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The Frugal Savant

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I have this quirk.  Okay, I have many quirks, but this one is my uncanny ability to bust our household budget by implementing money-saving ideas.  For example, there's that time I decided to make my own baby wipes and ended up spending more money on premium weight paper towels, baby wash and baby soap - and produced a batch of baby fresh pulp.  Then, there's the time I bought the $5 hair clippers so that I could cut our family's hair for "free," but wound up spending more money to have their hair fixed by a professional.  Oh, and the laundry soap.  Yep, homemade laundry soap that seemed to work great until I noticed our freshly laundered clothes were beginning to smell like my boys' gym socks.

But you know, as Thomas Edison put it, after many failed attempts at the light bulb, I haven't failed 1000 times, I've succeeded in finding 1000 ways it doesn't work.

Last summer I saw a program on the Planet Green network about how to save on your electric bill.  Many of the ideas required spending money on energy saving equipment, but one idea spoke to me:  wash the laundry in cold water, rather than warm or hot.

So, I decided to conduct an experiment and for a whole month washed everything in cold water.  I couldn't wait for the next month's electric bill and looked forward to it like a payday.

Only, there was no change.  So much for that idea.

A few months later my husband announced that we all need to take more care to turn lights out behind us.  I looked at him and said, "Oh, yeah, don't expect much."  Then, I explained my scientific study, relaying the data before and after as proof that little changes don't add up when it comes to electricity bills.

He smiled that smile of his.  "You're so cute."

"What?"  Of course, when he tells me I'm cute, I know I've done something stupid.  

"Cindy, we have a gas water heater."

Yep, I'm a frugal Savant, all right.  And that's Savant with a capital "I."


Brood of Vipers!

Friday, 12 December 2008

I'm so mad that even spitting wouldn't make me feel better.

I just tried to cancel our DirecTV which I've had suspended for the past three weeks, only to find that we're locked into a contract until June, 2010!

"Contract?" I asked, "when did this happen?"

"Last June you ordered HD/DVR service and initiated a 2 year lease," she said.

"Yes, but that HD/DVR was defective - with a known software issue - and we sent it back, remember?  We never got the HD/DVR service."

"I can cancel your contract, but you will be responsible for an early termination fee which will be charged to the credit card we have on file."

"I guess I wasn't clear.  There is no contract.  You, that is, DirecTV breached the contract by not providing a working DVR."

"The lease was effective in June, I will cancel your contract and charge the card on file."

"NO!  You are not authorized to make any charges against any card on file.  There is no contract."

"You will be assessed an early termination fee..."

At which point I asked to speak with a supervisor, Joe, who was just as helpful as his subordinate. We've been DirecTV customers for nearly ten years, and this is how they thank us for our business?

This is fraud.  And I have a lawyer.

 *** Update 12/17 - We are going to have the attorney write a letter and she thinks we have a great case.  There's something called the "Statute of Frauds"  which holds that a company has to submit a written copy of the contract - which DirecTV did not AND that the contract period can't be greater than one year.  Add to this the fact that both DVRs were defective and returned to DTV within 30 days...it should be a no-brainer.  I'm feeling better, but still not happy about the hassle.




The Mammogram Mixer

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I do encourage you women to stop procrastinating and schedule that mammogram.  So will I.  A few years back my cousin, Kelly, lost her several year battle with breast cancer.  She left behind a then 9 year-old son and a big hole in our hearts and lives.  Kelly was a born-again Christian, though, and I look forward to laughing with her in Heaven.

Even with such a serious concern as breast cancer, I can't help but get a giggle over some of the October events on the schedule in Austin.  One of which is a "Mammogram Mixer." 

Now, tell me that doesn't sound like a wild girls' night out!  What woman wouldn't look forward to spending a couple of hours sharing drinks, a buffet laden with antioxidants and the chance to have your "girls" squashed between two cold steel plates?  

At the risk of dating myself, do you remember that old SNL skit, back in the days of Jane Curtain and Gilda Radner, where alien women had evolved to having eyeballs instead of nipples?  That's the image in my mind when I think of a Mammogram Mixer.  "Hey, girls, allow me to introduce my girls." 

I'd better go register.  It's BYOB, that is, Bring Your Own Boobs; bras optional.


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