Monday, November 17, 2008

Off weekend

I had kind of an off weekend. It was just kind of depressing.

To start with, I got home kind of late on Friday. We were planning on going grocery shopping, so getting home later than usual just made shopping take that much longer. And Alann had to stay late too, so we didn't end up leaving the house until after 7, I think it was closer to 7:30. So we went to Wal-mart. I hate shopping at Wal-Mart, but we were also shopping for our trip to AZ which means snack foods, which means Wal-mart because it is cheaper for those things. The shopping itself went pretty well. Then we got in line for check-out. First of all, the store we were at is not either of the stores that I normally hit. It was a different one because it was on the way to another store we were going to that was also different from the usual. This particular Wal-mart has one bank of self-checks, instead of one on each side of the store, and they were all marked 20 items or less. We did not have 20 items or less, so we had to pick one of the other 3 open registers. I picked one that had one person paying and one more lady in line. "Sweet," I think, "we will be out of here in no time." WRONG!

The lady had three separate WIC checks, which if you have never worked in a grocery store, means three separate orders, and then her regular order (which had all of the junk food in it). The problem with WIC checks is that everything has to match exactly, and this lady was an idiot. She was trying to buy stuff that wasn't on her check. Then the checker was not the brightest crayon in the box. She was checking in slow motion practically. Everything she held up to her face, checked the WIC check, then scanned it, then bagged it. It was a nightmare. I think 3 different people got in line behind me and then left. Of course by the time I decide I want to leave too, my stuff is already on the belt, which means putting it back in the cart, standing in another line, putting it back on the belt, etc. So I wait. And the cashier screws up an order. Then she has to undo the entire order, then calls her manager over, who can't figure out what the idiot cashier did wrong. Finally, the manager says "ok, you (customer) are fine, just go. You (cashier) leave this receipt and WIC check here, DONT TOUCH IT and finish out your line." By this time, I am seriously frustrated. We have stood in line for 20 minutes. Another couple joined us for the last 7 or so minutes. They were funny. They reminded me of Adam and Catherine. I miss them. So we get to the cashier and I have my reusable shopping bags. I tell the cashier- just put everything in this bag. I will get a new one when you need it. Here she goes in slow-mo again. As she is ringing us up as slowly as humanly possible, she starts yelling at her manager that she was supposed to leave 20 minutes ago. Ok, so it's the end of your shift and you are tired, but don't be a sucky cashier. You are only punishing yourself by making your line long and keeping us all waiting, which doesn’t make us happy or pleasant to deal with. Wal-mart should have a policy that if you wait longer than 5 minutes in line, you get your order for free. Of course then they would go bankrupt, because they never have enough cashiers and I always wait at least 5 minutes. Which is why I hate Wal-mart.

After this, we went to a Smith's that is different than our regular one. We went there because Alann likes to make granola when we drive places. We used to go to Hy-Vee. Oh how I miss you Hy-Vee. Cheap and with an awesome bulk section. So we went to this Smith's because I had been there before and knew they had a bulk section. There is another Smith's that is roughly the same distance from our house as this one, but they have a different cost structure than ours because they are in a nicer neighborhood. This one has the same ad base. We get there, and it's very quiet, nice after the craziness that is Wal-mart in all its glory. The bulk section, which I only glanced at enough to notice it was there the first time, is laughable. They have some granola, and a few dried fruits, but not what Alann wants at all. We can't find any Mother's frosted cookies (which I heard are being discontinued anyway). I am getting more and more frustrated as we shop. Then we go to checkout. Why is this so difficult? They have no real checkers open. Just self-check. Even though there are at least 4 people standing at the little counter next to the self-check. And the bulk bin items don't ring up properly. And the red-band (or red banned according to the sign) bananas I picked up are total mush on the bottom. Beyond banana bread mush. Ugh. I didn't buy them. Finally, we trudge home. That's how I felt anyway. I went straight to bed, because I had to get up early on Saturday.

I got up to take my car to get the snow tires put on before an 8:30 meeting. Totally sucky for a Saturday, but it needed to be done. And I received more good news about my car- two of the four snow tires are in danger of dying a horrible death. One is cracked in the sidewall but still holding air. The other is cupped. I told him to put them on and make sure the spare is good. I don't know what scares me more- the possibility of a blow-out or driving without them in the snow. It's only $113 per tire to replace them. Yay. After being late to my meeting and sitting through that, I went home in quite a funk. I feel like I keep trying and trying to get ahead, to get some sort of financial security in our lives before Claire joins us, and something keeps happening to push us further and further behind. Alann's truck needs brakes, but which ones and how many are still unknown because he hasn't taken it in for a check yet. My car's clutch and snow tires need to be replaced, but when is anyone's guess. So we talked a lot about finances and have come up with a semblance of a plan.

We went to see Noises Off at the University theater in the afternoon. It was fun. I haven't seen it before, but being a theater person, it was HILARIOUS! Some of the set design bothered me a little. Things like a linen closet that was VERY obviously fake. In the second act you see the back of the set, so the closet makes more sense at that point, but if Stephens had done the show, we would have found a way to make the closet look like a closet and still function in the second act like it needed to. We were planning to go to the Melting Pot, but I forgot to make the reservation, so I called during intermission. The hostess told me the only available reservation was at 10, or we could just come in. She said that at 5, there weren't usually people there. So we go downtown, finally find a place to park, and go to the Melting Pot. She tells me it will be an hour and a half. There is no one waiting. She says "we have 24 people coming in with reservations in the next 15 minutes." Um, ok. I see empty tables through the windows. You can't find one table for us? No. So we leave. Very unhappy. Alann decides Texas Roadhouse sounds just as good. We try to call and get on their call-in list for a table. The line is busy. For 10 minutes. Finally, we decide to try Macaroni Grill. We ended up going there and having a lovely evening and meal. The food was prompt (and hairless this time), the service was excellent. He even sent us home with an extra loaf of bread. And we got home at like 6pm (I love Saturday matinees). I made granola in the evening, which went well. It was fun too.

