Lifestyle

What Happens in Dollar General Stays in Dollar General

At the moment, I’m working between 60 and 70 hours a week.  Mostly due to the fact that I took a vacation during June’s month-end close, and we recently lost a staff accountant.  I’ve been purposely seeking time management tactics to help me balance my life a bit better during this time…. By the way, if you’re interested in that sort of thing… this isn’t a bad podcast…

I took the day off today even though I’m afraid I’ll regret it later in the month… yesterday I was interviewing someone and they asked me what CPA stood for and I honestly couldn’t remember.  So I decided this might be an indication that I need a break.

On the way home from work last night I called and scheduled myself for a massage.

As I was driving to Massage Envy today, I was thinking about the various errands I need to run, and thinking about ways I can manage my time better, get things off my plate, etc.  One of my weekly errands is going to Dollar General to pick up the week’s supply of Mountain Dew Kickstart, which is $1 at DG versus $1.35 at Wal-Mart.  (See this entry for more details about my addiction- Good news!  They’ve brought my flavor back to the States!)

As I was waiting for my massage therapist, I was wondering if I could find a way to get my Kickstart delivered, maybe I could even do some sort of auto-order service or something… so I looked it up, and sure enough, I can order it through Amazon and it’s even cheaper than Dollar General, and if I order a two month supply at a time, there wouldn’t be shipping… and hey look you can get an even bigger discount if you do an auto-order.

So I signed up.

My first order won’t arrive until Thursday though, and I currently have only one cold Kickstart in the fridge at home, which obviously is not enough to make it until Thursday.  So after my massage, I stopped at Dollar General to refill this week’s stash… One last time.

I filled up my cart with 6 Kickstarts and a candy bar, and got behind a woman who was buying three small items: deodorant, a pack of gum, and toenail clippers.

The clerk bagged her items in a very large bag.  The woman told her she didn’t need that big of a bag.  The clerk explained that they were out of normal sized bags, and these were all the bags she had.  The woman huffed and puffed, and made exaggerated movements lugging the huge heavy bag off of the counter… and stormed out of the store, pissed off at the universe.

The clerk sighed and began to ring up my items.

Clerk:  People are really freaking out about these bags.  I’m not sure what to tell them, we’re out of regular bags!

Me:  Did you see the way she drug that bag off the counter like it weighed 20 pounds?

Clerk:  Yeah you wouldn’t think a huge plastic bag would make her two pounds of stuff weigh that much, would you?

Me:  No, but I guess that’s why I’m an accountant and not a physicist.  Apparently, I just don’t understand the way the world works.

Customer behind me:  *guffaws*

The clerk finishes bagging my stuff, and apologizes for the huge bag. I told her I have bigger things to worry about, and I hope her day gets better.

I walk out to my car, pop the trunk, and load up my precious Kickstarts.  As I’m getting in the car, the man who was in line behind me walks out.  I notice him staring at the front of my car, turning as he walks past it to look back at it. He gets to the other side of the car and motions for me to roll down my window.  Thinking he’s about to tell me I have a flat tire or a dead body dragging, I oblige.

Him:  I know this is gonna sound weird, but… are you married?

Me:  Um. Well yes, I am.

Him:  Well damn. You’re a really beautiful woman. And you seem so sweet.

Me:  Aw. Thank you!

Him:  Do you live around here?

Me:  Oh, no, actually… I just stop here sometimes on my way home from errands to get my soda.

Him:  Oh. Well.  Maybe I’ll see you again sometime.  I live just up the road.  I’m in here all the time!

Me:  Ah. Well, maybe you will.  Have a good weekend!

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was hoping to never have to go to Dollar General again, thanks to Amazon.

Fate can be a cruel mistress sometimes.

Lifestyle

Cost Benefit Analysis

I just did something I’ve never done before in my life.

Not only have I never done this thing, never in my life have I ever even considered doing this thing.

And now that I’ve done it, I’m wondering what it says about the person I am today compared to the person I’ve been the last 42+ years.

For the first time in my career, my employer doesn’t offer regularly scheduled CPE for my CPA license.  They reimburse me for it, but I have to find it and take it more or less on my own time.  It’s just something I’ve never had to really worry about figuring out and making sure I get in until now.

So I’m doing this online class, for 16 CPE credits… and by “online class” I mean I download a 300 page document, “read” it, and then take an 80 question test.

There’s no time limit or anything (well I guess technically there is –  I need to get this done before December 31… ). I just need to get at least 80% on the test.  And!  if I should happen to fail, I could take the test over.  As many times as I want, actually.

