Functional Stuff

Negotiating for the Non-Negotiator

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There is a certain skill associated with negotiating.  I know a lot of people enjoy the thrill of bartering, the back and forth banter involved in sealing the deal, the whole dance.

 

Craig, for instance, has a patented approach to buying a car.  He puts on his game face and brings his A game.

 

I usually just do what I am told.  If I ask a price on something, I, typically, just accept the price and either buy the item or move on.

 

Today, though, I went a little of script.

 

I had to call the oil company to “lock in” my ceiling rate…  Currently I pay no more than a $3.99 a gallon but my term was running out.  I was putting it off because, hey, who likes calling the oil company?  Not this girl.

 

Anyway, walking thru the mail yesterday I saw a competitor’s sign offering new customers a rate of $3.69/ gallon.

 

Bitterness poured over me…  A loyal customer surely deserved that price!  So, today I called my oil company with a little more attitude…

 

The representative had a very nice voice…. It almost threw me off my game…  So, be wary of a nice voice.

 

I was told the average rate on Long Island (without an agreement) was $4.54 a gallon but since I was such a good customer I was given a rate of $4.24…

 

A far cry from the siren’s call of $3.69  at the mall…

 

So, I politely said I would call back tomorrow after discussing the value with my husband and investigating the price from the mall.

 

Just call me Miss Passive Aggressive.

 

Well, apparently that is all I needed to say.   The nice man on the phone spoke to his supervisor and lowered the price to $4.09.  Not the best price in the world, but much better than the first price…

 

So, what is the point of this meandering story?

 

Sometimes it pays to be a little hard to get…

 

Solid advice that can be used across the board.

 

The Sunchips Saga…..

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Sorry for the late post – we had quite the weekend.  I don’t know why I always think I will have time to write when I am home!

 

I have a sad story to tell you – but there is a happy ending.

 

See this bag of French Onion Sunchips?  I bought them on sale and had been biding my time before opening them (all of three days, but it was a herculean effort).

 

 

I love French Onion Chips and the plan was to have them with my lunch or as a snack at work.

 

Can you imagine how miserable I was when I opened the bag and <gasp> they tasted like regular sun chips?

 

There may have been an expletive or two uttered by Dizee.  But then I started wondering – could it be me?  Maybe, somehow, I ended up with an inability to taste French Onion chips?

 

The horror!

 

But no – I forced others to try the chips and they assured me there was absolutely NO French Onion to them.

 

Why this long drawn-out story about artificial French Onion seasoning on chips I probably shouldn’t be eating anyway?

 

I was so upset that I ended up emailing Frito-Lay chips to tell them about the crushing disappointment I felt at this situation….

 

Guess what they did? They sent me the coupons below – and I received them in days!

 

The moral of this little parable? It never hurts to let a company know you encountered a problem.

 

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Green Cleaning – My Wood Floor

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I maybe the only person who has this problem…. But, then again, I have learned to never assume.

 

 

My buddy Pinto has apparently taken a liking to the taste of the dining room floor.  Seriously likes it.  As in, he licks it enough to create this disgusting film on the floor.

 

 

I will never understand beagles and their taste buds.

 

Anyhow, it is unsightly and more than a little gross.  One day,  I was tossing around ideas on how to clean the floor when one of the kids dropped their glass of water.  And when I say kids, I really mean me.

 

Amazingly enough, the water cleaned through that grime like no one’s business.   But, it was still grossing me out.   I wanted to clean it with something stronger than water but it had to be dog & kid friendly.   I was not going to be busting out the Swifter Wet Jet anytime soon.

 

My other concern was the finish of the floor.  We had a water based finish applied when we bought the house 9 years ago.  It was supposed to be more durable than other finishes ( it is still holding up nice.) but I didn’t want to ruin it.

 

My thoughts went right to White Vinegar because it is a mild disinfectant.   And Non-Toxic.  And Cheap.

 

I read a couple of things about vinegar – apparently there are two schools of thought.  Some people like it for cleaning floors  (Non-toxic wonder product!), other people, not so much (it could dull the finish).

 

Throwing caution to the wind, I made a very simple solution which was 1/3 vinegar & 2/3’s water.

 

Success!!!

 

Everyone helps out cleaning the floors – I made it a game with a silly song “Scrub, Scrub, Scrub the Floor, Rub, Rub, Rub and Scrub”.

