What Have I Gotten Myself In To?

A couple of months ago I read a blog about a family that was a member of NCP, National Consumer Panel.  She didn’t really describe what she actually had to do, but instead focused on all of the great things she had gotten from the company for being a member.  A few weeks following that post, she had posted that they had opened up new zip codes, meaning there may be an opportunity to become a member myself and get a scanner.

Not at all thinking about what this might entail, I went ahead and clicked on the link and signed up.  To my disappointment, they didn’t have any available scanners for my area.  Oh well, I thought.

I forgot about it and then two weeks ago I got an email asking me for more information about my purchasing habits and ultimately my address so my scanner could be shipped out to me!

I was excited about this for some reason – again, still not finding out what I really had to do.  Today my scanner arrived via Fed Ex and I got a glimpse at what is surely to be a huge pain in my ass.

My scanner.

In short, I have to scan everything I buy. Everything.  And it’s not just me!  If Ryan gets a Snickers at the vending machine at work, I’m supposed to scan that candy bar UPC code.  And it’s not just scanning the product.  I have to say whether I used a coupon, the price, where I bought it and how much my total order was.  Like I said – a huge pain in my ass.

I reluctantly logged on to my profile once I read through the scanner’s users manual.  I will be awarded points if I scan my purchases and then download the data once a week.  I wanted to find out how many points I needed in to get the flat screen TV that was on the cover of the manual.  As it turns out, I need 317,000.

OK, that’s not too bad.  They started me off with 1,000 points just for signing up so maybe if I do this for a few months, I’ll be able to get the TV and then I’ll just quit.  Now to find how many points I get each week for sending my data.  I found the information in one of the three booklets they sent me.  For the first six months I earn 150 points a week.  The number of points awarded increases the longer you are on the panel – up to 325 per week once you hit six years!

Let’s just pretend that I do this for longer than a week.  In fact, let’s pretend I do it for a full six years.  I will have accumulated 89,780 points just for my data submissions.  Apparently, I can earn additional points by taking surveys and I am awarded extra points on my three, six and one year anniversaries.  Who knows how many, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t 227,200 in gift points because then I could actually get the TV in six years.

I’m going to give this the old college try for a month.  I am sure that I’m not going to be excited about scanning in that pack of gum I grabbed at the convenience store or figuring out how I input the car wash I got after I got my gas.

I think it’s a marketing strategy to tell people that they don’t have any available scanners.  They want all of the suckers to think that these are incredibly sought after and I am unbelievably blessed to be able to receive one.

I’ll be utilizing that return address label that came with my scanner before you know it.


WTF Wednesday

This morning I had to go to CVS to pick up a prescription so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and run there so I could get my workout in too.  Rory wasn’t much in the mood to be in the stroller so I promised him he could pick out a treat when we got to the store if he was good while I ran.  He sat like a good little boy the whole way there.

The minute we got in the store, Rory asked if he was a good boy and could have a treat.  I told him he was and before I could steer him to the non-candy aisle, he was already drooling all over the M&M’s.  It was about 8:30 in the morning, I was not about to let Rory have candy.  I got him to settle on some chocolate donuts instead.  Sure, they probably have more sugar, fat and calories than the M&M’s, but it’s all about perception, people!

Anyway, this reminded me of a time about 4 years ago when Kamryn and I were at the grocery store.  She was somewhere around 18 months old and sitting in the cart as I checked out.  I had thrown a bag of Peanut M&M’s on the conveyor belt and thought I had done it without Kamryn noticing.  It wasn’t until the woman checking me out held them up and asked me if I wanted to put them in my purse.

I shook my head quickly back and forth while shooting a glance in Kamryn’s direction, which is the universal sign of “NO, AND HURRY UP AND PUT THEM IN A DAMN BAG BEFORE MY DAUGHTER SEES IT!”  Seriously, even in writing this out without a picture or video to show you what I did, you can understand, right?  Apparently she had never seen a sitcom.  It’s the same exact display when “Character A” is going on and on about how big of an ass their boss is to “Character B” only to have said boss come up behind “Character A”, thus ensuring “Character B” try in vain to get “Character A” to shut the hell up.  Believe it or not, this is not why the woman is deserving of my award.

Still holding the bag of M&M’s in her hand, she stared at me with a confused look on her face.  Let’s just assume I’m the crazy one here.  I clearly shook my head “No” so beyond any additional meaning I was trying to portray, she should have at least understood that, right?  I guess that was too much to hope for.  Instead, she says “You do want them?” and extends her arm out to give them to me, coming within inches of Kamryn’s head.  Huh?  WHAT?  With M&M’s in her peripheral vision, Kamryn whipped her head around and tried to grab the bag.  I was a little too quick and got to them right before her chubby little hand could grasp the candies causing an ear piercing shriek to emit from her mouth.