I’ve been diligently working on the test here and there over the last couple months, reading the questions and finding the section in the 300 page document that covers that topic, reading it, and finding the answer I know is correct.

Tonight, I got to question 72.  I thought to myself, “Most of these answers seem to be B.  I wonder what would happen if I just answered the rest of these questions B.”  And I laughed at my joke.  Because, really, why would one blatantly not even try to answer a question on a test correctly?  I mean, an OPEN BOOK TEST.   Like, it’s foreseeable why one would just guess… I mean, it’s foreseeable but one would really only do that if they were in a huge hurry or actually really didn’t know the answer for sure.. then one might be okay with just narrowing down what seem to be the best choices and guessing… you know, if you were in a really really huge hurry.  Or if a man had a gun to your head and was saying… JUST GUESS.  YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO LOOK IT UP!  IF YOU LOOK IT UP I’LL SHOOT YOU.  Then it would probably be okay to… you know… guess.  In that scenario.  Yes, in that scenario, it would definitely be okay to just … guess.  In that scenario, it would be okay to just pick an answer willy-nilly, right?

But the man did say to GUESS.  To be a legitimate guess you have to read the question and at least try to figure out the best answer, right?  So in that scenario I couldn’t just say B to the rest of the questions, could I?  Because then he might shoot me for not following directions.  The man specifically said GUESS, didn’t he?  It’s important to follow directions! If you don’t, you could get yourself shot!

I thought to myself, “Wait, hold up.  No one’s going to shoot you, first of all.  (Why are you even thinking about that… you need help!). Second of all, you’ve already looked up 71 answers.  You’re going to pass.  Just choose B for the rest of them.  Chill out.  Jut answer the questions.”

Anyway, just to be sure, I checked to see how many questions I had to get right in order to pass (56).. and figured I was on question 72, and I was sure about all of maybe 2 of my answers… and I thought again, “Why are you doing this??  Just answer the questions.  Pick a letter.  Submit the test.  Get back to your Saturday night!”

So I read question 72 and tried to think, based on my basic level of professional knowledge about impairment of goodwill, what might be the answer?  I got halfway through the choices and thought, “Why are you doing this??  Just pick a letter.  Submit the test.  Get back to your Saturday night!”

*BIG SIGH*

*WINCE*

I clicked:  B, B, B, B, B, B, B, B, B

9 B’s.

My hand hovered over the mouse, positioned over “SUBMIT TEST”.

I asked myself… are you SURE you want to do this?

*DEEP BREATH*

Yes.  I’m sure.

<click>

I waited with baited breath for my score.

I passed!  88%!!!!

Now… back to my regularly scheduled Saturday night.

Be honest.  Do you think less of me?

Lifestyle

Logos and Keystone Habits

I’m excited that soon I will be adding my very own, custom-made logo to the blog.  I may also be making some color scheme changes.  Once I get that all lined out, I plan to take the blog’s Facebook page live as well, which I’m also super-excited about.

I created a design contest on designhill to make the logo.  I was apprehensive about it, especially the part where you have to pay up front, not having any idea if you were going to get what you wanted from the service (they do have a money-back guarantee, but I’m always so skeptical).  But, I got a lot of really great submissions, and it was a lot of fun!  I just now, minutes ago, selected a winner, and we’re in the final revision/ handover stage, so I’ll have to wait and give my final review on the service once it’s all finished, but I don’t anticipate any problems.

So… stay tuned, I can’t wait to see how it will look once it all comes together!

In other news, I subscribe to Amy Lynn Andrews‘ weekly “Userletter”, which is mostly about blogging, but also usually mentions one or two other cool lifestyle tips, etc… I’m really enjoying it.  This week’s edition had a link this article about “Keystone Habits”.  No spoilers… but I’m feeling pretty smug because I can honestly say I have instituted 5/8 of those habits on a pretty solid basis.  I don’t know about #8, though.  I’m not sure I would consider willpower a habit?  Anyway, it’s worth a read.

I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

Lifestyle

Drive It Like You Stole It

The best April Fools’ prank I ever played was on my then-husband, in 2001.  We were about halfway through our short marriage (we only made it a little over a year).  The Saturday night of March 31, he had gone out drinking with a buddy.  I don’t recall where I was when he left, but I wasn’t home.

Around 1 a.m. on April 1, I woke up to find he still hadn’t made it home.  I slept restlessly the rest of the night, expecting to hear him come stumbling in any minute.  I realized around 5 a.m. that he probably wasn’t coming home.

