Joining The Club For Weekly Shoppers

Nikki was dreading the idea of the summer daycare program every day all summer. So, to relieve her a bit, I worked out where she can come to work with me some days so we’ll only put her in for 3 days a week, AND, we signed her up for 3 different week-long camps. We didn’t want Wes to feel left out just because he doesn’t mind the daycare, so we signed him up for one of the camps that he was old enough to attend. This means, basically, THAT EVERY WEEK IS A DIFFERENT SCHEDULE AND IT IS A LOGISTIC NIGHTMARE.

I mean!

Since I’m an hourly employee who likes to live on a budget, I have to adjust every day/week to make sure that I don’t short myself on my paycheck in the driving kids to/from camps. Last week Nikki’s camp was down the road from my office so she came to work with me, I took a break to take her to camp, then I would take a break later to pick her up and she’d come back to work with me. That required I work later every day which meant the evening Run By The Store On The Way Home was tricky.

Yes. I go to the store every day.

Here’s the thing: It works for me. It keeps me from having to stress out about what we need for the entire week at one time. It allows me to take advantage of sales that start mid-week. I can adjust the dinner menu based on the nightly schedule which is often times unpredictable. And it keeps me from having to carry more than 2 bags of groceries up my front stairs at a time. When I used to try to shop a whole week at a time it stressed me out SO MUCH, this? Even though it seems like so much extra work? Easy. No stress. If I run out of something? I get it the next day. Boom.

BUT – last week was so insane and this week is Wes’s camp which makes my schedule also insane so…SO…on Saturday I hit three grocery stores in an attempt to keep from having to shop every day.

I DID A WEEKLY TRIP, Y’all! For the first time in years!

And so far? So good! I didn’t go to the store Sunday or Monday! So I made it TWO WHOLE DAYS without going to the store! THAT’S AMAZING!

I’m not going to make it all week. We’re already in need of bread, but I think a trip tomorrow will cover the rest of the week and the trip will be SHORT so I should be okay. And tomorrow I don’t have anything planned in the evening…SO…for the most part I think my Saturday plan will have worked.

AND LIFE IS SO NICE WITHOUT DAILY GROCERY TRIPS!

I know most of you are like, “Yeah. Duh.” But to me it was just part of my routine and not something I ever really thought about. I pass Target and Publix on the way home every day so – depending on the sales – I just stopped and bought whatever we needed for dinner and whatever we had run out of. I fix 3 meals for 3 people every day, Donnie gets 5 lunches covered at work and makes his own breakfasts, but I cook him dinner most nights that we’re not doing leftovers. So that means I fix anywhere from 20-30 meals a week. THAT IS A LOT OF MEALS TO PREP FOR. I don’t think I’d ever be able to do an entire week without any mid-week trips so I’m not going to stress out too much. If I can get it down to one mid-week trip during the summer that would be GREAT.

Do you shop 1-week at a time? How many “refill” trips do you make a week for things you’ve run out of?

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Organized v/s Clean

I’ve never claimed to be a clean person. I don’t fret that my carpets are stained or that my baseboards might be dirty. I don’t have to wash my sheets regularly (or ever). I don’t need to scrub the tub (I do scrub toilets, however) or the sink. I don’t care about dog slobber on windows or hairballs on floors.

But if my counters are cluttered? I can’t go to sleep at night.

Well. I might be able to go to sleep, but knowing they’re cluttered will make me wake up at 3am so I can make sure they’re clean before I leave for work.

My point? Clutter does not last on my counters more than 24 hours.

The “trick” everyone tells you to keeping your house “clean” when it’s on the market is to have baskets/buckets/drawers where you basically hide everything. Places the kids can throw things so that they can clean up after themselves quickly. Places where you can put things that might normally have spots out in the open (like pen jars, I’m not allowed to have pen jars anywhere other than my desk) now have to be hidden. All of this makes it easy to keep the house ready for a showing, BUT IT MAKES A PERSON WHO NEEDS ORDER DOWNRIGHT CRAZY.

There are now “junk” drawers in every room. I HATE JUNK DRAWERS. The kids now have baskets in several places to throw the miscellany they get out or accumulate throughout the days. I HATE BASKETS OF DETRITUS. While it makes it so that my house looks “clean” at a moment’s notice, it makes the organizer in me totally insane.

