Why are so many people dealing with Colon Cancer now? Why would this happen when my Father was diagnosed in 1971 and he was 41 years old and City of Hope turned him down because his cancer was too common.
You’ve probably heard me say that this is when I learned the odds of the lottery. 50%, you either live or die. Three surgeries and the odds never changed. He died.
Knowing this, when I had insurance, I fought to get a colonoscopy every year since my 36th. For a while, it was covered, then it wasn’t and even though we were paying $800.00 a month for insurance the colonoscopy was $1000.00 deductible. One thousand dollars. That is when I realized that I could not afford to find out that I was sick. That was when I realized that if I was diagnosed, we would lose this house and we would lose us. That was when I realized that life would go on without knowing.
In the meantime, I watch Katie Couric lose her husband on national TV and for years I feel her bashing me on the head for not going and getting a colonoscopy, like I don’t know that that’s what I should do? I’ve never felt more aware or more angry. This is when I start cutting every color ribbon because I recognize that we are all aware but we cannot do one fucking thing about it.
I tell my family to never call 911, if I get sick, just let me die and bury me under the Elderberry tree.
November 15th is the next open enrollment, and from what I understand, colonoscopies are required for all of us. So now, after 20 years of freaking out and really resenting all of the awareness campaigns, all I have to say is “Thank You”.
Couponing is an awesome job. It takes a lot of time and sometimes I get burned out and need to take a break, but the truth is, I can feed as many people as I want to for the amount that it would take a couple to go out to dinner and I can do that every day. I’m not bragging, I’m not saying that you should do it, I’m just saying that this is how we live. I fucking love it. We eat well, fresh food almost every day, asparagus is in season, are you eating it every day until you get inured to the smell of your pee? What a lovely thing.
We live in poetry and music, we live in computers in hack mode, we live in love and laughter and tears, we get to laugh and we get to cry whenever we want to because this is a world that we have created in this house. We scream and hurt each others feelings, we apologize, we talk it out.
I have no idea of how everyone else in suburbia is getting by, but this is how we do it.
It is Spring. I’ve stopped watching television and started working until my back is making me feel like a crone. I want to work more. I want to make everyone happy, I want everyone to be happy and well-fed and slightly over-stimulated. I will cry when people leave and I will laugh when people come and I promise to feel everything and stop watching TV.
It’s funny. I logged in to write about menopause and PMS and hormones and make excuses for my excesses, but this is how it went when my fingers touched the keyboard. No excuses, just life.
Feel it hurt you. Feel it when it is love and like and oh, smell everything, touch everything, taste everything, listen and speak what you mean. Cry, if you cry, cry loud. Laugh like a fool. Don’t worry about anything in between. If you don’t feel it, don’t worry about it.
Live like a madfucker. But, yeah, don’t rape anybody. That’s just really bad and not at all what a proper madfucker would do.
Go to Kroger.com and put in your zip code to get the local ad. There is a very good chance that you will find the General Mills promotion on the last page. This is the best grocery deal I’ve seen in a very long time. You’ll notice that there are a number of items that are on sale for $1.00 or $1.25. Betty Crocker cake mixes are 4 for $5.00. If you buy 5 of any of these items, you will get a $5.00 Catalina*. If you buy 40 of these items, you will get 8 $5.00 Catalinas! The Betty Crocker boxed potatoes are 10 for $10.00, you don’t have to buy 10 to get that price, but you can. Since you get $5.00 when you buy 5, these are free. You can buy 5, pay $5.00, get back a $5.00 Catalina and then do it again except use the $5.00 Catalina instead of cash and then you’ll get another $5.00 Catalina! This means that the Catalina is “rolling” and this doesn’t happen all that often. There are a few coupons involved, not too many, and if you have a Saving Star account there is a coupon for the Betty Crocker potatoes and another for the Old El Paso products.
Stouffer's, Refried Beans, Mac & Cheese
Here is what I did yesterday:
10 Betty Crocker boxed potatoes, $1.00 ea.
8 Betty Crocker cake mixes, $1.25 ea.
8 Old El Paso Refried Beans, $1.25 ea.
2 Old El Paso Taco Shells, $1.25 ea.
12 Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese, $1.00 ea.