 

I know – clever!  I am thinking of getting it trademarked…

 

I use the brush only in the hard to clean spots and I don’t scrub hard (I don’t want to ruin the wood).  For the most part, I just spray and wipe.  I sometimes use rags, but it makes them so slimy that I typically just throw it out.

 

I have used this method around a dozen times, every few weeks to months depending on Mr. P and his floor obsession.

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How Craig & You Tube Saved the Day!

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Last week, our refrigerator started to give us fits.   (Bad Fridge!)

 

Initially, it stopped making ice.  This was incredibly disappointing to Cooper who likes to ask for ‘water & ice’ to drink.  He hated drinking just water.   I didn’t even realize just how often I used our ice maker.  Untold times that week I put my cup under the ice dispenser and waited for it to fill.

 

And waited.

 

And waited.

 

You get the drift.

 

Craig thought maybe one of the lines got clogged.  Armed with a vacuum he moved the refrigerator, vacuumed out the back and checked the tube with the water.

 

That’s when the noise level in the house rose drastically.   Apparently, somehow a fan bent/broke and was causing the fridge to sound like it was preparing for flight.  I, who can sleep through anything, even found it annoying.

 

Craig and I discussed our options – call in a service man or buy a new fridge.  We really didn’t want to spend a grand on a new fridge when this one was less than 7 years old.   As for the service man route – we weren’t sure how much it would run to fix the fan and the ice maker.

 

So, what did we do? We went with option 3 (or C for those of us who used scan-trons as kids).  Craig read up on the broken piece and ordered it for $7 online.

 

We waited anxiously while the part was shipped.  Would it work?  Would we be screwing it up worse?

 

I was shocked to come home from work last Wednesday  to find Doctor Craig working behind the fridge, the  fan on the counter and a You-tube video playing.  And, more than a little impressed.  (He doesn’t read the blog either, so I can get away with a compliment here and there… don’t want it to go to his head!)

 

In less than a half an hour, Craig fixed the fridge!  It was purring like a kitten.  He even jiggled the wires that led to the ice maker and that started working too!

 

Mission Accomplished.  Craig 1, Appliances 0.   Too bad he couldn’t fix the washing machine when I broke it during the summer.

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I’m Making a List & Checking it Twice.

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Apparently I am on an ‘Organizing Kick’.  Or, it could be my obsession with picmonkey is developing into an all out sickness.

 

Honestly, it is probably 50/50 at this point.

 

Either way, I digress.  Moving on.

 

I created another new printable – The Christmas Gift Printable!   (I am amazed at how I keep coming up with these witty names…)  Besides, if CVS can have their Christmas display up in October, I can share my list.

 

 

Each year, Craig and I run into a problem.

 

We start buying gifts for the boys early in the year when we start spotting good deals.  We furtively squirrel everything downstairs, hiding it from the boys.  Then, the week before Christmas we head to the basement to start wrapping and sorting only to realize we completely overbought.

 

Doh!  So much for the savings…

 

Or, even worse, there have been times when I forgot a gift until the last minute!  (Sorry mom.  Just kidding!).  This year, with both Max and Cooper in school, my list is growing.  Unfortunately, my memory capacity hasn’t.

 

Inevitably,  there is at least one gift  I purchase and  put somewhere safe only to find it months later.  Usually it is a calendar.  <shaking my head>

 

I put together this little lady in the hopes I can move past my Gift-Giving Issues.  (If you don’t want an excel file, you can click here to download a pdf file)  Now, just like food tracking, Craig and I need to be diligent enough to actually note what we buy!

 

You know the saying, You can lead the camel to water….

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Burt’s Bees Are Not The Bee’s Knees For Me…..

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Ok, I have been talking about the cruelty free things I love (like my kick-butt Josie Maran mascara… I still heart it to the moon and back.)

 

One of the things I have really been trying to figure out is how to go cruelty free in the shower.  (Did that sound funny?)  I totally did not realize how hard it would be to find a shampoo & conditioner that would work well on my crazy hair but still be animal friendly.  Oh, and not break the bank.

 

I used to use Suave but they are on “the naughty list”.    Same for Herbal Essences and Dove.     All the ones I liked!

 

 

So, I was genuinely surprised when my hubby bought me these Burt’s Bee’s products.  He knew they would appeal to the ‘green’ side of me.  I almost returned them, though, when I saw they were 9 dollars each!  That is a far cry from my $1.00 a bottle I was spending using coupons and good old sales.