Here is where it gets interesting.  The checker kind of jumped back with a shocked look on her face like she was surprised that a toddler would react in such a way.  Kamryn, not surprisingly went from shriek to full blown, hysterical cry and completely out of control.  The checker, despite her previous reaction, sensed no source of urgency at this point and continued to ring up the rest of my groceries at a snail’s pace.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to console my screaming child with soothing, “It’s OK”‘s and “Shhhhhh”‘s.  Eventually, the cashier had all of my groceries rung through and gave me my total.  I avoided eye contact with her because I think my glare would have shot holes through her skull.  As I was running my card through the kiosk, Kamryn continued to cry and it was then that checker became my least favorite person and earned her award.  She leaned in toward Kamryn and crooned, “Oh, it’s OK, honey, your mommy will give you M&M’s when you get home.”

Congratulations, grocery store checker from 4 years ago!

You Better Not Have Screwed Me, Mark Zuckerberg!

No, I was not in on Facebook’s IPO and from the sounds of it, that’s probably a good thing for me.  I don’t have a lot of disposable income…oh wait, I don’t have an income.  So yeah, good thing I didn’t get any of that initial stock.

However, one thing that I did receive was a message on Facebook dated May 18th, but I didn’t receive the notification until today.  Normally, when I get messages, they are from friends who either don’t have my email address or they are just elaborating on some correspondence that we already had on Facebook so not getting an immediate notification isn’t a big deal.

This particular message was to inform me that I had won a prize!  No, it wasn’t a fake prize, but one I had signed up to win and I won!  It was for an Armpocket Armband on Bucketlist Publications.  This is the same blog where I was a finalist in the skydiving competition and while it would have been really awesome to win the skydiving adventure, this armband is more my speed and something that I really need.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, the message was sent on the 18th and according to the website, Lesley from Bucketlist Publications was only giving the winner 24 hours to respond or a new winner would be chosen.  Lesley just had a baby and I can only hope that she is frazzled as I was during those first few months that she didn’t notice the 4 day time lapse in my response.  Or takes pity on a fellow mom and says “Rules were meant to be broken!”

I am on Facebook every single day – multiple times a day and if I have a message, I look at it the minute I see it.  I swear on someone’s grave that I didn’t have that little red notification bubble pop up and I even went back to check on my notifications and there isn’t anything there that said I had a message.  Now I just have to sit and wait and hope that Lesley feels sorry for me for devoting an entire post to possibly missing out on my super awesome Armpocket.

If not, you can rest assured that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to get a sternly written email…or message on Facebook.

Weekly Menu 5/21 – 5/27

The weather is definitely heating up so I’m trying to avoid using the oven too much.  That ends up being one of my biggest obstacles as the summer wears on.  I hate eating a heavy meal when it’s hot outside – it makes me feel gross.

Monday – Carnitas – This is from the left over pork shoulder that I made on Saturday.  The recipe is for carnitas, but it’s good for any kind of pork meal you want.  There isn’t a distinct Mexican flavor to it so it’s really versatile.

Tuesday – Marinated Grilled Shrimp w/ Quinoa Tabbouleh – I don’t believe that you necessarily have to have a themed night.  I’m mixing Thai tasting shrimp with an Arabian (I had to look up where it’s from) salad.

Wednesday – Crab Cakes – I have tried making crab cakes numerous times and they have been hit or miss – mostly miss.  I think this is one of the “hits”.  I normally used the cheap crab meat in the can, but the last time I was at Costco I saw they had packages of lump crab meat for about $12 so I’m going to use that this time.

Thursday – BLT’s – We really like bacon at our house.  I make all of my bacon in the microwave (A little tip I learned from Sara).  I lay two paper towels on a microwave safe plate, place a layer of bacon on top and then cover with another paper towel.  Depending on the thickness of your bacon, microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes.  The plate will be hotter than hell when you take it out, but the bacon is always crispy and not greasy.  I’m convinced I can eat as much bacon as I want when I make it this way because all the fat is sucked up in the paper towels.

Friday – Chicken Cordon Bleu – This is a family favorite and easy to make.  Friday is supposed to be the coolest day of the week and the only day I’ll be using the oven.

Saturday – We have a party to go to.

Sunday – We have another party to go to.

I had another $75 trip to the grocery store today!  I don’t have my lump crab meat yet so tack on another $12, but under $100 for a family of 4 isn’t too shabby!

Hella Lame Post

I’m not in the mood to write anything today.  I ran this morning, we spent a couple of hours at the pool midday, ran to Target this afternoon and now after a belly full of pizza and wine, I’m waiting to check out this solar eclipse in about an hour.  I also didn’t sleep from 1:30am  – 4:00am.

I have seen people do Wordless Wednesday posts and other similar alliteration titles so here is my Silent Sunday.



