This was a much busier week, grocery shopping-wise! Lots of small trips and did a big multi-stop shop on Tuesday after my massage. It’s such a good time to do that because I have to get out of the house and I can take a route back home that hits all of the major stores so I’m not going out of my way at all and wasting gas money.

Birthday was ok. I wish I could say I was super excited and it was awesome, but really I just felt kinda bleh about the whole thing. It was my 30th and while I did go out and have dinner and drinks with a couple of friends, my head just wasn’t really into the party spirit. Dinner was nice with a friend I haven’t really gotten much chance to hang out with outside of work, and then drinks started out pretty good with a couple other friends. But drinks was the sole activity (no darts, pool, etc) so I just literally sat at the bar drinking rum & coke after rum & coke and chatting a bit. The two friends didn’t know each other so that can be a bit challenging conversation wise. I dunno….it was basically just drinking with the sole intention of getting drunk….which I did magnificently. Pretty sure I was shoveled into the car by my friend Craig and shoveled into bed at home. I have a feeling that I wasn’t too good of company for him all in all, which is too bad. My personal life is in SUCH a stall right now, birthday celebrations just felt a little forced. Hopefully things improve in that department soon.

Ok, back to groceries! I definitely have THAT department all figured out! Here’s the week in pictures:

Safeway: $6.05 & $6.10

More cheese! Apparently the $2/$10 e-coupon is still on my card, so with a printed $2/$10 Lucerne products coupon, all these dairy items were 40% off! $0.75 per 80z bags of cheese (since somehow apparently I ran out of mozzarella), more feta and cottage cheese. Free silk almond milk singles too! And onions that were basically free from a Just4You pricing error.

$1.99

FREE!

Albertson’s: $6.87 OOP,  $1.87 actual cost!

Lots of great freebies at Albies with the $1/1 Albertson’s brand coupon: pasta, ketchup, mustard, marinade. A catalina deal on the razors + deodorant, I took my $5 catalina coupon to Fred Meyer’s since I was doing some gardening purchases. See below! $1.99 baguette to take to work with bruschetta from my reclaimed produce boxes – yum!

Fred Meyer: $0.54!

I took the $5 catalina that I earned at Albertson’s from the razor deal and used it at Freddy’s for a hanging plant bracket that I needed anyways.

Target: $6.12

Ok, because I am TOTALLY lame and ridiculously frugal (and maybe just not feeling my birthday), I took the $30 giftcard that my mom sent me to Target for my bday and used it on pet supplies. Hey! I NEEDED dog food and cat litter and I was just gonna buy them at Walmart instead. Probably got a better price at Target combining store and manufacturer coupons…..$3 off the dog food, $3.50 off the 35lb cat litter, $3.05 off the cat food. Plus a lonely can of enchilada sauce for $0.57 to make layered chicken & black bean enchilada casserole with. Truly though, I have been very pleased on how much I have been able to save with my pet supplies lately by thinking outside of the box. Just in the last 3 months I have:

-Bought dog & cat food at Rite Aid capitalizing on manufacturer coupons + my 20% wellness discount and using UP rewards that I earned in moneymaking transactions to pay the bulk of the rest of the cost – paying nearly only tax OOP.
-Bought cat litter at Albertson’s on sale + manufacturer coupons + doublers + catalinas = cheap!
-Bought cat food at Fred Meyer’s using manufacturer coupons and paying with catalinas earned at Albies and Rite Aid
-Bought all of the above at Target combining manufacturer and store coupons and using a gift card to pay the majority of the balance!

By doing this, I have vastly reduced my OOP expenses for these items – which would typically run $40-50/mo – to less than $10-15/mo! Pet supplies are kinda like cheese and meat — always needed, generally can’t get for free, and a good place to use UP rewards or catalinas earned from other moneymaking transactions!

Rite Aid: $49.57 OOP, $45.57 actual cost ***

***BUT that includes the purchase of a $50 gift card to Lowe’s! (See the next pic for what an awesome haul I got!) So reaaallly it’s like $0.43MM oop and $4.43MM actual cost.  The $50 gift card had a promo where you get $10 UP, bringing the true cost of it down to $40 for $50 of merchandise. Sweet! An excellent way to save money on gardening supplies that i was going to buy anyways. Other highlights:

FREE big bags of sour patch kids!
$0.49MM Kotex liners
$0.39 sink stopper! (unadvertised UP + wellness discount – sweet!)
More $0.05 Milano cookies 🙂

Lowe’s: $0.38 OOP ($50.38 actual cost)

Sooo…..after picking up that handy $50 gift card at Rite Aid, I wandered around the garden department at Lowe’s. I knew I wanted a few things: a hanging basket, some more strawberries, and 1 or 2 hanging baskets of flowers. Here’s what I got:

Lovely hanging basket of petunias – $20
Empty hanging basket (to plant big strawberry plant in!) – $6
BIG strawberry plant with lots of strawberries already ripening (the less likely for me to kill it off) – $5!
Medium cherry tomato plant – $4
4-pack of broccoli (I fully expect to kill this within a week or two) – $2
Small trellis for snap peas or tomato – $4
Garden twine – $2
Hand trowel – $3

I am now ready to plant! I have 2 hanging plant brackets to install, one for the petunias, one for the big strawberry plant in new basket. I have another round planter to put the tomato plant and small strawberry plant in. I have a long rectangle planter to put the snap peas & broccoli in. And lots of organic potting soil from a couple of weeks ago! I think I will stick with just this for this year. Though I *may* get another flower basket. And I’ll probably stalk for more veggies later in the summer if I don’t manage to kill all of these ones. This is definitely my most ambitious gardening year ever!