This is 40 items for a total of $44.50
I used 5 coupons for the Potatoes that took off 50 cents on 2 boxes. Since they were only $1. each and I got back $1. each, this coupon made a profit of 25 cents a box! You can get this coupon at coupons.com right now!
I also used 3 coupons from the paper on the El Paso beans that took off 60 cents on 3 cans. This brought the cost of the beans to 7 cents a can!
So, the total for this transaction was $40.20 after coupons. I had a $10.00 Catalina from a previous week so I paid $30.02 out of pocket and got back $40.00 in Catalinas! The cashier got a big kick out of that and when those $5.00 coupons spit out I feel like a Vegas winner. I will also get $1.10 added to my Saving Star account which will go directly into my bank account.
Old El Paso, Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting
10 Betty Crocker boxed potatoes, $1.00 ea.
8 Betty Crocker cake mixes, $1.25 ea.
8 Old El Paso Refried Beans, $1.25 ea.
2 Old El Paso Taco Shells, $1.25 ea.
12 Betty Crocker Mac & Cheese, $1.00 ea.
6 Stouffer’s Entree, $2.00 ea. (must buy 6)
I used 2 of the $.60/3 Old El Paso coupons, 5 of the $.50/2 Betty Crocker Potato coupons, and 3 $1.50/2 Stouffer’s coupons that I had from the paper. Total after coupons: $48.30. Paid with the $40.00 in Catalinas from the previous transaction for a grand total of $8.30 and I got another $40.00 in Catalinas! I love this so much.
This last transaction was supposed to be the end where I use my Catalinas to buy things that I need to get anyway. I couldn’t resist throwing in some more things from the buy 5, get $5. deal! When I find a deal where cake mix is 25 cents and I can get free food to donate to the food bank or recovery house, I’m going for it!
Dehydrated Potatoes & Soup
6 Stouffer’s Entree, $2.00 ea.
12 Campbell’s Chunky Soup, 10 at $1.00 each, 2 at $1.25 ea.
2 Best Foods Mayonnaise, $3.49 ea.
1 gallon milk, $2.99 ea.
1 bottle Tropicana Orange Juice, $2.99 ea.
10 Betty Crocker Frosting, $1.25 ea.
1 package of napkins, 1.99 ea.
I used more of the Stouffer’s $1.50/2 coupons and I had $1./4 coupons from the paper for the soup. After coupons and the $40.00 in Catalinas from trans. 2, the total was $7.60 and I got back 2 more $5.00 Catalinas! You know what that means? I’m going back today! I have 8 more of these $.50/2 coupons for the potatoes and I don’t see any reason not to use them since I make 25 cents on each box. Why leave free food sitting around at Ralphs when it could go to someone who needs it? I think that I’ll use the final $10.00 in Catalinas on another case of soup, that’s just a great thing to have in the earthquake shed. It’s not part of the Catalina deal, but with the coupons and the sale they end up being 75 cents a can!
So here’s my plan for today:
16 boxes of BC Potatoes
4 boxes of BC Mac & Cheese
Use 8 oh wait a minute. I can’t do that. Ralphs has a limit of 5 like-coupons per transaction. So here we go with the transaction plotting and planning. Lets worry about that later. I’ll get back to you.
* Catalinas are called that because they originate from the Catalina Marketing company.
One time I had an achingly boring office job. Actually that’s happened a lot more than once, but I’m talking about this one time. I had my own office and a little stereo and I was listening to John Hiatt. “Death by Misadventure” came on and I started thinking about that. Is that a real term that would be used on a real death certificate? If so, how do you qualify? I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I rolled my chair over to my IBM Selectric and typed out a letter to the LA County Coroner. I typed a lot of letters on that glorious machine. I listened to Howard Stern a lot then and there were Snapple advertisements every 10 minutes or so and so I wrote to Snapple and commented on how great Howard was. I got a letter back from “Wendy” (it really was the Wendy from the Snapple commercials, before she got famous she had to deal with people like me.) She talked a lot about how great Snapple is but didn’t mention Howard once. So I wrote her back and said, “yeah, but how ’bout that Howard?”. The next response I got from her was scrawled across the page with a pen and it said “Yes, Joanne, Howard is Great!”. That made me happy, I still have it. Somewhere.
