The Atomic Housewife

Everything you never wanted to know about the inner-workings of my little mind. I'm no longer a housewife, but, hey, I like the name.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

In Search Of...

I get to go on my first cruise next month, and to me that means my favorite preparation - buying everything I think I might need. OK, so I already have everything anyone would need for a three day cruise, but that's old stuff. I can't possibly wear last year's swimsuit, glasses or bag! Since I am far from wealthy, my bargain radar comes out.

It started with the bathing suit, it had to be under $20 and I found one online at The 15 Dollar Store (it happens to be really cute, too). Next, I found some semi-cute glasses for $5, but they are only semi-cute, so I'll probably need to replace them with actual cute glasses. I wanted to bring a big tote bag, but it had to zip at the top. You know how many pickpockets there are on cruise ships. I don't want them stealing my cache of dirty pennies or my non-winning lottery tickets, so I found the perfect bag at Old Navy on clearance for $15. So I'm all set, right?

This is the point where my bargain hunting spirals out of control. Yes, I found the perfect bag for $15, but there must be one out there that is not only better, but costs even less. So the search continues in a futile self-punishment, I will look at countless websites, scour endless stores in search of the item that puts my deal to shame. If I am able to search for at least another week and not find a better deal, only then will I breathe a sigh of relief and be content with my purchase.

It's not just small purchases that send me into my bargain frenzy, the large ones are worse. I've owned my current house for four years and am STILL looking at the homes for sale in the paper to be sure we got a good deal. The fact that the value has doubled means nothing. My family doesn't get why I need to immediately scan the ads for the thing I just bought, but to me it's like a form of validation. Shopping is a competitive sport and I want to be the best.

Now to search the cruise lines to make sure we got a good deal on that room. I can't fully enjoy myself otherwise.


We Are All Entitled to a Free Tree

A few weeks ago I called up my local utitlity company because they have a special deal where you can get free shade trees. The summer was fast approaching and I figured we needed to do something about the side of our yard that looks parched and brown. So they sent out a "community forester" which was a little girl in a safari hat. She surveyed the location and told me we could have just one tree, and it had to be a small one due to the power lines overhead. I chose a purple crape myrtle and signed their contract. She said the tree would arrive some time during the next week.

We waited...and waited. Any time I heard the dog barking next door, I'd peek out my window to see if it was the truck bringing our tree. At this point, I had big plans for the tree. New vines would climb the fence behind it, thriving in the shade. A row of vegetables would be planted in the space to the left of the new tree. The kid's pool would go somewhere in front. Lots of stuff was hinging on this little lone tree arriving, stuff I refused to start until it was established. We avoided mowing the lawn for fear of removing the tree lady's spray painted spot showing us where the tree had to go. The week dragged on and temperatures rose into the 90's.

By the next Monday, I was livid. They were stalling my life because their rotten little tree was "free". It really isn't a free tree, in the contract we signed we agree to plant it exactly where they said, and give them access to check on it any time they wanted for the next five years! Free access to the tree police? Our shade was now a very important matter. I called them and left a message regarding my missing tree. There was no call back after a couple days, so now their negligence has turned into pure spiteful avoidance. I called again and left another voicemail, trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice. After a few hours I got not one, but two calls back. They were very sorry, the nursery was out of my tree and it would come next week.
My two-year-old did not make matters better for me when we sat outside "enjoying" the sunshine. "Mommy, where's the tree?"
"It's not here yet."
"Where is it?"
"It's going to be planted right over there." I pointed.
"But I don't see it."
"That's because they haven't brought it yet, even though they promised to bring it two weeks ago, but I called them and they should be bringing it by..."
At this point, she toddled off to do something else. And so did I.