Reclaimed Food: FREE!

Another different week in Adventures in Produce. A fairly standard, though smaller selection from the local grocery. And at the natural foods co-op – fairly quiet except for the HUGE berry score! I just had an ice cream maker given to me from a coworker so I am SO making some strawberry sorbet! Oh yes I am.

10 ears of corn – frozen
4 heads of lettuce
4 tomatoes – oven-dried for salads
6lbs of strawberries – 1/2 for eating, 1/2 for sorbet
2lbs fresh green beans – I need to find a good recipe using these
one sad carrot
one white potato
one head of garlic (yay!)
one bunch  parsley – dried
8oz raspberries – snacking
a few blackberries – ate them!

I am making a chicken, black bean and corn layered enchilada casserole this weekend. It’s awesome to know that the tortillas were free, the black beans were $0.25, the enchilada sauce was $0.57, the chicken will be about $0.80, and all the rest of the produce was FREE! So that’s $1.62 for a 5-6 serving meal or ~$0.30 per serving! I LOVE couponing!

Ok, even more shocking, I didn’t buy hardly any alcohol this week. Granted, it was my birthday Sunday and I knew I’d be going out drinking (and having it paid for/comp’d) Which was lovely. Happy hour dinner and a glass of wine my coworker friend paid for. One free drink from the bartender I know there. And then all my drinks at the casino were free because the bartender is the boyfriend of my other friend from work who I met there. So FREE birthday outing = yay!

Weekly Total: $24.71!!

I am so excited that even with all those stops AND cheese stocking up I still managed to stay under my $25/wk budget! Course, no alcohol helps with that. Wait….there WAS a bottle of wine…..

As you may have noticed, I did NOT include the gardening supplies in that total, I just didn’t think it was fair to put it in this category. For budgeting purposes, it will go under home improvements.

Gardening supplies: $50.95

I am now officially on vacation for the next 10 days! What will I do? Well square dancing tomorrow night, next Saturday my friend is having a Pride party, I plan to actually plant and situate my balcony plants, and spend plenty of time in the sun in the park and at the beach (if we actually GET any). Of course, the grocery adventures won’t stop either!

Happy hunting!
~Lissa

So work has been incredibly busy and emotionally draining the last 6 months or so. Usually in the winter we have a few months where things slow down a bit, but not this year! Good thing all in all but we are very tightly staffed so we have all been run ragged. Plus we have had a disproportionate number of very old, very sick, very not-going-to-get-better-what-the-hell-is-the-goal-here-exactly cases. These are part of ER/Critical care work but we have had SO MANY. All the time. And we have been doing SOO many surgeries at night. The last 2 years I’ve worked at this hospital I do maybe one major surgery on my shift every 2-3 weeks. The last 6 months? One about every 2 out of 3 shifts. A surgery cuts 4-8 hours out of the day so it’s a huge encumbrance to deal with.

Suffice it to say, I’m a bit fatigued. It’s not exactly burn-out, I still enjoy my work and really enjoy the place I work at. But I definitely have some compassion fatigue going on and generalized worn-out exhaustion. I have a 10 day vacation in a month with plans to do a lot of nothing so that should help some. In general, I have been thinking about an exit plan for the last year or so — what to do when I no longer can/want to do clinical medicine.

Today I was doing some wistful thinking about only working part-time in clinics. Seems like a far-off dream when Pets At Home had built up more, or I was burning out, or when I had enough money saved to take a plunge to develop PAH. And then I ran the budget numbers this morning. Guess what I discovered?

I can go to 2/3 time. Right. Now. If I want to.

Wow.

What with the raises of the last year (this week was RaiseDay for the first time in 3 years at work for performance raises and I got $0.33/hr!) and new savings in grocery spending…..I am in a position to move from fulltime (3 shifts/week) to 2/3 time (2 shifts/week) – WITHOUT changing my lifestyle one teeny little bit. The only requirements? Cut my monthly savings from $1000/mo to $650/mo, drop my gym membership $50/mo (that I have been terrible about using anyways), work 1 extra shift/mo, and make at least $250/mo with PAH (or work a total of 2 extra shifts/mo). Even if I don’t take ANY extra shifts or make ANY money with PAH (not a realistic turn of events) – I would just cut my savings contribution that month and still come out ahead.

