Friday, January 11, 2008


Frugal Friday

How to save money on food.

1) Pick up a nasty virus that makes you sick.
2) Make sure the virus stays with you an entire week.

I have saved a lot of money on food this week! I have consumed:

Ramen Noodles
chicken noodle soup
Kraft Mac and Cheese -- only when I was so hungry I felt I'd eat the house and figured it was pretty bland -- it worked
soda crackers
three 2-liter bottles of Sierra Mist.

Sierra Mist at our store is 99 cents a bottle, while Sprite and 7-Up are $1.39.

Yup, that's all I've consumed this week.

When I ventured out to the grocery store to pick up more soup, and found the Ramen Noodles on sale and got those too, I asked the store clerk what was going around. She said a nasty virus was going around that was coming out both ends, and that it was lasting a week or more. OR MORE??? Oh shiitake mushrooms.

It's Friday, this bug hit me last Sunday, and I'm still very queasy, not up to par by any means. Of course being a mom, I have to function. Surprisingly, school got done every day this week. Well, not really this morning. This morning after we did all the puppy chores, I collapsed into my bed. I slept until 11:30, clocking about 2 1/2 hours of sleep. That felt so good. Thomas was snuggled up reading a Harry Potter book, taking care of the puppies when need be.

Bob is on his way home today. It was an awful time for him to be out of town. I have been dreaming of Saturday, when Bob will get up and do the puppy chores with Thomas and I can S L E E P in.

Now in case anyone was worried about Thomas getting decent food, I will say again how proud I am of him. He cooked for himself every night. Chicken wings twice (the $5 a bag kind from Wal-mart that aren't precooked, not the $10 a bag that most stores sell), Tuna Helper which he loves, eggs, and I forget what else. He also made a couple batches of muffins, which he loves to do. I'm so glad we've been teaching him his way around a kitchen.

This afternoon we're going to work on math, science and geography and call it a day. We'll then watch the clock waiting for Bob's arrival home.

Sorry, this wasn't really a Frugal Friday post. I just didn't have it in me today to post about snowball payments on debt. I'll do that next week. That takes too much energy on a good day.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The last few days...

Warning: This post is gross and long and sick.

Sunday was the day to pick up our new puppy. We loaded everything up in the car, Apollo, all the dog stuff, and headed out for the airport a couple hours away. It was a beautiful day, unseasonably warm for Minnesota. About a 30 miles outside of Rochester, our destination, the fog hit. It was very thick.

I called Bob, who at the time was in South Carolina on work, and asked him to check flight status for me. Sure enough, Tesla's flight had been cancelled. So we arrived at the airport, stood in line with many angry passengers, waiting our turn to find out what the status of our puppy was. They were going to try to put him on the next flight.

We went outside, played with Apollo for awhile. It was nearing the time for the next flight to depart, so we decided to go in and check. This time there were no angry passengers, but a very chatty and helpful man at the counter. He was checking for me, and I did hear that the flight had been delayed. He said many other things, but I didn't hear a word. As I stood there, something in my gut started churning and gurgling and I felt as if I were going to double over at any second and pass out right then and there. Or worse.

I said thank you, parked Thomas in a chair right next to the rest rooms, and, um, how do I say this without being gross? Had the runs. Felt a little better, decided to go out and play with Apollo in the parking lot. That lasted, um, an entire two minutes before I was running back into the airport.

At this point I knew. It was 4 in the afternoon, and I would not be driving home that day. I was too weak to go back to the counter, so I called the 1-800 number to check Tesla's status. The plane had not yet taken off. We did. I called Bob, told him to get on the Internet and find us a motel room pronto that would accept dogs. We hopped in the car and headed toward town. The Rochester airport is about 10 miles south of the town. He called back immediately and said there is a Super 8. They are known for being pet-friendly. And cheap. Drove right to it, checked in, and decided to unload what little we had brought for our day trip. I forgot the potty box!

The breeder trains her puppies to use a potty box. It's basically paper training in a box. Shredded newspaper in a Rubbermaid container that they can climb into. How on earth could I have forgotten the potty box? This meant that I would have to *go to a store* when I did not feel like going to a store. So we spent about a half hour in the motel room and then headed out. Found a Shopko, ran in. I told Thomas to find a potty box while I looked for Imodium. I was so weak that I handed the clerk the Imodium and sat at the bench right next to the check-out lane. Thomas found a potty box, forgot the lid but I didn't care, and we paid. I only had like $15 cash with me so I had to go in and use the plastic.

Ran through Wendy's so Thomas could eat. The smell made me sick. I got a Sprite. Or Sierra Mist. Or whatever it was. It tasted so good. Made it to the airport. Two minutes later, the plane landed. The lady at the ticket counter brought our beautiful Tesla to us. He is gorgeous, snuggly, fluffy and smart -- everything a puppy should be. We cut the plastic ties off the crate inside the airport, and I carried 20-pounds of puppy and crate to the car.

At this point I was doubling over in pain yet again. Thomas took over. He got the collar on Tesla, took him potty, and introduced Apollo and Tesla. My head was spinning. I didn't snap a single photo. It was dark anyway, but I couldn't even try. My only thought was to stop at a Mini-Mart on the way to the motel, grab a 2-liter bottle of Sprite, a snack for Thomas, and a big, thick newspaper so we could make strips for the potty box.

