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Back to Bags

The next time I need a new vacuum, I’m going back to the old style with bags. They may not be as politically correct or whatever, but they’ve got to be better than the ones with multiple filters and canisters that need to be cleaned and emptied after each use. Have you seen the dust and crud that fills the air when you clean them out? It’s ridiculous, and I shouldn’t have to hold my breath every time I do it. I really need to wear a mask. That is so unhealthy!

A few months ago, well after I needed new filters but kept forgetting to look for them, I finally thought to get some. Guess what? They’re nearly impossible to find. There were a few different styles of one of the filters, but I couldn’t remember which model my vacuum was. The other filter was nowhere to be found. Well, maybe. Maybe it was there. I think I didn’t realize I had two filters to change at that time. Whatever the issue, we ended up having to order them online. And we only remembered that when I was vacuuming last time and hoping it wouldn’t overheat (as usual) and not come back on for the rest of the day.

Today I needed some heavy duty cleaning in the boys’ room. We’re working on getting their room cleaned out (finished!) and rearranged. Toys and clothes have been purged and reorganized. Some smaller furniture has been moved out. The bunk beds are coming down and becoming two twin beds. Anyway, I needed to vacuum where things were that we’ve moved out. I also needed to get along the baseboards.

I didn’t want the vacuum to quit on me halfway through, so I decided to change out the filters. Ugh! What a mess! Dust went everywhere. I couldn’t figure out how to get one of the filters out. When I finally succeeded at that and had the new filter in place, I had trouble getting that part of the unit closed again. Then I couldn’t figure out how to get to the other filter. Once I finally got that accomplished, I had broken quite a sweat. And I felt like I had that nasty dust sticking to me. It was then that I swore to go back to bag vacuums as soon as I get the chance… The main reason? They’re enclosed and I don’t have to breathe that junk every time I vacuum and empty the canister!

I got the boys ‘ room vacuumed with no problems. The sucking power of the vacuum was remarkably strong. But not strong enough to make me change my mind on bagless vacuums. Especially when I had to empty the canister at the end. Fuzz and lint had clogged part of the canister near the filter, and I had to pull it out with my hands. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, but one day I won’t have to do that at all anymore. So gross! So unhealthy! They say the bagless are better, but I’m not convinced.

Counting the Days

ALDI is coming to a town near us! Actually it’s already in several towns near us, but this one will be the closest – a mere 10 minutes away versus 25.

I’ve known about it for a while. There were rumors floating around, then it was confirmed. This was maybe a year ago? Then there was all the hooplah and red tape about getting a traffic light put in at the intersection where it was supposed to be built. The new Kroger Marketplace came along, with a traffic light of its own. Finally the new light at the proposed ALDI site was put up.

I’d drive by occasionally to check the progress. Construction was ongoing, but there was nothing there to prove it was ALDI. About two weeks ago I drove by again, curious about progress and if there were any signs up. No signs, but the corner of the building has the distinct ALDI shape. Yes!!!

I’m hopeful it’ll be open this fall. I’m so ready to shop my favorite grocery store without having to drive nearly half an hour to get there. There are other grocery stores closer: Brookshire’s, Walmart, and the new Kroger “mall”. Where I go depends on what I need, how I feel about fighting crowds, and how much time I want to spend in the store. Soon though…

We’ve been talking about rearranging the boys’ bedroom for a few months, but now were getting down to business. Now. Right before school starts. Of course, earlier in the summer, when there was actually time – when we weren’t busy or gone – I was too sick to do anything. Now that I’m well and we’re not running the roads with this and that, the boys and I have been diving into the mess that is their room. (Next week is another story…)

Billy jump-started us by dismantling the large desk in his study, which is another project undergoing change. Then he took everything off and out of the catch-all that was the desk in the boys’ room and moved it into his study. The boys and I had no choice but to get to work cleaning up stuff, throwing away junk, adding to the garage sale pile, and finding long-forgotten treasures.