This is a mind-boggling realization and very tempting! I *think* that I could likely even get away with it at work without too many repercussions. I see a definite potential for my missing shift to be covered easily, I still have private health insurance to compensate for the employer-paid, and I would still be part-time enough to qualify for lowered amounts of other benefits (paid time off, uniform allowance, CE allowance, etc). So I would hopefully lose nothing by dropping one shift/mo — and gain more sleep, more time to develop other things like speeches, CE presentations, and setting up/promoting PAH. Also would have more flexibility in my schedule to take a greater number of PAH jobs — so I can actually work towards promoting for more business! As PAH profit grows, I could if I wanted to continue stepping back from clinical practice. I think realistically I could be entirely out of scheduled clinical practice within a year or two if I desired to develop PAH that fast.

My poor HR manager, she’s going to really be blindsided when I talk to her about this during my mentor meeting on Thursday. We’ve lost a number of long-term people in the last few months and have had a huge graveyard shift turnover for the 2nd time in 8 months. This is going to worry and stress her but I think it may actually be an opportune time for the clinic — I see a very easy way to staff my missing shift. Plus, this is better than totally burning out and leaving altogether. I hope she will be able to be behind me on this and we will be able to make it happen. It’s such a bizarre and thrilling idea to NOT work fulltime! And to potential be on the track to never have to work fulltime again.

I’ll keep you posted!

My 1st Paycheck

August 6, 2011

I have some exciting news!!!

I just paid myself my first paycheck!!!!!! EEEEEEEeeeeEEEE!!!

lol, I know, you’d think I’d never worked a day in my life. But this is the first check I have made out to myself from my own business. Yes, it’s officially been open for nearly a year (October 1st, 2010 if anyone wants to know). And yes, I had already “turned a profit”…..since there is almost no overhead, so I could have been paying myself before now. But since I did not fund this business with any capital, I wanted to make sure there was a little bit in the bank account to help get things set up more in a few months. July was the 1st month that I calculated the gross income and then made out a check for the 75% that I had determined so long ago would be my percentage when working a job personally.

So on August 3rd, I deposited my 1st paycheck for $600!! (gross: $800) I am (obviously) very excited about this and would be no matter the amount. But the fact that it is a fairly signifanct amount? I am THRILLED!! It was about mid-way through July when I looked at the schedule for the month, as well as some preplanned jobs for August that I realized how much I was bringing in. That’s when I determined that hey, this seems to be rolling right along now – maybe I am in a good position to start actually paying myself!  And so here I am. From this point forward I do not plan to “baby” the business, but to partake of it as a success – even at this small scale level. At the end of each month I will total the income, figure my standard share, and write myself a check. As for growth, in the next few months (after VECCS in September), I intend to:

  • Solidify the underlying business structure
  • Network to find potential contract employees
  • Develop a marketing strategy
  • Market and promote the business to new clinics & increase referrals in my current ones

My current monthly household budget requires me to make an extra $600-800/mo. (Without counting any PAH income) Which is 3-5 relief shifts, depending on day vs. night, overtime vs. outside clinics, length of shift.

As it stands now, that $600 paycheck I just paid myself is equivalent to 2 overtime graveyard shifts or 3 overtime day/swing shifts! Plus, I am on track currently for August to receive a paycheck from PAH of $450 even if no more clients appear before the end of the month.  And I have already scheduled  $500 worth of overtime relief shifts, plus 2 days of on-call that if called I am called in, will result in a minimum of $100 each, up to $200 each. So I am well situated for August, and in September I am not currently scheduling any extra shifts!

I am just so happy that the business is going well, despite the little efforts I have made to grow it. I have several returning clients and that is the best recommendation of all.

www.petsathomenw.com

Holy Granola Bar!

July 8, 2011

Ok, I have officially survived the Great Granola Bar Catalina Deal.

It was a little iffy. This was like the deal that Wouldn’t Die.

I don’t have a picture of the true extent of it because every time I thought it was over, it continued. And I was not about to try and gather all the boxes (and a bunch were already gone anyways), just to take a pic.

Grand total: 68 boxes of Nature’s Valley and Fiber One granola bars for $21.50. That equals $0.32/box. Oh yeah, and 4 free gallons of milk. That is CRAZY!!!!

It started 2 weeks ago (see the last post!)…. There were a few low value coupons available but doublers made it better. There was a catalina double dip with 2 different catalinas for each set of 4 boxes bought. Stock was sold out. I bought 8 boxes. (one trip)

Then last week both catalinas ended up carrying over for the full sales week. The milk catalina unexpectedly carried over for a couple of days. Even without doublers and the low value insert coupons, boxes could be had for only 0.50/box. I bought 12 more boxes early in the week. (one trip)

And then it was July. And new online printable coupons were released on coupons.com. Higher value for ALL the various granola bars. Plus even slightly higher value ones from pillsbury.com. 2 prints each site per computer. I printed from 3 work and one home computer. And on Tuesday, the last day of the sale, I headed to a nearby store to see what was left in stock.

