Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am the American Consumer

Why am I not asked to participate in focus groups for various products and services?

Here's why:
I am not brand-loyal, unless a particular brand is consistently the best value. And then I am loyal to a fault. (In other words, I'm cheap.)

Case in point - Roundy's brand food from Rainbow Foods was FAN-Tastic. It was consistently very high quality, value-for-the money type of food. And I would tell everyone about it (if they didn't know already).

Of course, for this to work, you have to get store-brand of items that make sense. For our family, no way is "Cola" going to be purchased instead of Coca-Cola. It's just not happening. And "Peanut Butter" is not the same as Jif. But seriously? Crispy Rice is the same as Rice Krispies. (Sorry Kellogg's, it's just not that unique of a product. Especially if the primary use is for Rice Krispy bars.). Other common replacements: plain potato chips. And shredded cheese. And chicken breasts. And hamburger. And bread. And eggs.

Get the drift? (BUT, on the other hand - Our Family is not acceptable. It just isn't. Yuck.)

So, the whole point of this post - A good product with consistent value will bring you your most loyal customers: in this case, your budget-conscious consumers.

And for all you Trader Joe and Whole Foods believers, get over yourselves and "the experience" and save your family a few bucks. Your kid's new baseball glove will thank you.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Braves and Yankees

Mom, Dad, and Amy all came down this weekend to visit, and go to the Braves & Yankees game on Thursday. We had only 4 tickets, but amazing seats (Sorry mom, but you TOTALLY get to go next year. Moms always make the sacrifice :(
Here are the photos!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yea! More visitors

Mom and Pop Kienow are enroute to Atlanta after hopping on to the 30-seater from Aberdeen. Hopefully they make it onto their next flight in MSP and arrive to our beautiful, sunny 90-degree weather! Amy arrives tomorrow!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


On the way to work this morning I saw a sign that said "MEN WORKING". Two reasons this is bothersome:

1. It should say "CREW WORKING" or "PEOPLE WORKING". I am not usually all feminist but this is just dumb. I doubt those signs are leftover from 1970 and Must Have Been purchased sometime in the last 10 years. Come on.

2. There was not actually anyone working. Although it really made traffic back up and slow down.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday, Monday

Really, I thought my post yesterday would generate flurries of comments. Especially the word "cooch". Seriously, how can work that into a normal conversation, let alone a blog post? But whevs, people, you must not care about my netherregions health.

On a brighter note, response to my facebook and blog poll about Romy and Michelle has been overwhelmingly supportive of the "CLASSIC MOVIE" genre. So eat it, hubby. I am clutching the Tivo remote the next time it is on TBS instead of flipping the channel to that TLC tow-truck show filmed in Chicago.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sally Hansen 1, Hartmans 0

What self-respecting lady has not asked herself, "Self, why must I keep shaving my legs? I know! Three separate women's magazines recommended Sally Hansen's Spray-On Rinse-Off Leg Cream for ease of use and effectiveness. I will buy some of that and use it! Haha! Hair defeated!!"

Um, not so much. Yesterday I tested the sensitive skin version to ensure I would not react (I didn't). Today I proceeded to take my morning shower, dry off, then step into our jacuzzi tub to Spray-On Rinse-Off. Jeff was roped in to spray the backs of the legs effectively.

I sat on the corner of the tub for the recommended 5 minutes of the 3-5 minutes. And then tried to stand.

DID YOU KNOW THIS SHIT IS SLIPPERIER THAN PAM COOKING SPRAY ON A KITCHEN FLOOR????? (I have obviously done that as well.) I could NOT get grip anywhere in the freaking tub. I called for Jeff (mind you, still in my towel, sort of), and he came to help.

So I, with my gimpy slippery feet, and my half-on towel, wrapped my arms around his neck to try and help lift me out of the tub. Which I slipped halfway out and slammed the cooch into the edge of the tub. He HEAVED the rest of me out and threw me back in the shower like a drunk college kid.

What a morning. It's not even noon. Oh, and a portion of the floor is painted and weeds are sprayed outside.

One more thing: who DOESN'T think Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion is a classic movie? Sheesh. Husbands.

Oh and one more thing to that: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DADDY-O!!!! I can't wait for you guys to visit.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Update to Yard Work post

I killed the grass in spots on the front yard. With the weed killer that is not supposed to kill grass. Apparently if you soak the area, and then it is in the upper 90's with humidity, the grass is gonna die.


