Monday, December 31, 2007

Just a regular day

I am at home, trying to get some work done.This has been a long school vacation with the demon spawn. As usual, Rainman has been sucking up most of my attention. At the moment, he is running around buck naked except for a holiday shopping bag on his head, jumping up and down and screaming "Hoo-ray! Hoo-ray!" He is going stir crazy, but the options are mighty limited with what I can do with him. He doesn't have friends, the only thing he has that are close to peers are scattered all over the state, and his unfortunate habit of stripping and jerking on his penis when he is frustrated further limit where I can take him.
The only places I can really take him are places where there is no one else, or the drive thru. Tried to have a no spend day, but had to go the bank to cash a check because my atm card is once again among the missing (thanks Rainman and your habit of tossing stuff out the window when I drive). I just had it replaced less than a month ago and hope (in vain) that I find it.
We hit the Dunkin Donuts drive thru for his usual "large orange juice, honey honey dip donut raisin bagel with cream cheese" (all said as one word by him) but they had no honeydip. This only caused a semi-melt down, and when they didn't have chocolate honeydip either, he took it rather well, with only a half hearted "GoddamitIhatethis". He then wanted to take a long ride, while he ate his stash and I semi-vegged as I drove. He likes to eat and be driven, but any small annoyance (a half missed favorite song on the radio, a too toasted bagel, a loud noise) and he begins to dig his nails into my wrist, kick his feet against the ceiling, bang his teeth against any hard surface, and strip while pulling out his penis. I drove by some playgrounds hoping the cold weather would have kept others away, but each park had at least a few children. I just couldn't deal today with the funny looks, nasty remarks, or even out right hostility which always comes even when Rainman's screeches are happy.
And then, I just didn't want to make dinner. Anti-frugal, but the other off-spring where begging for Wendy's and it was just too easy to give in.
And, for the life of me, I can't find a jumpdrive that isn't full. I need to save some pics I created, but either Rainman or the ferrets have absconded with them. I also need another printer, as Rainman banged the last one and when it fell, it stopped turning on. Oh well, what can you do?
So, it's New Year's Eve, the house is in disarray, Rainman is screeching happily, I am trying to make money, the other offspring are folding towels, and a horrible old Chuck Norris movie is on. Let's hope the old superstition about whatever you are doing at the stroke of midnight is what you do for the rest of the year does NOT hold true, or I am so screwed :)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best Buy Service Plan Sucks Candy Cane Balls

Bought my 12 year old an 80 GB silver Ipod, and being as they are relatively flimsy pieces of machinery, I also got the 3 year Best Buy service plan, which states that it will replace or fix the IPOD free in the case of anything except physical damage. I have bought these before, and have only had one problem where I needed to take advantage of the warranty, and Best Buy honored it, by checking the Ipod, seeing that it didn't work, and replacing it.

Day after Christmas, go into Best Buy with the Ipod that will not reboot. Mind you, I have the above mentioned 12 year old and 15 year old Rainman, a large adolescent with classic autism. Mentally picture a 200 pound two year old having a bad day, and you have Rainman.