I have been REALLY tired lately as my schedule and my stress are keeping me at about a 6-hour-a-night sleep maximum and I’ve documented that I go insane without 8 hours of sleep regularly. I almost dozed off driving home from work yesterday. I have no problem going to sleep at night (I feel asleep before 8pm last night) but once my body gets a “reasonable” amount of sleep (usually 4-6 hours) then I’m awake for the day. This means I’m up anywhere from 1am to 4am, depending on when I fell asleep and whether my mind decides to give me 4 hours or 6 hours. (NEVER 8. NEVER EVER 8 HOURS. I even took drugs to help sleep the other night and still, 5.5 hours is all I got.)

ANYWAY. So, this “morning” my body/mind woke up at 1am since I had the GALL to fall asleep by 8pm. FIVE HOURS! TIME TO GO!

So, I took the time to tackles some of those clutter baskets that have been making me CRAZY since we started selling our house.

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These were the places where the kids stash papers/art/school stuff when they’re done with it or when they’ve needed to clean out their backpacks. One area is in the kitchen, one is in Nikki’s room. I spent two hours this morning going through all of that stuff (including backpacks since school is out) and organized it (or re-organized it since it was, at one point, organized) and labeled it and I think I’m going to tell them if they can’t keep it in some constant order all summer, no one gets new school supplies. BECAUSE WE HAVE ENOUGH TO SUPPLY A SMALL SCHOOL.

And that’s even AFTER I created 1 whole garbage bag of broken/useless clutter from the baskets and piles.

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And while I know today is going to suck royal donkey balls because I basically woke up at 1am, I’m glad I can at least breath easier knowing some of the hidden chaos in our house has been organized. Maybe that knowledge will help me sleep as late as, I don’t know, 4 am tomorrow?

A girl can dream.

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I Survived! And Only Thought You All Hated Me Once!

Oh man, guys. So – I wrote this entry yesterday about body positivity…wondering if it was okay to still want to lose weight in this new era of Love Your Body. It was a weird entry, kinda rambling, I mainly was really hoping for a dialog. I’m still trying to lose this 17lbs I gained and I was wondering if I’m still falling victim to societies unrealistic standards or if – you know – I just like my thinner body. I was wondering if it could be like dyeing your hair red or wearing makeup…things you do because you like the way you look better that way. I really hoped for awesome dialog like you all are always up for and holy crap. NO ONE MADE A COMMENT. And I spent all day yesterday thinking I’d lost my touch in fostering insightful conversations and that maybe you all hated me.

Then I sat down to write today’s lighthearted entry about surviving this week MUCH better than last week and BAM! I see that post still sitting there in the compose screen.

AS A DRAFT.

I never published it. DAMMIT. No wonder you all weren’t conversing with me! There was nothing to talk about!

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking maybe it was whiney and kinda “First World Problems”-y and REALLY? ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THAT 17 POUNDS? By the time yesterday was over I had regretted writing it so now it seems silly to publish it.

But I still want the conversation!

So, can we just meet for lunch one day next week? All of us? Sound good? We’ll just talk about body positivity over some vegan chili, okay?

ANYWAY! Let’s move on!

IMG_6900I survived this week much better than last week. I didn’t have to squeeze in any grocery trips during 14 minute breaks between work and soccer. We didn’t have to eat out. I didn’t curl up in the fetal position and cry. We made it to soccer three nights (counting tonight) and even went to my nephew’s t-ball game! It was a good week!

I did several grocery trips last weekend to (hopefully) get me through this week and it worked! I also braved my first “errand” run on my lunch break this week. I don’t like leaving my office at lunch because it’s in a high traffic area and you all know how I feel about traffic and driving. But I ran to the Target down the road and back and it wasn’t too bad at 11am, so I feel better knowing if there’s an emergency errand I need to make, I can still pull that off. Also good for non-perishable necessities in the week. I still did my Wednesday Night trip to Publix to check out the new week’s BOGOs, but I consider that a type of therapy so I don’t mind that one.

I had enough food to feed us every night, pack lunches every day, AND I managed not to forget Kite Day! Which was canceled.