Also, congratulations to my college friend Anna in Florida who is pregnant!!!!! If you have a shower and let me know when it is, I would totally come visit (or at least send a gift...)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What a long day

Supplier Diversity. That is what's on my mind today in Georgia.

I attended a 4-hour training class this morning, aimed at getting all of us to buy into the concept, believe in our hearts why it's the right thing to do, learn skills for situations in which to apply, and receive tools to help us get started.

And I did do all of that. I think diversity in general, and specifically targeting supplier diversity in the type of job I have, is a great thing. Encouraging a supplier diversity program with procurement professionals can only increase the competitive pool for whatever you are buying / contracting, bringing further value to the company. Additionally, by 'remembering' to target minority, small, or women owned businesses you may come across a great new supplier you may not have previously considered that is devoted to building a relationship with you and your company.

But boy, on a personal level, I am drained after that class, plus an afternoon of meetings. Everything accomplished today needed to be done, yet nothing got checked of my to-do list. How's that work?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Money Lessons Learned

On the off chance my sister (who is not yet grad-school graduated) and various cousins on both sides who just graduated from high school / trade school / college actually read this, I have to share an article I found on msnbc (and via forbes.com and written by David Randall) . Since it is kind of long, I am editing at will (which I can, cuz it's MY blog) but you can read the whole article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31155520/ns/business-personal_finance/

Seven things that I wish I'd known about money when I graduated

Saving is a form of freedom. The key to financial well being is spending less money than you earn. That way, when something unexpected happens, like a major car repair or illness, you will expand your options for dealing with it. If you have a hard time not spending whatever is in your pocket, consider setting up automatic withdrawals that will put money into your savings account before you even see it.

Your credit score matters more than your ACT score. Just as your ACT score helped colleges gauge your ability to handle critical thinking, your credit score allows lenders to measure your ability to handle your money. That, in turn, will determine how much you pay for a mortgage, your interest rate on credit cards or student loans, and even your ability to rent an apartment. (The landlord of one recent grad forced him to give two months' rent as a security deposit instead of one because he didn't have a credit card.)

Make more than the minimum payment on your credit cards. If you are an average college graduate, you owe about $3,000 in credit card debt. While recent legislation will make it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card, there are plenty of 22- and 23-year-olds who will spend money they don't have because they believe their wealthy future selves will be able to pay off the debt. Instead, many end up stuck in credit card purgatory, forever paying off that $1,000 they used on an Italian vacation.

You can get almost everything cheaper. Negotiate everything. EVERYTHING. There are lots of ways to save money — if you do a little homework and planning. There are more than 60 tax credits and deductions for things ranging from going to graduate school to paying off your student loans to putting solar panels on your house. If you are already doing any of these things, the money is there for the taking. The easiest way to save money, of course, is not to spend it in the first place.

Waiting to contribute to a retirement account will cost you. Here's why procrastinating will cost you. Employee-sponsored 401(k)s let you buy stocks, bonds and mutual funds with pre-tax dollars. Once the money is invested, it can compound for decades without your having to pay a dime in taxes. Many employers will also match a portion of the money that you put into your 401(k). On the most basic level, not setting one up is turning down free money.

Owning individual stocks is gambling — not investing. By buying only one company, you are essentially playing roulette, no matter how strong the company's fundamentals may look. Maybe this company will continue to do well and you'll prosper, but maybe the ball will bounce elsewhere. Some people bought Amazon.com at the right time and made millions; others bought AOL at the wrong time and lost just as much. Invest an index funds - like the S&P 500 - instead.

Knowing what you own in your 401(k) is just as important as opening one. Don't pay 2% to someone else to manage your money. Use lower-cost funds available from fund families like Charles Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard. The right mix of funds is important too. A good rule of thumb is that the percentage of bonds in your portfolio should match your age: if you're 25, then put a quarter of your assets in bonds; if you're 35, make it 35 percent and so on.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


5 things that make summer happy

1. Mr. Freezes (blue or cherry only please)
2. Flowers that bloom and still do not dry out
3. So You Think You Can Dance (Fox on Wed/Thur), and True Blood (HBO on Sunday)
4. Grilling and sitting on the deck
5. Air conditioning!

