Monday, March 22, 2010

One of 'those' people

My newest hobby will come as no surprise to those of you who know me well. I love a good bargain. These days I ♥ couponing. It's good fun and has become quite the thing to do here in the "UC." If you see a woman going into a grocery store with a zippered binder tucked under her arm, she's a coupon-er. You'd be surprised how much money you can save. And not just on junk. You can get some seriously good stuff for little or no money. You save the most money by using coupons for things that are also on sale. There are websites that tell you what coupons match up with sales at specific stores, so you don't have to do much work. I've been following some of the local blogs, and I've seen the pictures they've taken of the groceries they've purchased using coupons. I'll just come out and admit that I've been jealous to see their deals all lined up and pretty. That's all in the past now. Now you can be jealous of me and my shopping prowess. Go ahead. Envy me if you want. I understand how it goes. I was there once too. I won't judge you either way.

I swung by Smiths on Friday night and this is what I picked up:

There are 12 things of pasta, 3 salad dressings, some cooking oil, 10 pouches of tuna, 4 jars of spaghetti sauce, 4 bags of candy, 1 jar of Nutella (I've been craving bananas with Nutella these days), 2 packages of english muffins, two little things of beef, some mouthwash, 3 bars of soap, and 4 boxes of Advil PM (great for those few nights where I have a hard time sleeping).

And here is my receipt... I have tried to rotate the picture, but it is now close to 1 in the AM and I gave up after a few tries. Feel free turn your head, or not look at it. Either way is fine with me.  
 So The total before coupons and sales was $133.76.  The sales knocked off $66.42, and I had $31.50 worth of coupons. Amount I paid = $35.84! I saved 74%!!!! And you'll notice that I paid with cash. I'm paying for things with cash these days. It's really helped me to be better with my money. I'll do a post on that one of these days.

I don't always save this much with coupons, but its nice to know that its possible. Here are some of the websites I follow: - Amy works with the Daily Herald and has a great Shopping Wizard that helps you to know what is on sale at what store, and what is actually a good deal. - They are based out of northern Utah, but still have some of the same deals down here. - I'm not sure where this one is based. Idaho maybe? Regardless, they have a great printable coupon database. If there is a coupon for a product that you can print via the internet, rather than clip from those that come in the newspaper, it will probably be listed here. A great resource.

So that's my new hobby. Good times. Yay for bargains!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Birthday Clubbing

This week was Ron's birthday. Mom, Calvin, and Audrey came up from St. George for spring break, so we were able to play with us! Calvin's passion in life these days is golf. And he has gotten Ron hooked as well. Ron won some golf clubs on ebay for his birthday, and expedited the shipping so he could get them by the time Calvin got up here. Even though it was freezing for most of the week, Ron and Calvin were determined to play a round together. Their tee time ended up being on what was probably the coldest, windiest day of the entire week.

My mom and I had a hard time trying to think up something to get Ron for a birthday present. I thought about us all pitching in and buying some locally-grown pork, but there wasn't a whole lot of excitement for that idea. Sometimes I forget that other people don't get quite as excited as I do about food. At about this point Calvin joined us for lunch. When we asked for his imput he got this 'no duh' look on his face and suggested that we buy him a golf club. So Calvin took me to a golf club store and headed straight for the putting section. Calvin hates the putter Ron had and apparently, a putter was not included with the other ebay clubs. So Calvin started at one end and went through dozens and dozens of putters. Some looked like they belonged on a space-ship, some just looked pretty goofy, and some were pretty wicked pricey. He worked his way down, having handed me a few clubs to hold as 'maybes' and then he got to the used clubs. Pretty much right away he grabbed one particular club and said that he thought we found the one we wanted. He sunk the first putt he tried with that particular club.

I know squat about golf clubs, but apparently the name Scotty Cameron means something to anyone that knows anything about golf. This particular Scotty Cameron club, being used, was cheaper than new. So much so that Calvin examined it minutely to try and find what was wrong with it. It was still a bit out of where I wanted to pay. I mean, I love Ron and all but I'm not sure I love him that much... golf-club wise. So Calvin and Allen both went in on it and we left the store triumphant.