I wrote to Andy Prieboy from Wall of Voodoo and lots of other things and he wrote back. We had a lovely correspondence about heroin and vampires and the French Revolution. I’m sure that I have all of that saved in a drawer. I was a bookkeeper, I saved everything.
Apparently the LA County Coroner cannot take anything too lightly and so he forwarded my letter to LA County Mental Health Services. They forwarded it to a mental health service in Pasadena and they forwarded it to the LA County Sheriffs Dept. Some Sheriffs went to the Post Office and quickly got my actual address (how do these criminals who use PO Boxes get away with it?) and came over here, to my house. Eddie came into our room and said “Joanne, the police are here and they’d like to speak with you”. Dude, really? You told them I was here? That is never a good policy. So I went to the door and all I can say is that it’s a good thing that I wasn’t depressed or drunk at that moment because they were all ready to take me into protective services. They asked me how I was, I asked them why that was of interest to them. They explained that it was due to a letter that I had written to the LA County Coroner. I looked them in the eyes and laughed. Through my laughter I explained that I was writing a book and that I had written that letter “in character”. I gaily apologized and promised never again to do such a thing. It took a while but they finally wrote me off. They even gave me a copy of my letter with the notes and the faxing history on it, I still have that too. Somewhere.
Just between us, I cannot really promise that I will never again do such a thing. What I’ve learned is that if some government agency comes to your door you either have to laugh and then get them involved in the joke or you have to say “Oh, thank god you’re here…” In other words, just tell the truth, odds are you are not a criminal.
Actually, I’m not sure that’s true. Black Thursday, which most of you know as “Thanksgiving” is crazy at the drug stores. If you get the preview ads and start collecting your coupons, you can walk out with a basket of stuff and make a decent amount of money for doing so. It’s almost embarrassing. However, your basket might very well be full of things that you would never buy and nobody wants. Drug stores are kind of weird like that.
Last week I spent every day reading the blogs, printing coupons from every computer that I can get my hands on and squirreling them away. Today I spent all day, all day, making lists, refining them, throwing them out and starting over until I felt that they were perfect. Here is the result:
I started to type out the details, but that’s just tedious. We went to Staples, Walgreen’s, Food 4 Less, and Albertson’s.
2 reams of HammerMill Copy Paper (also turned in 10 used or defective ink cartridges for $20.00 in Rewards next month).
ZenTrip Motion Sickness Strips
Renew Life Heartburn Out
“Help! I have a Blister” kit (this is what I wanted, I had to buy the other stuff to pay for this one)
10 8-oz packages of shredded cheese
10 bottles of Kraft Salad Dressing
8 packages of Farmer John Hot Dogs
10 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 jars of Mt. Olive Pickles (these are good)
4 64-oz bottles of Juicy Juice 100% juice
8 cans of Bush’s Baked Beans
4 cases of Arrowhead 16.9 oz. bottles
4 pounds of Applewood Smoked Bacon
10 ears of white corn
3 boxes of Nabisco crackers
Grand Total: $70.69
Minus: $10.00 credit at Food 4 Less
$16.00 credit at Walgreen’s
Equals: $44.69 + that $20.00 credit at Staples.
And I’m not done. I’ve got more gathering to do tomorrow, Friday, and next week. I’ll be grilling chicken and shucking corn, trying to ignore the hot dogs.
I’m tired now. If you do nothing else, go over to Food 4 Less and get the chicken breasts, they are $1.88 a pound!
Here’s the thing, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Truck is circling around the San Gabriel Valley. Yesterday it was at the L.A. County Arboretum and the special of the day was Manchego cheese with Prosciutto on really special bread. What a wonderfully fun thing that is.
What I did today was to go to couponnetwork.com and print out a coupon for a dollar off of Oscar Mayer lunch meat. Another coupon is there for a dollar off Kraft American cheese slices. There is also a deal at Target that if you buy both of these items, you get a free loaf of Wonder Bread.
So, for $3.58 I got 9 ounces of ham, 24 slices of American cheese, and a loaf of Wonder Bread. You could totally do this tomorrow. And I think that you should.