So that's what we did. Hopped in the car. Took every ounce of energy for me to drive. Got to the Mini-Mart, Thomas stayed in the car with the pups and I ran in the store. The clerk was very nice or very bored and when I walked in, she asked what I needed. I told her and she set out getting it. Butterfinger for Thomas, newspaper and 2-liter of Sprite. At this time the smell of the hot dogs cooking hit me like a ton of bricks. I screamed, "Where's your bathroom," she pointed, and I ran.

How do I say this without being gross? I puked my guts out. And what's worse? I peed my pants every time I puked. I *hate* being old, or having had a baby, or whatever it was that made me not able to control my bladder while I was heaving. I cleaned up, and approached the counter, thankful that my coat was very long and hopefully covered myself. She gave me a look. I said, "Oh my God, I'm NOT drunk, I'm sick." I was afraid she'd call me in as a drunk driver!

Got my stuff, was actually feeling a tad better, opened the trunk and took out a towel that I had remembered to pack, sat on that and drove a few blocks to the motel. Carried in two crates full of dogs.

I had to run around that motel room wearing two towels on my lower half in front of my son and wash my clothes out with shampoo. Thomas suggested that from now on, we carry a change of clothes in the car. Brilliant idea, Thomas. When I felt able, I would use the in-room blow dryer drying my clothes.

I was sick all night long. Poor Thomas was scared to death.

I did not feel comfortable sending a 12-year-old child outside to potty puppies by himself at a motel at night. So, the puppies used the potty box. Thankfully they used it. And speaking of puppies, that is a complete blur to me. I only snapped three photos.

I am so completely proud of my son. He stepped up to the plate, took control, and took excellent care of his pups. He fed them, watered them, and played with them. He snuggled them, crated them, and met their needs. He put them to bed in their crates at a decent time. He snuggled in and watched the Discovery Channel, asking me every 15 minutes if I was all right. I don't know what I would have done without him.

It was very scary for me. If something would have happened, what would we have done? We didn't know anyone there. Bob was in South Carolina. I was so sick I couldn't even drive to get myself clean clothes. I was up every hour during the night.

It was also probably one of the most embarrassing times of my life. Peeing my pants? Oh my gosh.

The next morning Thomas went and got breakfast, came back to the room and ate. He fed his puppies, and took them outside to potty and walk. It took me from 8 in the morning, when I started to pack up, until 11:30 before I was able to get out of the room. Bob wasn't too keen on us staying another day in the motel. Plus, I would have had to get clothes, more dog food, and food for Thomas.

I made it home fine. In fact, driving in the car felt good because I made Thomas use the in-case-of-emergency blanket we keep in the car to cover himself with, and I cracked my window. The cool air felt so good.

We arrived home, unloaded everything, introduced the puppies, called the breeder to let her know we made it home, called Bob to let him know, cleaned out the crate -- it was full of newspaper for the flight, cleaned out the potty box, fed the puppies, etc. I was then able to shower, put on my nightgown, fill kongs full of cream cheese, crate the puppies and sleep for an hour.

When I woke up, I finally felt good enough to actually sit on the floor and play with the puppies. The new puppy is a snuggler. Of course he bonded himself to Thomas because Thomas took such good care of him, even though he is my dog. I then put him in the ex-pen and played with Apollo. Thomas was still doing the majority of the work, taking the puppies potty, etc. Thomas cooked himself dinner, I had Sprite and soda crackers, and we were about to call it a day.

Thomas took the puppies potty, one at a time. Tesla was crated, and when he brought Apollo in, he hollered for me to come quick. Apollo had stepped in poop outside and tracked it all over my kitchen and hallway.

Oh my gosh. I had to scrub crap off floors when I wanted nothing more than to collapse into bed. So, I picked up Apollo, cleaned his paws off with a million paper towels, and then decided to run a bath for him. I put two inches of water in the tub, put him in it -- thank goodness he likes the tub -- and had Thomas sit and play with him. Tesla was crated, so I went to work on the floors. I cleaned up the tracks with paper towels, then mopped the floors -- twice.

Talk about a crappy ending to a crappy two days!

We went to bed, Tesla, bless his heart, slept through the night. We have an excellent breeder who crate trains the puppies early, so he was used to being in a crate overnight. He is 10 weeks old, too, so he's better able to hold his bladder than a younger pup. He woke me at 6:30 the next morning.

Still feeling weak, I got up, got dressed, and took care of the puppies. I was going to let Thomas sleep a little, but he woke and helped. Amazingly, we had all our puppy chores done early and were able to start school at 8.

The house was clean, the bills paid, school was going well, so I was able to start training the new puppy. Then the old puppy. I've been on the go ever since.

I'm exhausted. Thomas has already done his math, science, geography and art this morning. He's reading now, the puppies are in their ex-pens, and here I sit trying to catch my breath on the Internet. It feels nice to not be on the go.

And there you have it. My crappy few days in gory detail. Maybe today I'll actually take some more photos of the puppies! Although, we keep them separated 90% of the time so they bond to us not each other, so they'll probably be individual photos.

I think I shall take a nap this afternoon.