cream now coming back into the booth.  He turned to Svetlana and a heated Russian exchange occurred.

As I took a year of Russian in high school, I tried to follow along.  However, the only words I really remember are “brown” and “I love you.”  I can report that neither of these words were used by Alexei or Svetlana.

At this point, Katarina intervened and took over our order.  Vanilla mocha almond confusion remedied.  Birthday cake cones, no problem.  Rocky road, check!  Vanilla cone, da!  We are on a Russian roll!  Vanilla hot fudge sundae…..ohhhhh boy. 

Generally, if an item is presented on a food vendor’s menu, I don’t think I’m completely out of line by assuming that I can purchase said item.  Sure, items may run out, but if it’s on your menu board, you shouldn’t be completely confused on how to make a given dish. 

The hot fudge sundae brought the inner workings of the ice cream shop to a complete standstill.  First a dish of plain vanilla ice cream came out.  “Sundae!”

(waving at window to get a comrade’s attention)

“Um, hi.  We ordered a hot fudge sundae, not just plain vanilla ice cream.”

Dead shark eyes.  Furrowed brow.

We tried again.

“Sundae?  So we need some whipped cream and hot fudge on this ice cream.”

No response.  Hand thrust through window – we give back the dish.

More Russian sparring.

Take 2.  “Sundae!”

Deep breath.  OK, we’re getting there.  Now there is whipped cream on top of the ice cream. 

(another friendly wave, now certain that we are in the process of restarting the Cold War)

“Hi, us again.  Um…LOVE the whipped cream, so thank you for that, but we still need hot fudge on the sundae.”

Dead shark eyes.  ANGRY furrowed brow.

“Yeah….um….so if you’d just put some hot fudge on top here, we’ll be good to go.  Or, if you have hot fudge back there, we can even put it on, no big deal.”

Hand thrust through window.  Sundae returned.


This time, the sundae is not alone when it’s plopped onto the window ledge.  There’s also one of those squeeze tubes that they use at Starbucks for the caramel.  This one is filled with a dark brown substance that we can only assume is (please for the love of all that’s good in the world let it be) fudge sauce.

“Oh, um, so you really took that whole ‘I’ll do it myself’ thing seriously, then.  OK.”

Sundae experiment in cooperation complete, the window slams shut.

Poor guy behind us didn’t stand a chance.  He ordered a banana split.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just call me Kerouac

When one travels by car from the Eastern part of the good United States into the shallow South, one tends to see some things along the way.  Some funny things, some not-so-funny things that become a LOT funnier after you’ve been in the same car for a good 400 miles at a clip.

First, I’ll admit up front that I’m not a bumper sticker kind of girl.  It’s not that I don’t want to affect the trade-in value on my sweet ’03 Honda Civic.  No, much simpler – I can’t find a slogan that I’m willing to express to the world on a daily basis via my vehicle.  Same goes for my backside.  No fanny slogans, thank you very much.

Some of my fellow road warriors don’t have my bumper issues.  One lady had her bumper basically wallpapered with bumper stickers, showing here:

This is fine – I don’t have anything against being told every single one of someone’s personal views through snappy little slogans.  Little hard to read 10 of these views while passing, but still.  Gets an A for effort.  However, one must be consistent.  If one chooses to have at least 10 messages, as this individual did, one should NOT then have a bumper sticker that reads “Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.”  Ah, roadtrip irony.

The other memorable moment occurred at the North Carolina Welcome Center.  We were walking up to the center when we heard it.  A child screaming?  Nope.  Dog barking?  Guess again.  Tractor trailer backfiring?  Sorry.

We heard a rooster crowing.

I don’t know (nor do I care to speculate) how it got there, but there was an angry little rooster in the welcome shrubbery, basically scaring the crap out of the good road travelers just trying to catch a quick bathroom break.

On the other hand, the rooster was thematically appropriate, because the welcome center smelled like a barnyard.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What is THAT???

While buying cold cuts for our vacation, we came across the most interesting...concoction yesterday in the deli department which inspired a new post theme - what is THAT????