They had a TON. (no granola thins but WHO CARES!). In a single shopping trip I bought 40 more boxes!!! I got a wide range of varieties/flavors and there were multiple boxes of each left on the shelf. It was a quiet afternoon in the store and I spent about 40 minutes at the self-checkout running my 10 transactions through – 4 boxes at a time (because of the catalinas). The cashier was so nice and patient!

Finally the week was over, both catalinas are dead, and I have a zillion boxes of granola bars to bring to work and filter into the candy drawer so everyone has tasty and healthy snacks on busy days! As well as a couple of coworkers who took home several boxes each. 🙂 Who’s the most popular coworker ever???

In other shopping news this week:

Thank God Albertson’s didn’t have much else in the way of deals (or doublers!). There was a good buy 10 save $5 sale that I did twice, once at the beginning of the week, once at the end. I got:

(11) boxes of brownies – 0.49
(9) cans veggies – 0.49
-(5) 0.55/1 brownie printable
-(6) 0.40/1 brownie insert
= $4.65 (brownies = 0.24 for 11 boxes!)

Brownies will also be making their way to work this summer…….again, campaigning for most popular coworker 😀

I had a few deals lined up for Rite Aid last week but I was so tired that I ended up skipping it. They were all things I had stock of already so I didn’t feel too compelled to exhaust myself with the effort. I thought about skipping this week too, but there has ended up with a couple of good moneymakers so I will *probably* go tomorrow. We’ll see! The grocery stores are all snoozers this week (thank goodness!) and I am well stocked on most everything so it will be a very light weekend for me!

Maybe I’ll actually get some studying done? Pray for sunshine!

Take Care
~Lissa

Trooping on

February 25, 2011

Today was one of those odd days at work. It went really fast and I stayed occupied, but looking back I’m not sure how I stayed so busy! One great save….a cat with a clotting issue (suspect it got into ratbait) that we figured it out quick and got blood transfusions in and brought it back from the brink of death! very satisfying case.

So….once AGAIN, I said “phew, it’s a slow week at the grocery stores and Rite Aid. I can chill out the crazy coupon shopping”. Once again, I am proving myself wrong. While the week’s sales are not many, the things that ARE great deals are big ones. And I have meat coupons for Safeway that expire 2/28 ($2 off any beef purchase…no minimum required! So I’m getting lots of packs of single cheaper steaks and small packs of stew meat for just over $2/pk minus $2 coupon = nearly free! I had 24 of these coupons, have to use them in separate transactions so I’ve been slowly buying beef for like 5 weeks. And at RiteAid, there is a HUGE sale (equaling $0.30/item) of Johnson & Johnson baby products that there is a zillion different coupons out for. Stock is limited and running out everywhere so its multiple stores/trips to gather them. AND I have rainchecks for deodorant from last week that I have coupons for to equal $0.80 moneymakers per item. The problem is that those coupons expire in 2 days and I actually made the mistake of BUYING the coupons. So I have 15 coupons left and if I don’t find at least 10 more deodorants to purchase with them in the next 2 days, I won’t break even on the deal. It’s not a huge deal if I don’t, but I hate to end up paying for a deal that should have been free (or make money!) just because I didn’t pay attention. I wouldn’t have bought the extra coupons if I had realized the expiration date was only ONE week out from the sales week. I KNEW that I’d be needing rainchecks and that it would probably take 2-4 weeks to gather all the stock….at least without running around to all 5 area stores 3 times this week. SOOO this week I’ve been stopping at a different Safeway & Rite Aid on my way home from work each morning. It’s worked out….I’ve picked up 2-5 J&J baby products each time, gathered some other raincheck items at RA and a couple of other weekly deals, bought 2-3 meat packages a day, and not extended my day too much. Now down to 1 meat coupon and need 10 more deodorants (have coupons for 15 though). Luckily all the area RA get their supply trucks in today. So on my way to work tonight going to stop at one (hope they have deodorant!) and stop at another (or two) on the way home tomorrow. I’ll be glad to get ANY more of those deodorants! And count it as a lesson learned.

Ok that’s a lot of expanding on the coupon thing. Basically: it’s going well. I love it, even when I’m frustrated by it. It’s a very fun new hobby. As for SB, I’m very happy with how things are going. I’m definitely still working on convincing myself to do better on the exercise front though I think that will be easier once spring comes along. Food is going much better than I thought it would and drinking is drastically improved. Yay!

I still need to do a weekly meal plan, though I’ve been doing ok through this week “winging it”:

B: HB egg, chicken, a few grapes, Motts veggie/jucie medley
L: steak, mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus, coffee
S: veggies w/ hummus, 2 oreos
D: tuna alfrdo w/ ww rotini, cauliflower/carrot/cranberry steamers, sparkling vitamin zero cranberry
S: 1/2 apple w/ PB, greek yogurt w/ jello powder

Did do exercises yesterday morning. Today not so much. Tonight is the last day of work and then 4 off. Have a TON of stuff I need to get down this weekend. Errands, housework, Pets at Home business, SB planning, etc. Going to sleep now!

