Running & Currency

While running this morning, I saw a penny on the ground. Hmmm, if I was walking I would stoop to pick up that coin. But not while running.

About a minute later I saw a silver coin on the ground; it looked like a dime. As I ran past the coin, I decided upon turning around, I will stoop to pick it up. And that’s what I did. The coin was a nickel, not a dime.

Guess I demonstrated today why some people advocate eliminating the penny.

Happy Fourth of July!

Let it turn brown?

A dilemma faced by homeowners when there is a significant stretch of little to no rain. Should I water the lawn or let it turn brown?

At first I didn’t water the lawn in the hope that Mother Nature would do her thing. Despite several forecasts of rain during the month of June, nothing!

So I begin watering. Some parts of the lawn are green, some brown.

In a tough economy, when one is not only counting every penny, but stretching those pennies, letting the grass turn brown may be one’s only option, especially if one doesn’t have extra money for a higher water bill.

High Usage Detected at your Address

An e-mail received from DC Water today. The message included an attachment which I could not open.

Not a surprise with high water usage. Let’s see- very little rain in the month of June. I started my vegetable garden in late May. I have two plots, plus two 4 x 4 raised beds, plus a container with a cherry tomato plant. These items must be watered daily.

Meanwhile last Fall I have three trees installed in my yard. Casey Trees, the organization that planted the trees, has sent e-mail reminders about watering the trees, especially young trees, when it is very hot.

So, in trying to be green, reducing my carbon footprint, growing my own, acquiring shade trees to help reduce the expense of cooling the house during the summer, I’ve racked up a high water bill. Hmmm, I can’t win!

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Ladies (& some guys) – I know you love to be pampered. One of the ways to treat yourself is to have a manicure & pedicure.

But before patronizing a new place, seek referrals from friends and colleagues. You want to avoid what happened to my friend.

She had a pedicure. She had some irritation with her feet. A friend noticed her feet and opined that she may have an infection. My friend visited a doctor who confirmed she had an infection. The doctor prescribed a topical treatment. The infection remained. So the doctor had to prescribe medication to be taken internally.

So don’t forget to inquire from friends or colleagues or inquire directly about practices & cleanliness of a nail salon.

Of course, there is one almost foolproof method to avoid an infection: give yourself a pedicure (& think abut the money you will save!

Where is my wallet?

Arrived at work this morning a little dehydrated. I had run for an hour this morning (had my protein shake after the run but the shake isn’t Gatorade or Coconut Water). After walking through security, I decided to purchase iced tea from the vending machine (I know, not the ideal drink but I needed something to quench my purse). So I reached into my bag for the wallet. No wallet. That’s odd. I checked my backpack (even though I know I did not place the wallet inside). No wallet.

I’m becoming concerned as I walk to the office. Upon arrival I checked both bags thoroughly. No wallet.

I begin to panic. Did I leave it on the Metrorail train? I don’t recall opening my bags on my short ride. I decided to call Metro. Unfortunately all operators were busy and I could not speak with a live person.

Only one option left, retrace my steps. Step #1 – back to Greenbelt Metro Station.

After exiting the grounds of the building, I walked toward the street to catch a bus. However as I am walking, a bus drives past. Great! I don’t the bus schedule this time of day and time is of the essence. I decide to walk to Greenbelt Metro Station, about a 20 minute walk.

Half way to the station a vehicle slows down next to me. It’s a Marriott Greenbelt shuttle bus. The elderly driver asks me if I am headed to the Metro Station. I respond, yes. He told he will take me to the station.

After hopping into the shuttle bus and kindly thanking the driver, I explained to him that I have lost my wallet. The driver said, no, not your wallet. He told me his son lost his wallet two days ago. His son has not had luck finding his wallet. The driver further informed me how his son has had to contact his credit card companies and obtain a duplicate drivers license (things I envisioned having to do myself).

Upon arriving at Greenbelt Metro Station, I thanked the driver once again for his kindness. I told him I hope his son’s wallet is found & returned. The driver wished me luck in finding my wallet. As I was preparing to exit the shuttle bus, the driver remarked he knew something was urgent by the pace of my walk.

I entered Greenbelt Metro Station and asked a Metro employee if a wallet had been turned in. He responds no.

Next step- go back to West Hyattsville Metro Station. Upon arriving at the station, I asked the Metro employee if a wallet had been turned in this morning. She replied no.