This is how we live. This is how we feed people. If you’re lucky enough to think that you can outlive the “Greatest Generation” by eating better food than they did, all I can do is laugh. I haven’t had Wonder Bread since I was 8, but you know what? I am in no position to throw out a free loaf of bread.
I’m guessing that the grilled cheese sandwich from the food truck is about 8 bucks.
I have spent all day processing the food that I have gathered this week. I do not have enough freezer space to keep all of the bread that I gathered and so I made 24 slices of French toast out of the sourdough, and packaged them in 4’s and slide them around the other things that are in the freezer. The good sprouted wheat bread, I kept intact. The Wonder Bread, I’m not quite sure what to do with, but I hear that if you spread both sides with peanut butter and then put a layer of jam in between, that will freeze well and be good as an emergency lunch or a snack if you’re having a low blood sugar day. I used the vanilla beans that I got from Amazon last month and the amazing deal that I got on yogurt to make frozen yogurt. I sliced about 5 pounds of bananas and strawberries and froze them and between all of this, we can make some pretty amazing smoothies that will totally make up for the Wonder Bread. Also, I got half & half for $1.38 for a quart at Vons and so I’m making ice cream.
When you find tomatoes on sale at a freakishly low price, make sauce. Old bananas can be smashed up and frozen for future banana bread. New bananas can be cut up and frozen for smoothies. Tonight I made a really great meal of hamburgers and salad for 5 people and it cost about $7.00. If you still have the money to be fussy and arrogant and judgmental about the food that you eat; if you can still afford that, good on you, really. My in-laws have been eating bologna for as long as it’s been around. Spam, is holy. And these people are still kicking at 90.
The foolish snobbery about coffee and chocolate is so annoying to me. Who the fuck thinks that they can afford that? Honestly, Apple stock is still hot and it’s only at a 14 P/E, if you want to throw away money, throw it there. Invest in toilet paper and tampons. Invest in the future. I realize that this might sound like ridiculous advice from a Hedonist, but you know what, I want to be happy next week, next month, next year. Make your own goddamned coffee and make it good and you’ll still have money left over to buy meat, cheese, and bread for $3.58. But don’t forget to print those coupons.
Check coupons.com and look for the buy one get one free on Gevalia coffee. Print two from every computer you have. If that coupon has disappeared, go to Vons.com and sign up for the Just4U program. Look at the coupons and click on them to load them to your card. Then go to Von’s and take them up on their offers.
Well, that daily writing assignment didn’t last 24 hours. I thought about it last night but then I went to sleep really early. Woke up at 3 AM and didn’t know if it was still today, or tomorrow, or the next day. I might go back to sleep which, for me, would make this yesterday.
Yesterday was uneventful. Spent a good part of the day filing coupons while watching “Prison Break”. It’s not a great show but it’s compelling enough to entertain me while I do such tedious tasks. Poured through the coupon blogs for tips. MyCokeRewards was giving out a code for a free 8″ x 8″ book from Shutterfly, still have to pay for $8.00 in shipping, but that could be a fun project. This might still be available, if you’re interested, check it out.
For a sense of some stability, let’s say that today is Friday. I usually do two things on Friday; go to Vons and go to Right Aid. Vons always has a sale on Fridays and today Lucerne cheese is on sale – $5.00 for 2 lbs. If the cheese has the California Dairy sticker on it, there is a coupon for $.55 here (print about a million of these because they don’t expire until January and are good for dairy, milk, cheese. This is probably my favorite coupon ever.) So, today we get to stock up on cheese. A few other things too. If you sign up for their Just4U program you can load coupons onto your loyalty card and get great prices. $3. off if you buy $10. in produce (bananas are $.49/lb, roma tomatoes are $.69/lb, , etc.) they offer personalized coupons based on your shopping habits and today I got one for a free package of Wilton cupcake papers.
In most parts of the country the Rite Aid sale starts every Sunday, just like every other drug store, but here in LA County it starts on Friday. There are some good deals today: Samy Fat Foam Hair Color is on sale for $8.99, there is a store coupon in the ad that you can stack with this coupon for $5.00 off 1. They will probably adjust the coupon down, but the hair color will be free. I’ve never tried this particular brand so that’s fun. I haven’t actually paid for hair color in over a year and I use it about once a month.