 

Well, I used this products for a few weeks and am not impressed.  I love the Burt’s Bee’s line, but ehhh – it isn’t cutting it on my hair.  I am one big tangled knot after every shower.  And I feel really bad because I want to support products which are Earth Friendly.

 

My search continues… I just bought a bottle of Organix Moraccan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner for $4.99 each!  Update to follow!

 

Life would be so much easier if companies just stopped testing on animals!

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Dizee’s Food Tracking & Calendar Printable

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Feast your eyes on my newest creation….  (cue maniacal laughing….)

 


Apparently my October/Craig Diet talk didn’t resonate too much with the weight loss part of my brain… I am down a total of 1 pound.

 

Then I realized – the times I lost the most weight included writing down & tracking what actually went into my belly.  I guess seeing ½ a bag of peanut butter cups would stop me from devouring the other half.

 

There are so many awesome printable lists out there, but since I need to feel the need to constantly reinvent the wheel, I created my own.   I even gave it a witty name –   Dizee’s Food Tracking & Calendar Printable   FANCY!

 

I included some things that I believe are vital to my success.

a)      Weekly Goals– If I don’t write something down, I tend to forget it (like eggs at the grocery store this week! DOH!).  I figure here I would include some achievable goals (putting away the laundry) and some which were a little bigger (Cleaning the Cabinets?! A necessary evil!)

 

b)      Small Monthly Calendar – It’s helpful!  No other reason.

 

c)       Menu – Lately, I have been planning the weekly menu in my head.  Please note item “A”.  #FAIL!

 

d)      To Do­ – Apparently my husband deems our calendar “art” and we can’t write on it.  This provides a nifty little spot to track our comings and goings.

 

e)      Weekly Food Tracking- Just because something goes on the Menu, it does not guarantee it being eaten.  Conversely, I never write “Chocolate” down but SOMEHOW it is always consumed.  (Note:  Gina, I have officially eliminated my ‘Trigger Chocolates” from my house.  Little Steps…)

 

f)       Different Motivational Quotes­- ‘Cause, honestly,   I need all the help I can get.   One new one a week to keep things fresh.  

 

The plan is to print them out back-to-back (so a Week & the associated food diary are on 1 page).

 

I created the sheets thru the end of the year (it seemed like a good ending point).  The only caveat is I start this on Monday 11/3 – so I guess you can eat whatever you want until then.  HA!!!

 

You can download the Dizee’s Food Tracking & Calendar Printable   you can download the zipped word files here so you can edit them and make it your own. (Maybe you want a category “Blog Post” instead of ” To Do”.  To each their own!

 

Fingers crossed that an organized start to November will lead to a more organized, skinnier me!

 

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Dropbox Unlocked the Key to my Heart….

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Have you guys heard of Dropbox?  Do you use it?  PS that is their image, I just added my undying love to it…

 

 

For those of you who don’t know (aka Dizee two months ago), it is a central location to store files (up to 2GB ) allowing you to use them anywhere.  There are certain restrictions, so you should check their user guidelines, but can I say how life altering this has been?

 

Keep in mind, I am learning how to become more organized.  It is a slow and generally painful progress.   However, this has helped tremendously.   At a minimum, at least this aspect of my life is organized!  Phew!

 

How do I use it?

 

Good question – the possibilities are endless.

 

a)      I store all my printables, like this one,  here so I can access them when I need them

b)      I keep copies of e-books I have purchased/downloaded so I can read it on the go (some are not ‘kindle’ friendly)

c)       I store pictures I want to send / work on.

d)      I have a little recipe folder where I post ideas/etc so I don’t lose the links (aka my baked potato!)

e)      I keep my running list of blogging ideas & blogging files handy (I know! Very important!!!!)

f)       I keep my “Cruelty Free” product list available

 

 

Since the blog is just a hobby and I make no money on it/receive perks, I do not believe I violate any terms and conditions.  I does help my mental health though – I am not sure you can put a price on that!!!!

 

I am sure there are people who don’t want their ‘stuff’ out there, but  I don’t load compromising information  (credit card numbers, SSN#, etc).  It is so much easier than emailing myself every time I update something!

 

Does anyone use Dropbox?  I would love to know your thoughts.  I am very, very happy with it!

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