Dear summer: bite me.

Ever since I was little, I wasn't a fan of summer. Sure, summer means vacations, three months of no school work, the warmest months of the year...but for me, it also usually meant boredom. And I hate being bored - it makes me restless and cranky.

That's why, when I got to college, I either worked or went to summer school...because I didn't want to sit at home bored for three months and lose brain power. I haven't had a full summer off since the summer after my senior year of high school, so transitioning from the school year to the summer is pretty much non-existent for me...it's all just working days. Which, of course, I don't mind - it's all part of being a grown up.

But this summer...holy moly this summer. I am not a fan, at all - and I blame the blasted heat. I'm not sure if this will go down as the hottest summer on record, but it's damn sure gonna come close. Example:

This was the temp when I got back to Lawton on June 17. And the forecasted highs of 99, 92 and 93? All those days, it went above 100. Lawton hasn't seen a temp below 75 since like, June 23. It's just about the same story in Stillwater - last week, we hit 113 for a high [before you factored in the heat index]. WTF mate. I mean, we are in Oklahoma...we expect for it to get hot during June, July and August. But this year has absolutely taken the cake, and not in a good way. We had this crazy storm blow through last night that knocked out power for 7+ hours, and Stillwater got some rain over the weekend, but that's the first real taste of rain we've had in weeks.

With it being this hot, outdoor activity is very, very limited. JJ's daycare quit letting them go outside back in June, when the temperatures really started to stay above 100 consistently. The last time he and I played outside after work was the day before I took the above pictures, June 16 - I think the temps had dropped back into the '90s after I got off work, so I let him play at the park for 20 minutes before it got too hot.

Isn't he adorable? Anyway, I know there are all these weather reasons why it's so hot and dry, but the bottom line is, it's TOO hot and dry this summer. Which means we'll probably have an unusually warm and dry winter, which will provide little relief for this blasted drought we're in. This year, more than ever, I'm ready for fall. Even if fall means the leaves will all be gone by the beginning of October and we have to wait until Halloween for the temperatures to drop below 90 degrees, that's fine. I'll take that right now compared to this 110+ degree crap we've been putting up with for weeks on end. I just want to be able to go for a run outside. Or take JJ out at 1pm on a Saturday without fear of sweating off 10 pounds while we wait for the car to cool down [or burn away on my leather seats].

So, dear summer, I will be more than happy to say Bye, Bye, Bye to this summer and hellooooo to fall. And these bad boys that will be taking the field starting September 3.


So long, gall bladder.

I've had a pretty clean bill of health my entire life. I've only been to the ER three times [once because I was in a car accident and had this huge bump on my head; the other two times were due to overnight issues when a doctor wasn't readily available], had asthma that I grew out of, and I've had one surgery [left knee, unless you count getting all four wisdom teeth pulled...then i've had two]. Even my pregnancy was pretty uneventful, except for the high blood pressure at the end that kept me pregnant for only 39w5d instead of 40+ weeks. I've been very fortunate, and I still am.

But lately, I've been having issues with my lovely, lovely tummy. It started during Memorial Day weekend, when I got sick after eating our yearly family BBQ. When that same sickness occurred three times in five weeks - and none of the people that were eating the same foods were getting sick - I knew something was up. It took some coaxing from my parents [i hate going to the doctor], but I finally saw my family physician. Besides my pregnancy check-ups, this was the first time I'd gone to the doctor since sophomore year of college - and that was five years ago. Don't give me that look - I already established I hate going to the doctor. :)

Anyway, he said it sounded like my gall bladder was going bad, so a series of tests were done. The ultrasound came up negative, but the HIDA scan - which sucked big monkey toes towards the end - came back abnormal. So, I get to see a general surgeon tomorrow to schedule a time to get it removed. At this point, I'm just ready for it to be taken out. The upside to this whole thing is that it's forced me to eat healthier because I'm afraid that foods with too much fat will make me sick - so I've cut down on the fatty foods and even on sugar and soda. I've had at least 28 oz. of water every day the past few days [without adding any artificial flavoring, which is a surprise for me], and I've been watching my portions as well. But, the area where my gall bladder is hurts, and I've started getting tummy aches after every meal. I'm hoping removing the thing will help alleviate all my issues and get me back to feeling normal again.