Around 6:30 a.m., I got up.  Standing at the screen door, looking out into the driveway, I pondered how mad I should be about the fact that my husband stayed out all night without even bothering to call me.  My gaze settled on his prize 1994 Mustang.  It was a burnt orange color, with a decal on the back of the tinted glass window, portraying a bucking wild mustang and the words:  DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT.

And I had an idea.

Around 9:30 a.m., a white Ford truck pulled into the driveway, carrying my hungover husband.  I saw it pull up, but I hurried back to the back bedroom and busied myself, pretending to do school work (I was in college at the time).

Eventually, he ventured into the house.  Rather boldly, I thought, for a man who had just stayed out all night without so much as courtesy call to his young bride.

I heard him rustling around in the front room, then by and by making his way to the bathroom, and I guess he got a glimpse of me at my desk in the back bedroom, and he started.

“I didn’t think you were home!”

Casually, I looked up, “Where else would I be?”

His eyes widened, “Wait!  Where’s the Mustang?”

I raised my eyebrows, “Did you forget where you parked it last night?”

“What do you mean, where I parked it?”

I stood up from the desk, “I assume you drove it home.”

“When?  Today?”

“Um, yes, today.  What are you talking about?”  I forced my face into the most incredulous look I could muster.

“I didn’t drive last night.  Jack picked me up!”  then I saw a wave of realization cross his face, as he deduced what must have happened, spinning around to run through the house out the door, to the driveway.

I followed after him, calling, “What is your problem?”

“The Mustang!  Where is the Mustang?”

Standing in the middle of the driveway, he seemed to be inspecting the gravel, “Was it here when you got home yesterday?”

“No, I thought you drove it to Jack’s.”

“NO!  JACK PICKED ME UP.  CALL THE POLICE!  THE MUSTANG’S BEEN STOLEN.”

He was seriously in despair.

In the corner of my eye, in the upstairs window of the house next door, I saw the curtain move.  My neighbor (my accomplice) was watching from above.

Opening the window, she hollered out, “What’s all the commotion about?”

“Gina!” my husband cried to her, “When was the last time you saw my Mustang?”

Gina screwed her face up thoughtfully, “Your orange car?”

“YES, YES MY ORANGE CAR!  MY MUSTANG.”

Gina shrugged, “I guess I saw it … yesterday when I got home from work.”

“Well did you see anyone around here?  Someone stole my Mustang!”

“Oh, surely not!  I would have heard someone if they were here.  I mean, you didn’t leave your keys  in it or anything, did you?”  Gina offered, helpfully.

“Of course I didn’t leave my keys in it!”  he turned to me, “Where’s the other set of keys?”

I nodded towards the house, “On the hook by the door, like they always are.”

“Call the police!” he repeated, as he began pacing the driveway, inspecting the gravel, “Do you see any unusual tire tracks?” he asked Gina.

“You want me to call the police?” I asked him.

“Well, I don’t know what else to do!”

“Well, why don’t you call the police?  Do you not know how to use a phone?”

“Ginger!  Just call the damn police!”  he snapped.

“I just wondered.  Maybe the reason you didn’t call me to tell me you were going to stay out all night was because you don’t know how to use a phone?”

“Waylon stayed out all night?”  Gina piped in.

“Ginger, can you worry about that later!  MY MUSTANG’S BEEN STOLEN!”

Gina giggled.

Calmly, I said to him, “Waylon, do you even know what day it is?”

He squinted at me, “It’s Sunday.  What’s your point?”

“But do you know the date?”

Waylon sighed, “Ok, I’ll call the police my damn self!”

As he was heading to the house, Gina called out the window, “Wait, think about this a minute, Waylon!  What’s today’s date?”

“I don’t know what that has to do with any fucking thing!”

The screen door slammed.

Gina, laughing, stage-whispered to me, “You better tell him before he actually calls the police!”

I ran after him, now on the verge of laughter myself, finding him rummaging through the a kitchen drawer, fishing out the phone book.  “Do I call the non-emergency number, you think?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know if the police department is open today.  You know, it being a holiday and all,” I  informed him.

“What holiday is it?”

“It’s April First.  It’s April Fools’ Day.  And your car has not been stolen.  Gina and I took it and hid it at my mom’s house.  And you, my dear, are an April Fool!”

While this was processing, I added, “And next time you’re going to stay out all night?  Your ass better call your wife.”