For Your Amusement

I have been known to do or say things that, when thought of years later, still make me blush and feel anxious.  Most of the time these instances happen because they played out in my mind as really funny and then during my attempt to complete the act of hilariousness some unforeseen event occurs and the result is utter embarrassment.  I guess in a way, though, it does end up being hilarious – for everyone else but me.

I shared this story a couple of weeks ago with some friends and I can’t remember why I told them about it, but I have been thinking about it ever since and I think if I write about it, I might be able to get it out of my mind.

Remember the Sasquatch post?  This incident happened at the same party as the Sasquatch siting.  I had been imbibing quite a bit at the Holiday Party and over the course of the night, I had met up with all of my fellow co-workers to enjoy a cocktail…or two.  Clearly alcohol had no part in the events leading up to me embarrassing myself.

At some point in the evening, I had met up with Larry, one of my co-workers.  His office was right across the hall from mine so we saw each other every day and had gotten to know each other fairly well.  He had shared with me that he had diabetes and had to really watch what he ate to ensure his blood sugar didn’t get too high.  That was his first mistake because from that point forward, Larry couldn’t even look at an M&M without me giving him a look.  I know he cursed the day he ever told me about having diabetes.

Larry was looking sharp in a black pinstriped suit and maroon shirt and tie.  He is also pretty tall and is easy to pick out in a crowd so it wasn’t hard to spot him and his date at the dessert table later on in the evening.  I jumped out of my chair and ran over to the table and without saying a word, grabbed all of the little bite-sized pastries off of Larry’s plate and shoved them in my mouth.

With my mouth completely full of yummy little cakes and cream puffs, I looked up to a face I didn’t recognize and then to a woman who stood with the most shocked and bewildered look on her face that I had ever seen.  I was confused – my eyes darted back to the pinstriped suit.  Yes, it was the same suit, but this was not Larry.  I had my hand to my mouth, trying to hold all the food in while I attempted to profess my most sincerest apology.

The couple was still staring at me as I swallowed the last of Pinstripe Suit #2’s desserts and I quickly repeated how sorry I was and told him that I thought he was someone else. Hearing that as my explanation, I could see that the looks on their faces didn’t really change so I blurted out, “He has diabetes!”

Pinstripe Suit #2 and his date both cracked smiles and I could tell they were starting to feel a little sorry for me and told me, “It’s OK.”  I took that as my cue to get the hell out of there and ran back to my table where I sat in shame.  It was then that I looked out on the dance floor and saw Larry, far away from the dessert table, cuttin’ a rug.  That son-of-a-bitch!

You can bet your ass that Larry found the story unbelievably hilarious and I’m sure he thought he was in the clear and I would never prevent him from eating any sugary delights in the future.  I didn’t stop and I think Larry just accepted that I was crazy.  He even let me use his blood sugar monitor before I went in for my gestational diabetes test when I was pregnant with Kamryn so I had an idea of I was going to pass or not.  (I passed.)

Flashback Friday

I had a conversation with a couple of friends today about how I am no longer worried about what I look like.  It wasn’t until I turned 33 that I finally decided that I would no longer be concerned with what someone else thought when it came to my appearance.

When I say I don’t care what I look like, I’m not throwing in the towel in regards to trying to look nice, but the things I do, I do because I want to.  For example, I highlight my hair.  I think I look better with brighter blonde hair than my normal, dishwater blondish/brown color.  If someone told me they thought my hair looked better natural, I wouldn’t care.  It’s going to stay blonde because I like it.  I also use special face products to minimize wrinkles, but again, that’s for me.  Not for you.  I run to try and keep in shape, but I do it because I kind of enjoy it and I know exercise is good for me.

I have friends that wouldn’t wear shorts in the summer because they were embarrassed of their legs.  It would be 95 degrees with 100% humidity and they chose to wore jeans.  WHAT?!  I have never had slim legs, in fact I have had my legs compared to tree trunks and that was when I weighed 130lbs, but I refuse to be uncomfortable and so my tree trunk legs will be bared for all to see.  I wear a bikini to the beach and that is after 2 kids, both of them c-sections and 2 subsequent abdominal surgeries.  There are scars galore and I don’t care – I like to have a tan stomach in the summer.

Speaking of tan stomachs in the summer, I wore a bikini when I was 8 months pregnant with Kamryn – and then I took a picture.  I showed this picture to my grandma once and she said “Oh God, Amy!  Look at that!”  And then she laughed uncontrollably.  Hee hee – it’s kind of shocking.

So go ahead and take a gander.  Bear in mind that I did not deliver that baby for another full month and 5 days after this picture was taken.  Yep – just one little 7lb, 1oz baby girl.  If you are fearing swimsuit season and concerned that someone might be judging you because you don’t look like the model that wore the magazine in the catalog, just remember some people like to wear a bikini with a freakishly large belly hanging out.

33 weeks pregnant with Kamryn in September 2006.