Rite Aid brand hand sanitizer is on sale for $1.00 for an 8-oz. bottle, limit 4. You will also receive $1.00 in Rite Aid credit for each one so if you buy 4, you will get $4.00 in credit back (+UP Reward), making it so that you only have to pay the tax. This is a very good item to have in your earthquake kit, even if this is the only thing that is in your earthquake kit. Also, at this price you could afford to acquire a new phobia.
I’m going to buy the hand sanitizer and hair color in one transaction, that way just in case the cashier/computer apply the overage from the hair color coupons, it will go towards the $4.00 on the sanitizer.
Then I’ll use the $4.00 credit towards a box of Sleep Sheets. These are like those Energy Sheets, have you seen those? They are little square sheets that melt on your tongue. The Sleep Sheets are a sleep aid for when you’ve taken too many Energy Sheets. They are $5.00 for a box of ten and you get back $5.00 in credit. So, tax only again. Maybe I could have used one of these at 3 AM.
If you have restless leg syndrome, they are offering “Restless Leg Cream” for $11.00 and you get $11.00 back in credit. I’m not sure how a cream is going to be of any assistance with that electric jiggedy feeling that is restless legs, but I guess that for the price of tax only it might be worth trying. Let me know if you do because I’m going to pass on this one.
Another offer that I’m going to pass on is “Max Freeze”. $7.00 and you get $7.00 in credit. Can you see how easy it would be to create your very own apothecary shop? It’s just that I don’t have any body parts that need freezing and horizontal space in this house has it’s own value. If you want to collect all of these things, I would do the “Restless Leg Cream” and the hair color in the first transaction and then use the $11.00 towards the other things in a second transaction. The less I have to take out of my bank account, the better.
These products that are free will sell out very quickly, it is most likely that if you don’t go today, the earlier the better, the shelves will be empty. So, go forth and gather!
I’ve decided that for as long as I like I’m going to type what I do every day and try to make it sound interesting. I swear, I will go to great lengths to make it sound interesting without lying.
This morning I woke up in quite a peppy mood. I was actually more enthusiastic than my dog, Brian. This is because I only drank one bottle of white wine last night and then had sex with my husband. Slept well. I also slept under just a sheet that I had sprayed with water and so between all of these things, I slept very well. Don’t you think that a good night’s sleep is so priceless?
The reason for coffee is to give you a goal while you’re waking up and trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. So there’s that.
Today was Wednesday. I get all of the supermarket ads on Tuesday, so I had my work cut out for me. I spent hours pouring over the ads and noting what proteins were on sale at what store, where I could best get produce, and what they were offering for free. It took me a few hours, but by the time I was ready I had a list for 4 stores.
Staples: I collected my $20.00 reward from the 10 ink cartridges that I turned in last month and so we (me & Ed) went to Staples and bought:
2 reams of HammerMill paper @ $6.99 ea.
1 7-pk of Zebra retractible pens $4.00
1 Martha Stewart notepad at $1.99 50% off = $1.00 – 30% off coupon = $.67
and two dollars worth of pads of paper and notebooks that Ed wanted.
Paid less than a dollar in cold, hard cash and will get $15.98 in a rebate check.
Then we went to Target where I collected 2 travel size Neutrogena makeup removers and some chewy things that Brian loves for $3.77 btw, if you go to smartsource.com you can get the Neutrogena coupons for $2.00 off one face product and take that to Target and get the travel size makeup removers for free. Also, you will get 5 cents for every bag that you bring and use and if you get a Red Card, which is just a duplicate of your ATM card, that’s another 5%.
CVS is right next to Target and so we went there, I always go there if it’s convenient, just to scan my card in the magic coupon machine. I love that thing! But this week they have a deal where if you buy $10.00 worth of Physicians Formula cosmetics you get $7.00 back in extrabucks. I also had a $1.00 coupon from last Sunday’s paper. So I bought this crazy blush that is supposed to work with your PH balance to correct itself to exactly the right shade. Well this shit is $14.00 so between the coupons and eb’s back, I paid $5.00. That’s a crazy amount for me to pay for any class of makeup, but I really wanted to try this experiment. In the car, on the way to Albertson’s I opened the compact and tried out the light (it has a light and a mirror!) and brushed some on my face. Instant effect was that I looked exactly like one of those crazy old women with bright pink cheeks. But I swear, it started to shift and the color changed and I’m still not quite comfortable with any of this, but I guess it’s all an ongoing experiment. We’ll see. The funniest thing is that the light on the compact is so bright that you cannot look at it to see the mirror.