Wait in the returns/customer service line for a little over an hour. Finally get up to the desk, and am told I have to go to computers. All right, no problem, let me heft Rainman over to computers. First hour, he is a bit cranky but the promise of a DVD still works. By the second hour, third in the store, he is pinching and kicking me, and starting to yell out such utterances as "Sniff my penis" and "Stick fingers up my butt". After another hour, we are next in line, but wait- a couple with a newborn cuts us! I explain to the computer service person that, hey, I have been here for hours, and my children are getting antsy, and am told- "But, they have a newborn"
Rainman by this time is repeatedly stripping his coat, then shirt, then pulling his pants down to his ankles and screaming "Sniff my butt". My daughter is beet red, I am trying to stay sane, and it is ANOTHER HOUR before anyone waits on us.
We get up to Best Buy's computer repair people, and am told they can't do anything because I didn't buy the warranty. I explained that yes, I did buy the Best Buy three year service plan. Rainman is now kicking me hard in the shins, and I am trying not to strangle him. I explain I have been in the store for hours, that I do have the warranty, and what do I do? I am told to call the 1 888 Best Buy service number. I ask them to do that while I am there, and am told that Best Buy will not do that.
I go home and call the Best Buy service number, and am told that yes, the 3 year service plan is right there in the computer. Back in Saturday, same thing.
Today, call #1 888 Best Buy again, to get the number of the warranty that no one in the store can access. I am on the 1 800 Best Buy number for well over half an hour, and am told to just bring the number they gave me into the store, and if there are any problems, have them call 1 888 Best Buy.
See where this is headed?
I wait in the Computer line, and once again when I get to a Best Buy Rep, am told that they can see I bought the 3 year service plan, but they can't honor it.
*head bang*
I was told they could ship it to somwhere but it would take up to eight weeks, or that I could simply return it, my credit card would be credited, and I could buy the same item again. I explained that this didn't make sense, I have the warranty, and am told I would have to go explain this to customer service. Again, wait in line, and explain this to a Best Buy customer service rep. I am told that although I have the warranty, because I bought it at Best Buy online, Best Buy stores will not honor it. I explain that I have never had that problem before, and I had called the 1 888 Best Buy and was told the store would honor it. I was told by Best Buy Store Customer Service that I could return the item and buy the exact same Ipod, BUT:
I would be charged a 30% restocking fee
Would forfeit the warranty
Since this was not acceptable, I was told there was nothing that Best Buy could do.
I then again called the 1 888 Best Buy customer service number, and was told to take the Ipod to any Best Buy and they would exchange it. Best Buy would "launch an investigation" but that still leaves me with a $335 piece of junk. I explained all the hours I had put in trying to get this fixed, and that my only recourse would be to cancel the charge. I was told again to take it to any Best Buy, and the warranty would be honored.
*Head bang*
I then called the Best Buy store and asked to speak to a manager. I explained what was happening, she asked if I had the warranty, I said yes, and she told me to bring it in and there would be no problems.
I then waited in the line again, and had the customer service rep call the manager. I was indeed in and out :)
And I shop at Best Buy because?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Saving money with coupons

It's the end of the month, and I am organizing :)
First, I go to P&G BrandSaver and see that the monthly coupon booklet is coming out. It is coming out in two of the three newspapers I buy on weekends. (On holiday weekends, there are not coupons, so if you buy the papers only for coupons, you know not to). I see that there will be coupons for brands I use, such as Tide detergent, Secret deodorant, Pantene, Iams and Herbal Essences, among others.
I then go to HotCouponWorld and browse the store ads. You can browse by store, and it gives a heads up to what will be on sale in the coming weeks at some of the drugstores I frequent. There is also information on store policies from corporate offices, as unfortunately cashiers and even managers are unclear on their own policies, and may try to disallow you from taking advantage of an adertised deal. I love CVS, and get a ton of free and low cost products there, but the cashiers make up their own rules as to what they will or will not allow. Having a printed out copy of CVS policy with me usually makes my shopping much easier.
Tired yet?
It does sound like a lot, but it really doesn't take long at all, once you get the hand of it, maybe five-10 minutes of online reading a week.
I also picked up 2 copies of Wal-Mart's "All You" magazine for $1.97 per copy. Usually it is packed with coupons, but the Feb issue was pretty scant coupon wise. I more than made up the couple of dollars I shelled out, but not up to the usual deals.
This took a lot longer to write up than it did to actually peruse the sites and magazine. And I haven't even got to clipping the coupons yet!
That'll have to wait for another post :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

At least someone agrees with me :)

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

Food Budget

Food is a huge expense in my home. My grocery bill easily runs $1000 a month.It really shouldn't be, as I do all of the following:
Food Co-op: Angelfood Serve New England Share
I belong to one of the above, where for about $130 I get enough food to make up the bulk of my shopping for a month. It's brand name food, easy to prepare, with staples such as potatos, carrots, oranges, rice, etc. Where am I going wrong?
I have fallen off the coupon wagon. When I seriously coupon, I slash my bill in half and stockpile. And I have been buying shampoo, deodorant and toothbrushes at full price, when I can get them free and make a profit if I combine coupon + sale at CVS with the extrabuck program.
My goal for January is to spend no more than $550.00 total plus $100 at CVS.
Wish me luck,

Autism, Debt, and Being More Than Just Mom

I am the mother of two children with autism, and two without, and for the longest time I feel as if that is all I am. Due to finishing my undergrad and attempting grad school, I am currently in debt up to my eyeballs.

The debt is about $25,000 in cc debt, and there is also substantial student loan debt. For 2008, my goal will be to:

1. Wipe-out the 15k on Visa and 10K on Discover.
2. Start a Roth, and max it out.
3. Begin a fund for a bathroom renovation.

Nothing like shooting for the stars :) I get child support and fiscal help from one bio-dad that covers my mortgage and other housing costs, and zilch from the other. I am limited in that I am unable to hold a "real" job, as being a mother to disabled offspring precludes it. I do work at home, and am able to make a living, and based on the past few months, am on my way to making a living to get me out of debt and back to having a life :)

And, here I go