Friday, April 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes: In Which Facebook Is Not Evil, But Albertson's Might Be (Vol. 5)

1. Facebook is not evil.

I left Facebook for Lent, since I couldn't seem to use it in moderation. Each evening, after the kids were in bed, and since my husband was still at work, I would check in to see what and how everyone was doing. To some degree, I found myself so engaged by everyone else's exciting lives that I was missing out on my own. So I signed off Facebook for Lent. But as a part-time working mom who feels guilty taking away from the limited time I have with my kids, and since it's hard to find childcare for evenings and weekends, I inadvertently gave up my community when I gave up Facebook. No, I don't want Facebook to be my social life forever. But for this season, it's nice to connect with family and friends when I can't be there in person. And it's good to be back!
2. On Family Rules

We have some unusual family policies. My husband and I both work stressful jobs outside the home, and we still agree: If one person is home with the kids, no matter how crappy the other person's day is, or how crappy their job is, or how crappy their boss is, the person home with the kids had a harder day. Kudos to stay-at-home parents. (The link above goes to more of our family rules.)
Yesterday we only read this book 18 times. Today, let's make it 27!
3. On Albertson's Monopoly Game
I wish I could walk away. But the same gene that makes me categorize my grocery lists by aisle and hyper-organize my coupons, prevents me from willingly leaving a task undone. I might lose, and it might kill me, but I will play this damn Monopoly game until it’s over. (This link goes to more ranting about how Albertson's Monopoly is repressing positive childhood memories and ruining lives.)

Our losing Monopoly games, with the new spreadsheet system I devised on top, and the discarded extra loser playing pieces in a plastic bag to the side.
4. On Shopping at Aldi's

The Aldi's grocery flyer keeps showing up in our mailbox, for months now. I glance over it, write a mental note about their inexpensive bananas, file that mental note in the "Things to Think About When The Kids Are Calm And Happy And You're Not Too Tired To Think" part of my brain, and then forget about it until the next circular arrives. This week I dropped in to check them out, and loved their system! 

I expected the $1.99 gallons of milk to be near expiration -- they were fresh and good for another 16 days. I expected a lot of highly-processed, high-fructose corn syrup products, but they had a great selection of natural foods. The vegetables looked fresh; the fruit, less so, but I still found some greenish-yellow bananas to carry us through the next few days.

I usually shop with coupons, because it saves good money, but as every couponer laments, they don't make coupons for stuff you actually need. Sure I can get Pop-Tarts for a dollar a box after stacking a double-coupon on a $5-off-10-item-purchase promo, but if I'm spending $2.99 on a gallon of milk, and $1.89 on a dozen eggs, I still come out behind. And I just lost three hours at the grocery store with a scrupulous and over-loaded coupon portfolio.
Aldi's has a dozen eggs for 99 cents, a gallon of milk for $1.99, a loaf of bread for 99 cents, and all natural peanut butter for $1.99. We were in and out in 30 minutes, with all our staples. And a pineapple. 

5. More On Aldi's

You know life is exciting when THREE of your seven quick takes are about grocery stores.

Here's some insight into the unusual subculture of Aldi's grocery stores, so you're not caught off guard with two toddlers in a strange store on a rainy morning: 
  • There's a 25-cent deposit on grocery carts. You literally put a quarter into the cart, it releases, and when you return the cart, you get your quarter back. Somehow, I found a quarter in my wallet. I don't know where it came from or why I had it, but it preemptively saved our grocery trip.
  • They don't use plastic bags, and paper bags are 6-cents each. Finally, some motivation to remember my reusable bags!
  • They don't accept credit cards. A little part of me knows that credit card companies are on the axis of evil, but they're so convenient, and I earn 1% cash back! Still, Aldi's prices were significantly lower than the other spectrum of grocery stores I frequent, which is likely due in part to the money they save from not dealing with credit card companies. (So the one dollar per hundred that I get back from the credit card company just doesn't feel so generous compared to the many dollars saved in our grocery budget by shopping with the debit card at Aldi's.)
  • There's a sack-'em-yourself policy. My first job was as a bagger at a grocery store, so I'm a little prideful about my mad sorting and packing skills. Luckily, their carts have two seats to tie down at least two kids, so that helps the self-sacking process!
6. Our New Pope
I don't know what sheep do without a shepherd. I can only imagine it's something like how my dog acts when I'm gone for too long: she's unsettled, can't sleep, paces from room to room, little disturbances make her startle, her world isn't right. That's just how I was acting while waiting for the Conclave to elect our new pope. Welcome, Pope Francis! 

7. A New Job

This month I began a new position at the office where I've worked for four years. It's wonderful!! Without going into too many details (so everyone will think I do something important like protect our national security as a special agent in the CIA), I'm enjoying a more focused workload, supporting many great community initiatives, with a more flexible schedule, and more in my degree field of Communications (whatever that is).

Keep Jen in prayer, as she and baby recover in the hospital, and visit Grace @ Camp Patton for more 7 Quick Takes!

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