Today's contender, a substance vaguely titled "Cheese Delight."  Kicker is there is nothing about this particular quivery mess that suggests either cheese or delight.  In fact, the shellacked surface and unidentifiable beige goo gave off more of an "Food Item Fear" vibe.

So, take a look at the picture below and please help me out by answering what is THAT????

Friday, August 5, 2011

Modern Melting Pot (or Llllllllet the Bodies Hit the Floor)

After having successfully using my jedi mind powers to not merely divert Tropical Storm Emily from the North Carolina coastline but obliterate the entire stinking weather system yesterday, I needed to give my brain a rest.  Enter a fellow troublemaker, the Lucy to my Ethel.

After considering the various merits of hitting up the karaoke at Hooters (fill in your joke workbooks at home, kids) Lucy and I decided to bust (HA!) out our skills at a karaoke contest at a much tamer local restaurant.

Way back in middle school, I learned America was considered to be the great Melting Pot for welcoming people from all cultures.  (I’ve been trying to come up with a funny way to spin the subsequent discrimination against these same immigrants but dang it, I can’t figure out how to make bigotry funny.  I’m blaming my lack of brain workiness on the insanely high level of noise in my house today.  The Kiddos are less than 24 hours away from a vacation.  They are therefore blazing around the house like amped up coke fiends.  Yup, just used a drug simile to describe my kids.  You stay classy, San Diego.  Moving on.)

Anyway, last night, I discovered the modern melting pot – the karaoke bar.  Oh, the sights that we saw.  Old, young, tall, small, skinny or fluffy – all signed their releases and stepped up to the mike.  As we looked around, Lucy and I realized that we had to record just a few of the things we saw for posterity.  We spent the next few hours mining some blog gold.  Enjoy the following nuggets.

First up, a bit of karaoke irony.  If you are going to choose a song for a karaoke contest, pick a song you know.  One would think this would go without saying.  One would be wrong, as one contestant demonstrated. 

I got a little worried for this particular lady when I saw her nervously touching up her lip gloss four times before she went on to sing.  Sticky Gloss steps up to the mike, her music starts and….nothing.  Words are turning from red to green on the guide screen, but Sticky Gloss has frozen.  She turns to the MCs and they generously give her another chance.  This time, Sticky Gloss gamely stumbles her way through the first 1/3 of the song then admits defeat, throws the mike back to the MC and slinks back to her seat.  The song?  Shania Twain’s That Don’t Impress Me Much.  Indeed, Sticky Gloss, indeed.

Let us turn from the absolutely terrified to another variety of contestant – the supremely disinterested.  This individual tries as hard as possible to let everyone in the room know that s/he doesn’t really care about this silly little contest.  Yet, this person shows up every single week to compete.  And finish fourth.

Listen people, I've been to this rodeo before.  And I.  Don't.  Care.  I'm giving you The Rose and then I'm sitting my sweet self on this chair and texting for the rest of the night.  That's all you get from me.  So suck it.
Finally, we arrive at the sublimely ridiculous.  Lucy and I noticed this particular individual chiefly because he arrived in a yellow satin boxing robe.  Let that one sink in for a second.  A yellow.  Satin.  Boxing robe.  Yes, we did have a serious debate as to whether this particular individual had pants on.  (Thankfully, he did.)  Five points if you can guess what this guy listed as his favorite movies?  That’s right, the Rocky series.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Now, the karaoke contest MC is a wise individual, knowing just how to stir the various elements of the melting pot to achieve the best show possible.  Rocky, therefore, was strategically given a later spot in the line-up.  He strutted up to the mike and threw open the robe to reveal…black bike shorts.  Again, pause to get the full effect.  Under his yellow satin boxing robe, Rocky wore black bike shorts.  Although, I guess we should be thankful that Rocky had some sort of pant on at all?

As Rocky began to…sing, I quickly realized that words simply could not do this performance any justice.  Therefore, may I present to you the following snippet so that you, too, can bask in the glory that is Rocky.