Audrey helped out by wrapping it up in pretty gold paper, and we took it with us to Brick Oven. We hid it under the table, because it was pretty obvious what it was. My mom called it 'soap on a stick.' There's some story about them getting Gramps 'soap on a rope' once for his birthday or Christmas or something. Ask her about it if you want the whole story.

We ended up opening the presents before dinner because there was some other huge party at Brick Oven, and our pizza ended up taking a really long time. Needless to say, Ron loved it. After checking and re-checking to make sure it was really a Scotty Cameron putter, he pretty much cuddled the thing all night. Pretty much the way I would cuddle a really fun new kitchen toy, like a creme brulee torch or a Le Creuset, or something. Manager Paul came over and took the club for ten minutes or so to show it off. Good times. Paul was Ron's manager when he worked at Brick Oven years ago.

A wide section of fam-damily was there Brick Oven-ing out! Mom, Nana, Ron's In-laws and sister-in-law with nieces in tow, Mom, Audrey, Allen, Calvin, and myself. The party even included the singing of the traditional Brick Oven Birtday song. The company was fun, the food was divine, but I think the real success of the night was Scotty Putter.

Happy Birthday Ron!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Chosen Family

I've heard said that friends are the family that you choose. I really believe this. You can really understand where people are coming from by meeting their family-family, but you can tell a lot about who people have chosen to become by meeting their friend-family. This week a tragedy has occured, and through it I have learned a lot about a very special friend of mine through interacting with both of his families.

I woke up Tuesday morning to find an email in my facebook inbox from the mother of one of my best friends, Mike. He had been driving home from his fiancee's house just after midnight late Monday night. He was driving on State St. on his motorcycle, when a 19 year old in an SUV didn't see him as she was turning left and hit him. He broke his femur in 3 places, broke some ribs, scraped up his face and banged up his head. He was life-flighted to UVRMC in Provo and has been in a coma ever since.

That first day, Mike's mom told me that she believe in the power of prayer, and asked me to get as many people praying for him as possible. I started making calls and sending messages, and the people I contacted started contacting other people. So many people have expressed their love and appreciation for Mike, all he has done, and the great person he is. Every time I see a member of his family, they express amazement at the outpouring of love they have felt from all of his friends, coworkers, etc.

His family-family has spent a lot of time at the hospital this week. I have been impressed how they have really stood together. They are all great people, and so much fun. I have seen such strength in them these past few days!

His friend-family is a lot bigger than I think anyone had realized. For a guy that was never very far from a computer, he really seems to have gotten around. In a good way. He has left a trail of friends all over this valley, dating way back to 1998 and all of his freshmen tre-dub buddies. He has fixed countless cars and computers, and has always been there for when I all I needed was a friend.

He was there for me when I was stood up one Friday night a few summers back, and I needed a last-minute replacement date to Brian Regan. He knew me well enough that he didn't mind that I was in a terrible mood and didn't talk much at all that whole night. He enjoyed himself that night despite my terrible company.

He was there for my dad when his truck broke down when bringing Allen up to BYU. Mike stayed up almost all night that Sunday dropping the gas tank to get in and fix the fuel pump so my dad could head home. He has always been so happy to help people out. He never accepted non-edible payment for any of the services he has provided to any of his many, many friends.

Mike is an important part of the family that I have chosen. There really aren't enough people like Mike in the world. He's a kind of gentle giant. Well, gentle most of the time. He's actually kind of scarily loud when there he is watching football or hockey, but at any other time he's pretty chill.

The doctors and nurses at UVRMC are taking good care of him. He's still in a coma, but showing some signs that he is healing physically. It's still too early to tell the condition of his brain, but there have been some small improvements over the past few days. His ward held a fast for him today, and his family said that they could really feel the outpouring of love and support surrounding them today. We're all hoping for the best, and hope he rejoins us soon.