On another upside, this will hopefully all be resolved before the big Vegas trip in two weeks. Hopefully, I can eat, drink and be merry while I'm out there without having to worry about getting sick afterwards. From what I understand, this surgery can be done with minimal cutting and sewing, which is nice, and I won't have any dietary restriction once the procedure is done. I still plan on watching what I eat though - I've started to feel much better after cutting out the crap and going with the good.

Adios gall bladder. It's been a good 25 years, but I think it's time to we part.


When did I become THAT person?

You know, the one who loves coupons? Now, disclaimer: I am NOT an extreme couponer, by any means. I don't have some $5,000 stockpile that needs to be insured stashed in the extra spaces of my apartment. If I see a deal, I go for it, but ONLY if I need it. Example:

Yesterday, I went to Walgreens. I love that store - I get a ton of my deals from there. Yesterday, they had toilet paper on sale...and, I'm about out, so I went for it:

Kleenex Cottonelle 12-pack = $5; buy 2, get $3.50 back in RR [Register Rewards]
Use $1/1 from August Walgreens coupon book [some say their store rang it twice; mine only did once]
Use 2 $.75/1 12-pack coupon

So, to break it down...
2 12-packs x $5 = $10
minus $1/1 from Wags book
minus 2 $.75/1 coupon
Pay $7.50 OOP; get $3.50 in RR = like paying $4 OOP for 24 rolls of toilet paper [less than $.17/roll]

Come on now - $4 for 24 rolls of toilet paper? Where will you find a deal like that? I'm lucky if I can find an 8-pack of toilet paper for less than $6 at most places. So, I'm happy, my wallet's happy, and I'll be swimming in toilet paper for probably the rest of the year.

And don't even get me started on my favorite shampoo and conditioner, Pantene:

Normally $4.99 each, on sale 2/$7
Used $3/2 coupon that expired yesterday
Get $2 RR
Pay $4 OOP, get $2 in RR = like paying $2 out of pocket for two bottles of Pantene [$1 each!]

I tend to do this deal every 3-4 months, so I think I'm stocked up on Pantene for the rest of the year, too. Same for razors, toothbrushes, paper towels, dish soap, deodorant, Cascade Complete gel packs, yogurt...

OK. So maybe I have a liiiiiiiiiiittle bit of a stockpile going. But trust me, I will use all of this stuff or donate it. I don't go crazy and buy 50 things of floss so I can use the overage on things I need that aren't cheap after coupons [like milk - have you seen the price of a gallon of milk?! more than $4 at walmart! - eggs, and meat], but using coupons and taking advantages of deals like this has saved me money on my grocery bill. I'm a much more careful shopper now...which means I can spend an hour or two in Walmart or the Commissary, but I come out saving at least 30% using coupons every single time. And that's just with coupons - doesn't include the savings I get from the sales that I get on the items I buy. At Wags, I can usually walk out saving 60-70 percent after sales, coupons and RR.

I, unfortunately, do not live in a town where doubling coupons is beneficial. Two grocery stores will double, but it's still cheaper for me to shop at Walmart or Wags and take advantages of deals and overage there. I typically buy a lot of my stuff there, but my meat and milk come from the Commissary since they're way cheaper [especially during sales].

Gah. I'm such a nerd.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I wasn't like this. I'd walk into Walmart, buy what I wanted and just move on. But now that I'm realizing the value of coupons [and follow a lot of FB and Twitter pages that naturally break this stuff down for me], it's stupid NOT to take advantage. I'm pretty sure the husband thinks I'm insane, but every time I tell him how much I save, he's impressed. I wish I could do his shopping for him...he and I aren't on the same page with coupons, and he just gets whatever, no matter the cost...

But I digress. Couponing is easy if you use the resources that are out there and take advantage of sales. I'm sure once I move to a bigger town that has more stores than just Wags and Walmart [i dream of the day i'm near a cvs, rite aid, target and kroger], my couponing will become a little more intense; but for now, I think I'm doing pretty good. Make fun of me all you want, but I'll say it again: $4 for 24 rolls of toilet paper. You can't beat that.