Our forefathers would truly be proud.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Jedi Mind Powers

My fam is currently deep into vacation preparations for a trip to the beautiful North Carolina beaches next week.  Since we are renting a house on an island where groceries can get a little pricey, I have been working my coupon magic over the past couple of months to get food for the trip.  Dry goods bin is packed and sitting by the door to the deck, cooler is empty and ready to be filled with our frozens. 

The Kiddos have been raring to go since summer began.  If we had let Girl #2, she would have packed her entire set of summer clothes and stuffed animal collection on June 10, the day after school ended.  We actually caught her halfway through the process and had a lengthy discussion about why she needed to keep her clothes out to actually, you know, wear during the summer.  Sorry Girl #2, but The Man hates naked.  Thankfully, Girl #2 is nothing if not open to reason and has been fully clothed all summer.

All pre-game preparations were humming along until I checked the weather yesterday evening.  Opening up, I went to the 10-day forecast.  Hmmm, I thought to myself as I clicked around the site, nothing out of the ordinary….thunderstorms….fine….low 90s….OK, looking good….wait, what?  Emily?  EMILY?!?!?!?! 



(frantically putting on my meteorologist hat to analyze projected paths and strengthening potential)


Husband sighs.

Perhaps this would be a good time to mention my slight propensity to blow things a BIT out of proportion.  The jump to conclusions mat from Office Space?  Sign.  Me.  Up. 

To illustrate - last summer one of my tires slowly went flat during an hour-long solo trip to my parents’ house.  Because I tend to crank up my Broadway/Glee mix CDs when I’m alone in the car (OK, OK, and because I’m generally oblivious to the world around me), I noticed (and heard) nothing.  The tire was almost completely flat before I realized something was up.  Or another motorist kindly told me.  Bygones.

The next day, I trucked the flat tire over to my car place and explained what had happened.  Fifteen minutes later, the shop front desk guy came out and asked what made me think that the tire was flat.  I explained the situation, complete with “thump, thwak, thump, thwak” sound effects.  The guy looks at me, pauses, then tells me that they hooked up the flat-tire-air-machine-analyzer (yes, official name) and didn’t find anything….YOU STUPID GIRL.  (OK, I made up that last part.  But it was implied.)  I slunk out quickly.

I promise you that the tire was flat.  Really.  I have witnesses and everything.  But, as it magically sealed itself, I can only assume that my claims of possessing magic (Student:  How’d you know I was texting, Mrs. Alison?  Me:  Because I’m magic.) are actually true.  As far as mending flat tires goes, anyway.

Back to my blowing things out of proportion.  Since my flat tire incident, I have been paranoid that I’m hearing flat-tire noises when I drive.  I’m not proud of it, but I constantly think my left front tire is going to blow.  And I have been so sure of a flat that I’ve pulled off the road to check.  Irrational?  Sure.  My reality?  Yup.

Now, let’s take this special little brand of crazy and apply it to Tropical Storm Emily. 

I now know that there’s a storm near Haiti that has a chance of hitting (grazing, really) southern North Carolina on Sunday at 2 p.m.  This is the exact time when we are supposed to be on a ferry to our island paradise.  My mind immediately pictures The Perfect Storm combined with Titanic.  Husband shrugs and says "what can we do?  It is what it is" while I’m figuring out how many kids can fit on an abandoned door.

In between hurricane survival contingency plans, my brain tells me I need to use its remaining capacity to move the path of the storm out to the Atlantic.  What, you didn’t know I have weather-affecting mind powers?  Pfffffttttt, of COURSE I do!  Why else have I been checking weather and hurricane-related websites on a five-minute basis since I found out about the storm, pausing only to sleep and recharge my magic? 

And don’t even try to tell me it hasn’t worked – I’ve already saved the western coast of Florida just since last night.  You’re welcome, Tampa!

Um, do I need to explain why Husband is pretty much a saint?  No?  OK then, back to – I’ve got a tropical storm path to divert!

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

The conversation started off innocently enough.