On Tuesday we tackled their game shelf, getting rid of a few things and rearranging the rest. We also cleaned out their two chests of drawers and rearranged them. Jacob and I went through two tubs of things from under the bed they never use anymore, and Caleb worked on fitting as much of their Nerf stuff into them as he could. When we finished for the day, it looked like a disaster zone.

Wednesday was a bust since Jacob had a friend over. It didn’t matter what they did in the room; everything was already out of place. Yesterday we started working on cleaning out the closet before we left for a busy day or more than I anticipated. (Read my previous post…)

We finished the closet today, including going through their clothes and shuffling around what didn’t fit. Jacob worked on pulling out everything from under the bunk beds, putting those things where they belonged (trash, dirty clothes basket, LEGO tub, etc.), and pushing the K’Nex, LEGO, and Nerf tubs back under them. Caleb and I worked on putting together the various Hot Wheel tracks they never play with. I made sure each set had all its parts, then put them together in bags for the fall community garage sale.

Whew! I think I’m done for today. We’ll get back to it tomorrow…

I Was THAT Person

Yesterday was a day of errands. And drama.

Caleb had a high school thing a church, watching a movie and discussing the theological implications of it. While he did that, Jacob and I ran a few errands, had lunch, then went to the library.

As I was leaving from a stoplight, I heard this horrible, loud noise outside. I thought it was the truck beside me, but as it passed me, I realized the noise was coming from my car. I told Jacob, “Oh, no, I think I have a flat!” Thankfully I was in the right lane and there was QT on the next corner. I pulled in and found an out-of-the-way place to park.

I got out, walked around to the passenger side, and looked at both tires. The front one was flat. Jacob got out to look and said, “Wow! It looks like it’s melted!” I contacted Billy and he left work to meet me. I texted Caleb and one of the youth leaders so they would know what was going on and so we could figure out what to do with Caleb until one of us could get there to pick him up. Then Jacob and hung out inside QT for about 20 minutes…

While Billy was working to change the flat, I commented that the rear tire looked low. It was. Then we found out the spare was flat. The air pump was on the other side of the parking lot, so Billy drove my car over there to air them up so I could go to our local (as in three cities away) NTB to see about getting my tires checked and fixed.

It was then that I became THAT person. You know the one. They drive about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit on the highway. As we were driving along and Jacob was watching everyone passing us rather speedily, he commented, “I feel kind of special.”

“Good special or bad special?” I asked. I was feeling pretty bad special myself. Especially since there was a semi bearing down on me. I was trying to focus on the road and find my hazard lights at the same time. Once I found them, I felt better about being pokey – but not much. At least people had some warning I was driving slower than normal and could get around me without driving up my tailpipe…

“Kind of both,” Jacob answered. “We’re going really slow, but we get the whole lane to ourselves.” Perspective. :)

About 25 minutes a later, we had arrived. We walked in and told the man at the counter what the problem was. Billy and Caleb got there while he was outside looking over things. The man walked back in and said, “I can’t fix either of your tires. In fact I couldn’t fix three of the four. The tread is too worn.”

Two hours later, I had a set of new tires on a car with nearly 200,000 miles on it. And since it was late in the day and the guys working on my car were in too big a hurry to leave to check the alignment like the work order said, I get 1/2 off the alignment if it’s needed, whenever I take my car back in for it. And the tires we bought come with discounted car care services, so I get 30% off oil changes. I’m due for one, so I think I’ll get that and the alignment done in the next week or so.

Thankfully all this didn’t happen last week when we had the boys’ out-of-state friends over for a few days!

At least some good came out of the situation. And now that I have new tires, I don’t have to worry about being THAT person again for a while. I hope.

A Solution?

Whenever Jacob takes his socks off, he leaves them inside out. (Same goes for his shirts and shorts, but he’s doing some of his own laundry now, so he gets to deal with that…) Whenever I wash, dry, and fold a load of whites, there are his socks, inside out, waiting for me to do all the work. And I’ve done it. Every single time. Until today.