IMG_6897I cooked one meal not at a meal time (Spaghetti on Monday Morning) and that was great because I heated that up when I let the dog out Wednesday after work but before soccer and the kids ate it on the way to soccer. That was my best move of the week. I usually make them sandwiches and then they get something light afterwards, but I don’t like that because then they get no hot meals that day. My kids are not great eaters, I hate when they get NOTHING cooked during the day. My Dad used to make us get hot lunch at school because he never cooked and thought we needed at least one guaranteed “real” meal a day. I kinda feel the same way, like I’ve failed my kids if they didn’t eat at least one meal that required heat in preparation.

So! Spaghetti To Go worked GREAT. I felt much better about the evening and the kids thought it was hysterical. I heated it up in the glass storage containers which stay hotter, and wrapped it in a towel and put it in an insulated lunch box. They both started the meal on the way TO soccer in the car, but Wes didn’t finish so he finished his after soccer on the way to his cousin’s t-ball game. It stayed warm enough for his standards, so success! I packed parmesan cheese and everything. I was really proud of that move and I think I’ll do that every week. Cook a batch of spaghetti just for heating up on nights we have soccer.

I definitely feel better about this week than last week.

One CRAZY note. I’m having a kinda-last minute yard sale tomorrow. We had it on the calendar for awhile, but then it was supposed to rain all day so I thought I’d wait. But now it looks like it will just be overcast so I think I’ll be up all night pricing items and making signs because we may not have another chance and I need to get rid of a bunch of stuff. This may be a little insane, to prepare for a yard sale in one day, but when have I ever done anything the easy way?

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Old Dog. New Tricks.

My buggy is NEVER that full!

My buggy is NEVER that full!

It took me three trips this weekend, but I think I got enough groceries to make it through the week without needing to do anything more than my usual Wednesday Night Publix trip when I check out their new weekly BOGOs. I think I resigned myself to getting it all done “in one weekend” and not “in one trip” because I’m just never going to be that awesome.

Unfortunately I didn’t find time to cook some meals to store as single-serving dinners this week. So? Spaghetti for breakfast!

Seriously. I’m going to try to cook the Spaghetti this morning after I finish this blog post. That was something that occurred to me somewhere in the middle of the night. I woke up stressing about all the stuff I have to do this week and hating I didn’t get time to cook some food to use as single-serving leftovers and it hit me: Do it in the morning! Before work!

The combination of putting my house on the market (meaning it has to stay a lot cleaner than it used to) and working a job with a commute (meaning no time at home) has really shaken up my view of what I should do, at what time, during my day. I used to set aside my time in the mornings before waking the kids as “me” time. I did basic housework – started laundry and put up dishes, but mostly it was blog time. Last night’s TV time. Running time (in the summer when it’s daylight during those hours). It took me about a week to get used to thinking about “chores” as things I could do in the mornings. Like – the BIG chores – moping floors, cleaning toilets, vacuuming. The kind of thing I used to just do on the weekends and even then, usually only on the weekends we were hosting Family Dinner. But once we put the house on the market, a lot of that stuff needed to be done DEFINITELY once a week, but sometimes twice a week, so I started giving myself time before work to do one MAJOR chore.

IMG_6873It occurring to me in the middle of the night that I could also cook dinner in the mornings was QUITE a revelation. I can’t squeeze in time where it doesn’t exist in the afternoons, and I’m useless after about 8pm, so why not just do it in the mornings?!

It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Another thing I’ve touched on a little bit is re-training myself to not do everything “later”. I’m the kind of person that, if a light bulb goes out in a fixture with mutliple bulbs? I don’t change it until they’ve ALL gone out. Or when the plates above my cabinets fall (they’re cheap plastic plates held up with those sticky velcro strips) it will be sitting on my counter for MONTHS. I just tend to not take care of things that aren’t “urgent” until…well…I guess until it becomes urgent. And in our case now, that would be the phone call “SOMEONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR HOUSE!” But we can’t do all of the little things then, so I’m changing light bulbs when they go out and hanging plates back up as soon as they fall.

WHO AM I?

I’ve also had to give up a lot of luxury items in my life. Not luxury of money, but luxury of TIME. I’ve basically stopped with my post-long-run Epsom Salt baths because it just feels so wasteful now. How could I sit in a tub for 45 minutes doing NOTHING when my flowerbeds need to be weeded?