Husband:  “Hey, Al, I’m out of razors.” 

Me:  “Wait, what?  How???”

Husband:  “Um, maybe because the last time you bought me razors was two years ago?”

Me:  “But it’s SUNDAY AFTERNOON – the deals have already come out!  Everything will be gone!  (deep breath) OK….I’m going to go get a newspaper and hit RiteAid.  I’ll be back!”

Fear not, Husband has not been scraping rusty blades against his skin for the past few months.  No, he has had a full supply of razors that all gush water and make jet-fighter noises as they rid his face of stubble.  (That’s what happens in the commercials, so it must be true, right?  Oh.  Sidenote - I was similarly disappointed as a kid when my maple syrup bottle just sat there and no dirt-fighting little sponges sprang forth from a cleanser can.  My mother was less than enthused when I wasted both bottles looking for cartoon characters.)

My good people, so that we can firmly live together in the Trust Tree, I must tell you that I have a slight confession to make.  Gosh, this is hard.  OK, deep breath.  I am a……. coupon lady.  There, I said it.

I wasn’t always like this.  Three years ago I didn’t give coupons a second thought.  Or any thought, really.  Then my career switch caused our household income to drastically change and something had to be done because: a) the switch was necessary to preserve what little shreds of my soul remained; and b) my babies had to eat.

It all began with an innocent Google search about “saving money.”  Suddenly I found myself immersed in websites where people triumphantly described how they fed their families of 18 on $50 a week.

A light bulb went on.  This was our solution!  I could continue down my career-changing path AND my babies could still eat – win, win, win!

Coincidentally, a few weeks later, Kmart had the glorious event known as Super Doubles.  (This program has drastically changed.  Tear.)  Basically, Kmart would double any coupon UP TO $2.  A $2 coupon was now worth $4.  What does this mean?  Well, for starters, two years’ worth of free razors for Husband.  We are also still working our way through our supply of free Fantastik and Lysol cleaning sprays and Lysol air freshener.  We just ran out of free Band-Aids last month.

On my first trip to Kmart, I now realize that I was incredibly unprepared.  I only brought coupons for the items I wanted to buy, assuming (pfffftttt!) that all the things I wanted would be there.   I ended up buying some hand soap and four boxes of cereal and paid a ridiculous $3 for the whole shebang.  I hurtled home and burst through the door, waving my bags.

“HUSBAND!!!!  You’renotgoingtobelievewhatIjustdidIsavedallsortsofmoneyandIhavetogetmorecouponsandgobackrightnow!!!”  During this stream, I threw the cereal at Husband as I tore upstairs to change and grab more coupons.

There is one detail that embarrasses me about my first couponing experience.  No, it’s not the buying 10 boxes of cereal at once.  I own my savings.  What makes me cringe is how I irrationally decided that I needed to change my outfit before I headed back to the store for a second go.  Which I did.  I also might have worn sunglasses on my second trip.  Um, and a hat.  You know, the coupon police and all.  (FYI - No, stores do not generally care if you make more than one trip.  You’ll thank me when you don’t have buy that fake mustache for days when you make multiple shopping trips.)

After that first day, I enlisted Husband so we could rock two orders per trip.  Deep in the throes of heady savings, we’d hit Kmart twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.  Because I’m crazy like that, I kept track of our overall cost vs. shelf price – we ended up saving a good 75%.

Don’t worry, I’m not building Jello towers or anything.  (Husband: Yet.)  We do have a …healthy supply of cereal, laundry detergent and frozen veggies, but it was all free.  And I am now a happy soul-filled teacher.  Woo!

And yesterday?  I got Husband two Gillette  ProFusion battery-powered razors for $6.  Retail $26.  AND I have $5 to spend on my next trip.  Boo-yah.

P.S. For those of you that may want to get started, here are some of the deal-compiling sites I like:

For the Mommas  - Deals for PA grocery stores, national chain drugstores and Target

My Frugal Adventures - West coast stores

Hot Coupon World - Forums contain previews for deals at most chain grocery and drug stores