Sunday was just not my day for cooking. I spent most of the day in the kitchen, but feel like I have very little to show for it, other than dirty dishes. I made pumpernickel- flat as a brick and cracked like a canyon. I don't know what went wrong there. I roasted all my pumpkins (I had three, one I grew, two I bought) for pumpkin puree. That turned out fine. I tried to roast the pumpkin seeds- utter disaster. I burnt them. They were awful. I was so disappointed, because I was really looking forward to them being awesome. Oh well. I still have the ones Shannon did from our Halloween carving night. Plus it makes me sad that I wasted the seeds from my home grown pumpkin. (I'm pregnant, give me a break.) For breakfast, the bacon turned out funny, the biscuits didn't really rise and were still doughy. The eggs turned out ok. I made my regular whole wheat bread. That luckily turned out fine. For dinner, we had some random beef steak I found in the freezer, mashed potatoes, Crockpot stuffing, and homemade gravy. I over salted the steak, which in turn made the gravy taste like a salt lick (and I was all proud of myself for making pan gravy from the steak drippings). The mashed potatoes and stuffing were ok, but I got a call that I had to leave at 6 instead of 630, so the stuffing wasn't as crispy as I usually like and I had to throw it in the oven half-way through. So the bread, stuffing, and pumpkin seeds were all in the oven together, and when the bread was done and the pumpkin seeds totally toast, I called it quits. I gave up for the night.

Then I had to go to a Young Women in Excellence night for the Samoan ward in our stake. That was actually really cool. I was shocked that they started on time, so I was late. (I'm used to our ward where I show up at three minutes until something starts, and still have half an hour to wait.) I sat in the back, where there was an empty seat. Halfway through, they recognized me and asked me to join the leaders at the front. Embarrassing!! So then at the end of the meeting, they asked me to say a few words. Geez. I wasn't prepared to participate! I just wanted to sit in the back. =( So I bore my testimony and just rambled for a few minutes. But then we had refreshments! Yay for refreshments! We had Samoan cocoa (delish!), coconut jam on bread (ugh), coconut biscuits (yum), scones (eh), and banana bread (standard). I talked to their bishop and some of their young women, looked at their projects, and had a very good time. The second counselor was teasing me about how I shouldn't be drinking the cocoa because it will keep my baby up all night, but man, it was good stuff. It is made directly from the cocoa beans, instead of being processed into powder and then made into a drink. It was bitter at first, but then you get used to it and it's sooooooo good. Of course, I love dark chocolate, so this was perfect. Then this morning, I found this bit of wisdom "It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson's wife was responsible for introducing cocoa to Samoa. It has now become a commonly cultivated crop and is very widely drunk. It is prepared as a paste that is left to dry and solidify in small blocks. When being made up into a drink bits of cocoa are hacked of the blocks and coarsely ground up, added to water and boiled in a pan. It is served much stronger than drinking chocolate, normally without milk and there is a lot of sediment in the glass or cup. Expect to find it hard to go to sleep after drinking Koko Samoa." And I didn't go to bed until way past my bedtime last night. They sent me home with some leftovers too. Of course I took the coconut jam bread, so that Alann could taste it. And of course, I didn't tell him what I thought of it first. It is basically a sugar syrup with coconut milk in it (according to one of the Samoan women), but it tastes a lot like a very very burnt marshmallow. It's an acquired taste I am told.

And to top off this wonderful weekend, I had a dream last night that Alann got knifed in a parking lot and woke up with my heart racing and a Braxton Hicks contraction in full swing (that’s a harmless, doesn’t mean anything, “practice” contraction of the uterus. Doesn’t hurt, but is slightly uncomfortable,especially when you are panicking and have to pee.)

So I know this is already super long, but this is the best part. Despite all of this frustration and irritation and crying over finances this weekend, I was spiritually lifted a few times, and reminded and taught of things I didn't know before. During the Saturday morning meeting, the Stake President mentioned the 5 loaves and 2 small fishes that Jesus fed the multitude with. I've heard this story before, and heard modern day comparisons of having enough sacrament bread to go around when it really doesn’t look like it should. But this Saturday, I was taught about a new meaning, or one I hadn’t understood or ever even imagined existed. This story applies directly to me. The loaves and fishes can mean anything, but specifically my finances. My finances aren’t much. But if I trust in the Lord and bring my 5 loaves and 2 small fishes to him, He will bless me and return 12 baskets full of fragments. I believe this is true. I know this is true, because I don’t know how we would have managed until now if it wasn’t. And I had a few other uplifting moments this weekend as well.

Overall, it was a good weekend spiritually, sucky weekend in the kitchen, and depressing weekend when I think about where all this money will come from, but I survived and haven’t cried about my finances in a few hours. Speaking of, I need to pay my cell phone bill. =)


Teene said...

I am sad for you :( I know how much you love the kitchen so I'm sorry it didn't go well this weekend. The snow tires sound important - have you thought about trying to find some semi-used ones instead of brand new since you don't use them all the time? So excited to see you next week!

Shannon said...

Bummer about your weekend. I hate it when I go through all the effort to cook something and it doesn't turn out. Annoying. Sounds like the other ward's Evening of Excellence was a success. If I spoke Samoan I would totally go to their ward. They are so friendly. :) Anyway, hang in there. I absolutely believe that things will work out if you are doing your best.