Today I left his socks inside out when I rolled them together. He can now turn them right side out himself when he gets ready to put them on. And I’ll keep doing that until he decides to start turning them right side out when takes them off and throws them in the laundry basket.

Then I had another thought: he may just wear them inside out if he’s too lazy to right them. Oh, well. If he does, they’ll be turned the right way every other wash. :)

Well, another 96 cents.

I went to Walmart. Again. As much as I don’t enjoy going there, I seem to be going more frequently lately. At least the upside is getting to use their Savings Catcher feature.

I didn’t think I’d get anything when I went. I noticed their pineapples were already matched to Kroger’s 99-cent deal. Their bags of Lay’s chips were marked at $2.50 each, but the cashier was aware of Kroger’s $2.00/bag sale and she price-matched at the register without my prompting. Still, I decided to enter my receipt when I got home. A few days later I had an email that my account was being credited with 96 cents. Now I’m up to $3.26!

Yesterday I had an email notifying me that there are new updates to the Savings Catcher program. Here are the details, straight from the notice (emphasis mine):

• Product comparisons now include produce.
• Product comparisons now also include select general merchandise items. The number of general merchandise items compared will continue to expand over the coming months.
• Now supported in the Walmart app for both iPhone and Android. Just click on the Savings Catcher button from the home screen to submit receipts or see your results.
• Now available nationwide. Tell your friends or family members to try it out.

Okay, family and friends, you can try this now! But I’m not really sure what “general merchandise” means…

I just downloaded the app to my phone and I have a new receipt from earlier today (yes, today…) that I’m getting ready to try out. Here goes…

All you do is register (or sign in), then scan the QR code (not the bar code) at the bottom of the receipt. Now I wait 2 or 3 days while they compare prices to the stores in that area, then they’ll let me know if I get a credit or not.

Oh, and the 96-cent credit wasn’t from the pineapple/Lay’s receipt. That one is still being compared. I got 96 cents back because Kroger’s price on Bounce sheets was lower. Cool!

If I have to suffer through Walmart, at least I get to have this little bit of fun. :)

Savings Catcher

I don’t know if Walmart’s “Savings Catcher” ads are airing nationally since it’s only being tested in large markets right now, but they’re on all the time here.

They call it an app, so I thought it was something I could download onto my phone. I seem to recall seeing a woman in the commercial scan her receipt with her phone… Then again, maybe not. I usually tune commercials out after seeing them a time or two. After searching through the App Store and finding nothing, I went online to look.

You have to sign up for an account on Walmart’s website, then input your receipt number and date of purchase. Within 72 hours, Walmart will check their prices against all other competitors’ prices within a certain radius and email you with a response. If other prices are lower, Walmart will refund you the extra amount they charged. This amount will then be put onto a Walmart egift card that you can use at a later date.

I set up an account, entered my receipt info, and ended up getting a $2.30 credit toward my account! What a nice reward for my curiosity!

There are certain restrictions. Store brand items don’t count. Butcher shop items don’t either. Some produce doesn’t count if it’s not a brand name (say, Dole products). I also think they don’t honor gimmicks like Brookshire’s 1-cent sales. Still, it’s a good deal.

I know of someone locally who compares the sale ads each week and prepares a list, available for a fee, so that shoppers can go to Walmart and get the best deals. I used her free trial service but opted not to subscribe since it’s something I can do myself. I did it for a little while, using a 99-cent app that pulls together all the sale ads in my area (or whatever area I choose). It turned out to be more time-consuming than it’s worth. Now I don’t have to pay for her service or make a list myself. I can just let Walmart do all the work for me for free.

Or I can continue shopping at ALDI, where the prices are lower anyway. And where I can get all my shopping done in 45 minutes or less – on a big trip. Of course, ALDI doesn’t carry certain items or brands I prefer or am loyal to, so I’ll continue to buy those things at Walmart. I’ll just be sure to enter my receipts and get my cash back on the good deals.

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