Two strikes. There are two other possibilities: the wallet is in my car or in my home (though I didn’t unpack my bags from the previous day; just added food).

Upon reaching my car at the parking lot, I see the wallet on the front passenger seat. Because I had my “car shade” up against the windshield, the wallet would have been visible if someone walked along the sides of my car.

I then recall the sequence of events. One bag was heavier than another. I attempted to evenly distribute the weight by adding more items to the lighter bag. Apparently my wallet fell out of the bag.

So grateful to have such a happy ending. My wallet contained my bank check card, my credit card, my health insurance, AAA card and of course my driver’s license.

Thank you Lord. The lost wallet has been found!

The Breakfast/Lunch Tension

Years ago, when stationed in Japan, there was a Burger King on base near the BOQ (Bachelor Officers’ Quarters). I walked in one Sunday just after 11:00 am expecting to purchase a breakfast biscuit. I was told only lunch items (burgers) were available. I was miffed. So I inquired, how come you don’t serve breakfast items later on the weekend? The manager responded, there are customers seeking burgers and french fries at 10:00 am. Ridiculous!

I LOVE breakfast menu selections more than lunch menu selection. And the “lunch” & “dinner” menus are the same at fast food restaurants thus the same items are served virtually ALL DAY. Hence, you would think these places would at least serve breakfast items for a longer period of time on the weekends.

Of course, the solution is not to grab a bite to eat at fast food restaurants. Sit down restaurants like Denny’s, Bob Evans and iHop are the places to patronize. But those sit down restaurants were not available at the Air Force Base in Japan.

And, not surprisingly, when having brunch at a restaurant, I ALWAYS select the breakfast items.

Limited cash-back transactions?

Who hasn’t been to a retail store, paid with a debit card and requested cash back, typically $20 or so? When receiving such a cash back, you, as the customer do not pay any fee for that cash transaction. Instead the retailer incurs the cost.

Well, a change is coming.

In the June 21, 2011 edition of The Wall Street Journal in an article entitled “Merchants Shred Costs of Plastic,” Robin Sidel writes in the third paragraph:

“Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. recently cut to $20 from $40 the amount of cash that customers can get back when making a debit-card purchase at some stores.”

This change is prompted by the upcoming limit on the interchange fee banks can charge merchants. Effective July 21, the debit card fee will drop about 75%, from an average of 44 cents to about 12 cents.

And more changes are likely.

– Stores may set minimum purchase amounts for credit card transactions (such as a minimum of $10).

– Some retailers may offer discounts to customers who pay in cash.

Although we as consumers have become accustomed to certain conveniences, it may not be as convenient to pay by credit card or debit card.

Mother Necessity (continued)

In my 2nd year of vegetable gardening, I’m learning that I should be creative & not be swayed by all the gadgets I see in the Gardeners’ Supply Catalog.

I’ll admit, I’m mechanically challenged. I purchased a “Garden Maypole” from the Gardeners’ Supply Catalog and envisioned having a bushel full of pole beans climbing that maypole. Yet, I could not assemble the thing!

And I ordered a cucumber trellis for a raised bed, a new item this year. Of course, I didn’t realize until I opened the box that they sent me the WRONG cucumber trellis, the full size one instead of the smaller one for a raised bed.

Well this evening I had to do something. So I pulled out a light weight orange safety & barrier fence along with soft wire. I encircled two cucumber plants in the raised bed with the safety & barrier fence. I used this “fence” to drape over the not fully assembled garden maypole. And also placed a layer of the “fence” next to a cucumber plant. The latter two are visible in a photo I posted on this blog.

Now I hope my contraption holds up. Mother Nature may not be kind. And then there’s wildlife and curious human beings.

Assembling support for my vegetables this evening reminded me that I managed last year with assembling a contraption for the pole beans that worked. Hmmm, maybe I’m more resourceful than I realize.

I will hence forth say NO to the Gardeners’ Supply Catalog. I will assemble what is needed to support my vegetable plants. And, I will save a boat load of money!

Mother Necessity

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P.S. The Best Way to Travel

Taking the train is great EXCEPT when the train’s engine dies. It took more than 1.5 hours for another train to arrive. Meanwhile, no engine, no air conditioning so it became rather “steamy” on the train.

Am now on the other train and awaiting for it to depart. As the passenger next to me remarked, hopefully we will make it to our destination without any additional problems.

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