I’ll be honest, part of me loves all of this change. I feel very “put together” because my house is always close-to-perfect (perfect by MY standards, I’m still me, after all) and I’m clean because I’m showering for work every day so I feel less slovenly and more presentable and I get some time interacting with grown-ups more than I used to. All of these things are welcome changes and while it’s taken a lot of shifting, but I don’t necessarily hate it. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. It’s nice to run into someone out in public and not be embarrassed I’m still in my Pajamas. Or if a family member stops by my house, it’s nice to know it’s presentable. So, the changes? I don’t hate them.

But I’m tired. And I do look forward to the day when we sell this house and move into a smaller one and I can go back to taking Epsom Baths after a long run and vegging out with a book in the middle of a Saturday. Because this old dog can still learn new tricks…and she won’t necessarily hate them…but she doesn’t have to like them.

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The Dreaded Once A Week Shopping Trip

I’ve enjoyed that – for the past several years – I have been able to hit the grocery store every day if needed. This has allowed me to really shop sales and to plan meals based on that day’s schedule combined with my mood. I always feel one of the perks of being The Cook in the family is getting to cook what YOU want. I know some people say you spend more with the daily shopping, but not me. I hate doing BIG grocery trips because it’s a pain in the ass to carry in and I just don’t always know our schedule during the week so meal planning is difficult. I may have 5 minutes to cook dinner at 5:15 or I may have no time to cook but we’ll be home at 7pm starving to death. Of course, when I worked from home I had plenty of time during the day for prep or monitoring of things in the crockpot, so that added a flexibility I don’t have now. But if I was in the mood for Mexican that day? I’d run the 1 mile down to the store and get stuff for Mexican. Even when I worked in an office it was only 10 minutes from my house which still gave me time to head home, stop by Publix on the way, unload groceries, and get back to work before my lunch hour was up.

Now I work 40’ish minutes from home and 4 out of 5 nights this week I only have enough time after work and before soccer to let the dog out. I’ve tried some end-of-the-day grocery store trips, but I hate that because I want to be DONE with my day by 7:30pm, not still needing to go grocery shopping. I still have housework to do when I get home so not getting home from my day of work/soccer until 7:30 stresses me out. Of course, some days I’ve realized we needed things by a certain time so I’ve had to run into Publix on the way home and grab that ONE THING because I don’t have time to grab anything else. Yesterday? I had to go to Publix TWICE. Once for the emergency Kitty Litter (I’m not used to paying attention to things I’m running out of because I go to the store every day) and once DURING soccer for real groceries. And that’s a pain because I had to go to the Publix by the soccer fields which I hate, and I had to do it during soccer practice which I also hate because I can’t monitor how it’s going.

So, I’ve decided that on Saturday, I’m going to try the Full Week Shopping Trip.

ACK.

This means trying to map out the full-week’s schedule and predict what’s going on when so I can plan a meal that takes the right amount of time to cook. This means really paying attention to how much of things we go through so that we don’t run out of Kitty Litter on a day I don’t have time to stop until 8pm. This means I have to plan for lunches and pre-soccer snacks and maybe some crockpot meals if my crockpot doesn’t go insane and cook on High all day instead of Low. I think I’ll still plan a “End Of The Day, Late Night” grocery trip to Publix every Wednesday so I can see the new week’s sales and have a mid-week day to pick up stuff I might run out of. So, in reality I’ll do one “BIG” trip on Saturdays and one “Refill” trip on Wednesdays and hopefully I’ll get a handle of shopping sales at Target an Publix on those days that way.

UG. Just thinking about all of that grocery shopping in ONE trip makes me insane. I hate having so many bags that I can’t carry them in on one trip. It’s part of having 13 stairs to your front door. It makes you hate big grocery trips.

So! Do you shop 1.5 times per week? What’s your secret? I’m sure I won’t get it perfect the first week, but my hope is that I only have to hit the store these two times every week. Do I need to write down everything we’re going to eat and attack the list that way? Do I need to hire a strapping young man to help me lug in all the groceries? How much cereal to my kids actually eat one week at a time? How much beer do I need for a whole week?