Yeah so I suck at blogging. I have been busy umm…… doing my VECCS application? Working? Holiday-ing?

I however do not suck at couponing. I have kept it up, but not done much in the last couple weeks since the pre-Christmas extravaganza sales. I picked up a bunch of stuff at 50-75% off clearance Xmas at RiteAid, including a set of TV tables for $10! YAYAYAY! I saw those in the Christmas section back in December and held out hoping that they would be part of the clearance sales. My patience was rewarded. 😀

Well, my munching and binge-eating that had been exacerbated by my heavy drinking and complete lack of exercise has come to an end. I decided to stop all of that stuff come the New Year, but I wasn’t sure how I’d go about it. I ended up making the choice to go back to the South Beach diet. I did it last summer and it went pretty well. I was a bit of a cheater, especially with alcohol, so I wanted to do better this time. The exercise is harder since it is January and freezing cold/rainy out and I don’t want to go outside to do walks. Instead, I am going to focus on the exercises from the book and do intervals in the halls/stairwells of the apartment complex. I also want to try and go ice skating once a week and get back in square dancing one or twice a month (maybe more, who knows!).

The funny thing is, I haven’t had ANY trouble doing Phase one this time. In Phase one you cut out all starches, sugar, alcohol, and fruit. The purpose is to regulate your blood glucose and eliminate cravings. I remember from last time that I was AMAZED when it worked! However, last time I only made it one week before I started transitioning to Phase two. Part of that was that it was summer and there was such awesome fruit around, part of it was that my birthday fell at the end of week one and I splurged with Olive garden gluttony and didn’t want to go back to the strictness of Phase one, and part of it was that i had a really hard time with finding enough acceptable food choices and getting enough veggies in. I did ok, but only lasted 6 weeks on phase two (with plenty of phase 3 (and more) cheats before I pretty much gave up shortly after the 4th of July. I haven’t reverted to eating HORRIBLY, but I stopped trying as much to eat WW pasta/rice, starting eating more processed snack crackers/chips, ate lots less veggies, much bigger portions, and got REALLY bad with drinking. And oh yeah….there was Christmas. And cookies and fudge. OMG sooooo yummy.

I knew for at least the last couple weeks of December that I was going to get back on track come the new year. So I ate whatever I wanted and savored it. By the time Jan 3rd rolled around, I didn’t even want to drink any of the rum I have left, or eat another cookie/candy. So that was helpful!

For some reason, i am having a much easier time staying on track this time around and finding tasty meals and eating all my veggies and other stuff appropriately. Maybe because I already looked into all this last time? Maybe I’m growing as a person….ha ha.

I don’t want to chronicle all of my dieting exploits here, as I am putting them into my diet journal at http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=99628 and double blogging is DEFINITELY way too much work! If you’d like to follow my progress and daily meal reports, check in there. 🙂 I’d be happy to hear from you!  Please note, I am NOT doing this as a diet. Do I have weight to lose? I have fat to lose, but that will come with exercise, not weight loss dieting. My weight has been right about 115lbs for several years now. It crept up and hovered for some time to 120 last summer which is why I went on SB then. I essentially lost an average of 5lbs and have stayed at 115 since then, which I think is my “normal” so I am happy with my results from the summer.

I would love to be a size 5 jeans again, but that is all about my butt/thighs, which need cardio and strength training to slim down! I expect that whatever fat weight I lose would be made up in gained muscle weight, which would be fine by me. When I say “diet” in reference to SB, I mean that in a what I eat way of living diet, not a weight loss diet. I want to have more energy, more endurance, more strength, more flexibility, and less binge-i-ness!

So here’s to 2011! I know resolutions can be super-optimistic and shortlived, most of mine for 2010 were. Here’s the run-down for 2011:

1. Stick to SB diet, Phase 2 for at least 3 months, then if ok, Phase 3 indefinitely
2. Outside of SB, new drinking rules: no drinking between work shifts during workweek, only drinking when in a good mood, no more than 2 glasses of wine or one mixed drink when home alone, ok to drink more if with friends
3. Exercise! Stick with it! SB exercises EOD-q3days, yoga 2x weekly, walking/intervals EOD-q3days, ice-skating 2-4x monthly, dancing 1-2x monthly.
4. Get Pets At Home up and running. While income is majorly variable depending on level of busyness/employee numbers, aim for my income to be minimum $500/mo ($700-$3400 gross income depending on if I’m taking the jobs vs. employees)(35hr/mo-170hr/mo)
5. Get accepted to take VECCS exam (March), study daily SOMETHING, take test at VECCS (Sept), pass and get VTS (ECC) in November!
6. Date!

Well I think that is enough noble and valiant goals for one month. I’ll check in next year to give you the full rundown on how it went. And of course, you’ll here tidbits about them all here and there in the weeks to come!