AMY! Please call me and/or book your ticket to GA for next weekend!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Yard work, does it end?

Seriously people. Seventy-nine degrees is HOT when there is 80% humidity. But Jeff and I worked away anyway, he with the mighty ant killer and I with the mighty weed killers.

So spread and spray we did! Hopefully the lawn will appreciate it. Although Jeff said I maybe went a leetle too heavy on the weed killer. Who knew? It was my first time ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

False start

Well, after one false start on Thursday, we were finally able to get the Hartmans on a plane back to Sioux Falls. We packed 'em up and headed 'em out - twice - but they got home. We heard the Hartman / Mammenga Limo Service picked them up, complete with a sign and everything!

Jeff and I were very sad to see them go. We love company (hint to all readers: please come visit!). Plus, Gail religiously cleaned the kitchen and dishes, and Allen religiously unloaded the dishwasher. I hate to admit, those are some of my least liked chores so I was glad to hand them over!

But back to normal for us, for now. Gearing up to watch True Blood Season One on DVD tonight, and getting ready for the Season Two premiere on Sunday night.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


What is the opposite end of "can't keep anything down"? Aka, can't keep anything in / solid / Immodium doesn't help?

Ugh. Day 3. Ideas?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Visitors. And Creepy Crawlies. At the SAME TIME

Well, on Friday, Jeff's folks successfully made it onto the inaugural nonstop flight from Sioux Falls to Atlanta. The wheelchair showed up as required, no one barfed on the plane, and Allen participated in his first plane ride since 1970. They are HERE!!! (WOO HOO FOR VISITORS!!!!!!)

They were not the only visitors we had this weekend. On Saturday night, Jeff thought he saw a clump of cat hair on the bedroom floor and thought, I better put on my glasses. Good thing he did - it was a scorpion! Albeit one that had lost its spunkiness because of the poison, but it was still alive. It only took one foot stomp to finish it off. Then on Sunday, we went to the basement (insert horror music here) to put up shelves and unpack some more boxes. We had a first hand experience of how well the exterminator's elixir is working - scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, spiders, and other bugs I cannot identify met their grave about one foot into our basement. All the way around the outside perimeter of the concrete. Oh, and we found our mouse friend that Bella had caught a few weeks ago (and then let go. and then we chased with a broom until we could not find him anymore.). He was in a trap and had been there for awhile.

Did I mention we had our neighbor Jerry used his 1954 tractor to spread out our humongous pile of composting mulch and tree waste in the backyard? We figure we stirred up a plethora of critters last week doing that and they were trying to get inside.

We are told by all native and transplanted Atlantans and neighbors that this amount of bugs and pests is normal and that is why God invented exterminators. I will take their word for it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Recipe to try

We had a delicious chicken dinner the other night and it was EASY. All I did was take a package of chicken breasts (our fresh ones from Publix come as 3-packs) and marinate in a baking dish for 30 minutes with 1/4 cup Italian dressing and 1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce. Then I popped them into the oven in the same baking dish as were marinated, with tinfoil on top, and baked for 25 minutes. Voila! Delicious. We made 10-minute rice and green beans and what could be easier?

Take that, Rachael Ray!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Maddie's Big Adventure

Jeff has been cleaning carpets and unfortunately there is a foul odor while they are drying. So he decided to open a window in the dining room, with a fan it. No screen - the fan could hang out the window that way and plus it is up a story and a half so it is unlikely a critter (including kitties) could get in or out.

For cross circulation, he also opened a living room window, but put a screen on that one since it dumps directly onto the front porch.

Maddie immediately jumped into the front window sill and proceeded to torment the squirrels from inside. That must not have been close enough though, because in the time it took to walk up and down the stairs and do some laundry, the screen had a kitty-sized opening in it, and there was no Maddie.

So we walk outside and call for her and of course she does not come. Because she is not a dog, she is a KITTY. I look at Jeff and begin to ask him to fix the window screen, which he was starting to do anyway (it did not have a hole, it had just come unattached at the bottom).

Then I glance out the front door window, and there she is, proud as a pea, sitting on the front steps. I open the door and in she pops, like it is the most natural thing for our inside kitty to be outside.

After a meal and a bath, I think she may finally be happy and content.