Next, Albertsons. There is a great deal there this week and I’m using it to make a stockpile of sliced turkey in my freezer. Sara Lee from the deli is $5.99 a pound. If you go to coupons.com you can print out a coupon for $1.00 off a half a pound of Sara Lee turkey or chicken. So, go to Albertson’s and get 2 half pound packages of turkey or chicken and use 2 coupons and pay $3.99 a pound, which, in my mind, is a stock up price. Plus, you can get a free loaf of bakery sliced sandwich bread when you buy a pound of Sara Lee. I have a soft-spot in my heart for Sara Lee because throughout my teenage years she provided that German Chocolate Cake that was so sought after when we were just completely wasted. Also obtained a couple of pounds of strawberries, a couple of pounds of string cheese, hamburger buns, and a lot of very nice bread. Most of the bread and buns went into the freezer, you have to get it when the gettin’s good.
The mail came and I got my shoes that I ordered from Lord & Taylor! Ann Klein wedge sandals, so cute, and they fit! I wore them to all of these stores and I have the brand new blisters to show for it. $15.00, no tax, no shipping. Yowza!
I wish that I could tell you about yesterday or the day before, but that’s not what I’m doing.
Today I spent about $35.00.
Hopefully tomorrow, I will tell you about tomorrow. Hopefully someone will come over tomorrow or I will find something interesting to focus on because we’re not going shopping again til Friday.
I don’t drink soda’s very often, but I still manage to accumulate the caps with the codes in them. You can use those codes at MyCokeRewards.com to trade for magazine subscriptions, coupons for free beverages, or some swag with logos.
Right now there are 4 codes that are worth 10 points each:
With these 40 points you can claim a coupon for a free drink (Coke, PowerAid, or Minute Maid). They will mail it to your house. I love having these in my bag so that I can pick up an orange juice on a low-blood-sugar couponing day.
Rumor has it that you can use these codes once a day until August 12th! That is not confirmed, but over the last few days I’ve gathered 100 points! The first two days there were only 3 codes available.
PS: I don’t know where these codes originated from, I got them on the Coupon Pro Blog. Thanks, Roland!
Last night I went to Ralph’s and purchased 6 bottles of Turning Leaf wine. The price per bottle was $5.99, but if you buy 6, Ralph’s will give you 30% off, the cash register took off $2.00 per bottle. The total was $23.94, which is not a good deal for this wine. However, in the CVS ad that came out today there is a rebate on Turning Leaf wine for $16.00 if you buy 6. So $23.94 – $16.00 = $7.94, making it $1.32 per bottle. You wouldn’t want to make this purchase at CVS this week because the Turning Leaf is on sale 2/$10.00 with only 10% off when you buy 6. Ralph’s is the way to go with this. If you’re in stock up mode you could pick up 6 bottles of the Rex-Goliath Pinot Noir, with the 30% discount it’s only $3.49 and it’s very good (IMHO). With the rebate you’ll get 12 bottles of decent wine for about the cost of a case of Two Buck Chuck.
In the Rite Aid ad for this week (if you get the Sunday paper, these ads are all in there) there is an $8.00 rebate if you purchase a bottle of Robert Mondavi Private Selection and a 12-pk of Corona beer. CVS has a better price on the Mondavi though, it’s only $6.99 and the Corona is the usual $12.99 making the wine better than free. This is only a good deal if you’re going to buy beer anyway, which I am not. But if you’re in the market for a 12-pk of Corona, you may as well get a dollar off and a free bottle of wine.
Both of these are dependent on how reliable you are about filling out the rebate form and actually sending it in. I understand that perfectly, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass. I try to get them in the mailbox right after I get home to be sure that it gets done.
So now I’ve sent you to CVS, Ralph’s, and Rite Aid. It’s OK, they’re all air-conditioned. Also, while you’re at CVS picking up the rebate form, scan your CVS card in that yellow & red machine. You might get a coupon for candy bars today!