Maybe next time I’ll give you a coupon post…..do you feel lucky? I have big plans for Rite Aid this weekend……

Take Care,
Lissa

My Christmas letter

December 16, 2010

Just a quick post here, a total cop-out. I put together my Christmas cards tonight and here is the letter that I put in them, a (very) quick summary of my year:

Merry Christmas!

This year has been busy here in Seattle! In March I started a new job at a renowned emergency and referral veterinary hospital. I have worked relief shifts at this clinic over the last couple of years, and in March they called me up and essentially offered me my dream position. I can’t believe I have been there for 10 months already, the time has gone soo fast!

Finally I got tired of commuting over an hour each way, and with the onset of this new job, I decided to move up to Seattle. I found a wonderful apartment just a few blocks off the beach in a neighborhood on the north side of Seattle. The dogs are happy as there is an off-leash dog park on the beach and a big park with trails just next door. I am happy because there is a dishwasher and laundry faucilities! My house in Yelm is rented out to a couple that I knew from work and they have been doing tons of landscaping work to the property. I feel really lucky to have found such great tenants!

I have been working hard over the last few months to get my application finished to get my emergency and critical care nursing specialization. This is a prestigious title/acknowledgement in the veterinary field and I have wanted it for a long time! Hopefully I will hear good news in the spring that I have been accepted to take the boards for the exam.

Just to make my life a litttle more hectic, I decided to start my own business with my best friend. It is called Pets At Home and is an in-home pet nursing service. Basically, just like people can have home nurses, now pets will be able to also. As I have been very busy this fall with my emergency application packet, we have not done really any promotion and therefore business is slow. I have had a couple of clients which has been an absolute success and have received some incredible feedback. In January I am going to start serious promotion and expect that this may snowball quite quickly once we get going! The idea is to eventually have other employees contracted to take the nursing jobs themselves, and I will be mainly doing coordination and scheduling. I love my “real” job and don’t want to give that up, but I think that Pets At Home is a very needed and desired service in this area and might just end up being a huge business if handled right!

All the pets are doing well. Ember & Tristan the Huskies, and FooFoo the black cat, Fancy the Siamese cat, and Raymond the snuffly gray tuxedo cat are all happy and causing their typical havoc on my house and sanity.

Here’s wishing you all a happy and healthy holidays and a successful 2011!

~Love,
Lissa

In the land of darkness

November 22, 2010

I have been sick. Horribly terribly wretchedly sick. And yes, I realize I am blowing it out of proportion. After all, it was a cold. A typical cold, here and developed and basically passed in a week’s time. But it feels like it has been quite a while since my last full cold and I as always forgot how much it SUCKS.

It started with a tickle in the throat on Sunday. I started taking my Zicam. I applauded myself on the fact that I had plenty of Zicam and cold meds and cough drops stocked up from my RiteAid trips. Monday I woke to the apartment covered in vomit and diarrhea from the dog’s stupid forage through the trash the night before. Awesome. I rented a steam cleaner and proceeded to clean carpets thoroughly twice in the next 24 hours. Tuesday I woke to go to work feeling slightly run-down, the cough starting, and my back on fire from my unwise decision to clean the carpets myself. A long night ensued, with frequent applications of Zicam and Ibuprofen. Wednesday night my back felt somewhat better, but the cold was starting to descend into my lungs. Halfway through the night my body decided it was really just quite done with this working thing. The cold ascended into my nose and sinuses, making life miserable and working frustrating. I cursed that i hadn’t brought any cold meds with me, just cough drops which I didn’t need. I helped with treatments and then collapsed in a heap in the break room with a blanket in between. The morning was excruciating to get through and the second reinforcements started to arrive I ran for home.

Thursday and Friday are a blur of chicken noodle soup, hot tea, Zicam, cold meds, kleenex, and my trusty heating pad. I spent much time in my recliner dazedly watching shows online. No talking on the phone, no internet browsing, no coupon organizition-ing, and happily the dog’s could sense my misery and allowed me to simply drag myself outside only twice a day to let them have potty breaks.

By Saturday I finally felt human again. I had traded days…working Saturday for a co-worker (she worked my Thursday night thank god). So it worked out ok, I didn’t have to call in sick on Thursday like I would have. Work on Saturday was fine, I kept up on Zicam but was surprised when my back lit on fire again. Apparently the rest of the last 2 days coupled with the Acetaminophen in the cold meds had hid that my back was still completely screwed up from that demented steam cleaner. So Ibuprofen joined the regimen again.

Tonight I don’t feel too bad. I’ve actually made real dinners the last couple of days. My back is still a mess, I will hopefully get into the chiropractor tomorrow and then I have a massage appointment on Tuesday. Wednesday I fly to Nebraska to visit family over the holiday so if I’m lucky my back will be recovered by then. Otherwise and even suckier flights than they already are. I have a lot to do before then, and I work tomorrow night which is a bummer. But at least I found a coworker to watch the creatures for me…….

I know you probably can barely believe it, but I did manage to get to Rite Aid before work on Saturday night. Prior to sickness laying me out, I had copied over a few  simple deals. It took just a bit of cutting coupons and I ran out to the nearest store. I wasn’t going to search all over town, do a million transactions to minimize leftover UPRs, or do anything complex, but there WERE a few really good moneymakers that I figured I should take advantage of. So here’s the score:

Total Paid: $2.07 ($1 SCR pending) so really $1.07
Regular price: $70.90
Savings: 97%

Ok, so this was a super-fast trip, but really great deals! It should have actually been a moneymaking trip but a couple of snafus occurred. The run-down:

(8) Gain dish soap – 0.89 ea
-(8) 1/1 coupons from 10/10 P&G
should have been 0.03 MM each but one of the 1/1 coupons wouldn’t scan so ended up as $0.80 OOP
(9) Herbal essences – $2.99 ea
-(9) 2/1 coupons from 10/31 P&G 
Get (9) $2 UPR
This one worked out perfectly except the poor cashier had to manually enter each $2/1 coupon! $0.73 MM each ($6.57 MM)
(2) Blistex – 2/$3
-(1) 0.55/1 coupon
-(1) 0.25/1 coupon
Get (2) $1 UPR
So it should have been pay $0.49 for 2 but I only received one UPR so it really was $1.49 for both. Ok price but I would have skipped it….
(1) Revlon lipstick @ 7.99 and (1) Revlon eyeshadow for $3.25 (50% off)
-$5/1 Revlon lipstick wellness coupon
Get $4 UPR
Get $1 SCR for eyeshadow
$3.30 (before SCR). This one also went perfectly. In the end it will be 2.30 or just 1.15 each which is awesome pricing.

Sooo all in all it should have been about a $1 MM. But  I had a $2 UPR that ended up bonking and not going through because there wasn’t enough pre-tax charges to account for it. So I lost that UPR entirely. Which basically put me at $1 cost for everything. Or 5 cents a piece! Which is still pretty darn good!!!

Of all of that, one of the Blistex, 2 of the Gain, and 5 of the Herbal Essence went to my stockpile. 2 of the Gain, the 2 Revlon products, and the other Blistex went to my gift pile. The other 4 Gain and 4 Herbal Essence went in the donation pile!

I have just tomorrow and Tuesday to do a run for this week as I will be out of town the rest of the time. I have a couple of deals copied over and will see if anything else develops tomorrow. I will probably go out Tuesday to take advantage a those few deals and maybe use some of those leftover UPRs towards candy for the plane trip! 😉

Take care and have a good holiday!

~Lissa

Moving! Deadlines! Fun!

August 28, 2010

So a few highlights of life right now:

1. I am moving this weekend. After having the water shut off in my apartment a couple of weeks ago due to the landlord not paying the bill for god knows how long, I found a great new apartment within a day! It made me really nervous to stay somewhere when obviously the landlord was having some money issues because what if she gets foreclosed on? And I had to move out with short notice? It would be very hard with the 2 Huskies and 3 cats to find suitable housing on short notice. Although that turns out to be an ironic concern since I found the new place in….ONE….day. Sometimes things just work out reall easy, you know? 

The new apartment is definitely an upgrade in a lot of ways. While still staying in the same general area, it is in a much nicer, artsy part of town. And did I mention that it is practically on the beach? Only a few blocks from the ferry docks, marina, public beach, and off-leash dog park. And one door down from the city park. The building has a treeline and creek that runs alongside of it and my balcony (which is screened in, the cats are cheering!) overlooks the beautiful burbling creek. 😀 It is gonna be awesome! So peaceful. And so much better than sharing a yard with a meth-addict drug dealer. Nice as he is. The building is secured with a laundry room in the basement. The apartment itself is about 800sqft (vs. 650 now) and has LOTS of closet and cupboard space, a dishwasher, the aforementioned screened in balcony, and yes, a FULL bathroom with a tub again! All of this wonderful-ness for only $100 more a month. And it is fine to have the pets. Only downsides…no yard (though the dogs will actually probably get more attention since I’ll have to walk them), and there are carpets (but I might buy a Roomba vaccuuming robot!) I’m doing packing and probably one load of stuff and one load with cats and accessories Sat. night. Then Sunday I will take the dogs over and pick up the U-Haul in the morning, have friends over to load and then unload the U-haul, and proceed to settle in a bit and maybe have a thank-you BBQ in the new place. Monday I have off which is good because I can go to the old place and get whatever stuff remains (fridge/freezer contents likely) and clean the place. Then more settling in at the new apartment before working Tuesday night. It will be a busy weekend, but hopefully a good one!

2. Well, finally I sent in the LLC application for me and Ash’s new home pet nursing business. We got the certification back already so next week once moving is done I will send in the state business license application and we can make plans for appointments to order marketing materials, set up a bank account, start a website, and consult with an accountant. We have decided that October 1st will be the official start date and I think everything should be well in line for that. I think it is going to be huge and who knows if it will end up being just a little side gig or if it will end up taking us to great new heights as business owners. It may certainly open up a lot of options for both of us in future work/life. I do hope that we are not TOO busy this year, because:

3. I am working on getting my emergency/critical care certification application put together. I applied a couple of years ago but procrastinated too long and rushed through a lot of it and my application was denied. This year I want to do it right and so far I am on track but I can NOT slack off these next 3 months. I need to apply myself and get started writing my 4 case reports so that I have plenty of time to have several people review them, and revise and improve them. I do not want to be running around like crazy in late December trying to get everything finalized. I would rather have it essentially done by Thanksgiving and just refine it and ship off before Christmas. We’ll see.

4. Jayme and I are turning over the cat rescue, the date is (finally) set for Sept. 12th. Next week I need to gather up the last few bits of medical info that I have on the cats left in the rescue and forward it to her so that she can compile their full medical records and give them to the new group. We have a great group that is going to take over adoptions on the last 6 cats we have in foster homes. I am so pleased that we have only 6 cats left. I don’t feel too guilty as that is a pretty small number and 2 of those cats will likely get adopted fairly quickly. The other 4 are very settled in their foster homes and if they never get adopted those foster homes wouldn’t really mind. Jayme and I are both so relieved at this point to see the rescue off and we do feel like we are leaving it in a good way and on a pretty high note. The rescue was a great business and life experience and a wonderful thing in general but these last few years have seen so many changes in our personal situations that has made the rescue be so much more a burden than the uplifting thing that it started as. It is definitely time to let it go. I am certain that in a few years I will do foster work again, but I do not think I will ever be involved in the running of a rescue, it is not truly something I am cut out for in the long run. But though I was never paid by the rescue, many of the lessons of running it will apply in the new business I am starting!

5. I know, I teased with that whole Super Exciting Coupon Extravaganza! And now you’re thinking, geez she lost her drive for that already? No, no, don’t worry! I had done so many trips and bought so much stuff over a couple of weeks that A: I ran out of room. B: There weren’t any great deals anywhere this week. C: I was fully stocked with everything I needed/wanted. D: I knew I was moving soon and wanted to wait to buy more stuff til after I did!

There are some good deals at Rite Aid, Top Foods, and Albertsons this week though so I will be taking advantage of those, probably on Monday or Tuesday once the moving flurry is over. PLUS, I took 5 FULL paper bags of groceries to the Lynnwood Food Bank that totaled in at 59 pounds! There was a selection of fruit snacks, cereal, granola bars, pasta sauce, and potatoes. This is definitely something I look forward to continuing to contribute to.

Okay, that’s about it around here. Lots to think about, lots to do. I must make sure that I don’t just sit around on my days off but hop to it with getting the business up and running and my VECCS application finished. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Oh! And The Vampire Diaries starts up again on Sept. 9th! WATCH THIS IT IS AMAZING!!

Take Care,
~Lissa

Just an update

April 17, 2010

A quick update on the life of Lissa:

Finally things were looking up. I took the job at clinic A. Things just came together and worked out. When I first called to take the position it was all sunshine and roses. Then the immediate call back….oh whoops, it’s actually 4 days/wk, not 3. Is that a problem? Um, yeah. And the world whooshed around me. I asked, Can it be 3 days? I can’t do 4. And the reply, “I’ll see what I can do.” An agonizing couple of days passed. Then the most amazing news, “Yes, we can do 3 days. Can you work Tu-Th instead of W-Fr?” YES yes yes! I will. While the other clinic I was interviewing for was talking about all their perceived shortcomings they saw in me and saying crap like “we think if we have more time we can talk them (the doctors) into you”, THIS clinic actually went out of their way to hire someone for one day a week (and absorb that extra cost) so that I would come on board. THAT is the caliber of clinic and appreciation of me that I want. And that is only one of the many reasons why I was interested in the job in the first place. I feel valued there, like they see things in me that I know are there. They can see what I will and can bring to their practice. And because of that, I will be great for them.

Ah rosy happiness and joy.

So I started that position 2 weeks ago. One week ago my best friend Ash told me that her and her husband would likely be moving to Cali. NOOOOO! She wanted me to come with. Unfortunately it is not so simple for me. I still own my house. I am likely about 10-25k underwater on it. I can’t fathom moving to another state while still owning that house. I probably won’t be able to sell it and even just break even for 2-3 years. Plus as above mentioned, I have finally found an incredibly perfect job in a wonderful hospital, the kind of opportunity I have been working toward my entire career. It’s a big thing, to walk away from that and start all over again. And yes, she is my best friend and I can’t imagine living in this area without her. Part of the reason I chose this area in particular was because it was so close to her. And I don’t have any other friends up here. But it’s not so simple, picking up and moving to Cali. And I just can’t do it. I can’t. And that’s a hard thing to decide. She may stay up here after all. I am hoping and wishing and will work to make that so. I think Seattle is a better place for her. And obviously, I am here!

Ok, well that’s the big news of the moment. I have to head to bed soon so I’ll write more….later!

Take Care,

Melissa