Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rant of the week

Costco. Seriously. Once a year or so, as you're checking out your oversized shopping cart full o' bulk items, there's an extra person standing with the cashier. He'll show you how much you spent at Costco in the last 12 months, and then try to sell you an executive membership that gives you cash back on purchases.

Today it was my turn. And for the second year in a row, the amount of money Costco's marketing department says I spent at the Mommy of All Warehouses is about $1200 more than I've actually spent. And THAT'S the part that bugs me.

See, I know how much money I've spent at Costco. I know this because I'm, well, rather anal-retentive, and also because I'm married to an accountant who likes to keep track of where we've spent all our money. So I can pull up Pocket Quicken on my Palm Pilot, do a quick report, and know to the penny how much I've spent there. (Okay, maybe not to the penny. I don't track what we spend on hot dogs and soft drinks. But then, since I don't have to have my membership card scanned when I pay cash for my completely unhealthy dinner, neither does Costco.)

This year (September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2009), my total: $3423.55 Costco's total:  around $4600.

(Note: Before you pass out from looking at those numbers, keep in mind that I buy almost everything in bulk. Bread and milk? Check. Frozen chicken? Check. Socks for my husband? Chocolate chips? Cereal? Diapers? Excedrin? Check. And then there's Scott and the whole DVD/electronics thing.)

We don't lend anyone our Costco membership card. (Seriously. Who would we lend it to? Everyone we know shops at Costco.) We don't pay cash for anything we buy there. Absolutely everything shows up in Quicken. So there are only two reasons that Costco's numbers shouldn't match my numbers, allowing for a few errors. 1) Someone in the marketing department is consciously adding to everyone's yearly total in order to convince them they need to buy an executive membership, or 2) Someone in the marketing department is too dumb to run a simple database query. Either way, that someone should be fired.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Place of residence

Scott was practicing his southern accent tonight in anticipation of dessert. "We need some paaaah," he told the girls. "Tell yo' mommy we need some paaaaaah."

I said, "Sarah, tell your daddy that we live in Boston, not Atlanta, and that he's being inappropriate."

Sarah: "Daddy, we wiv in Boston, not inappwopwiate."

Scott: "Well, that's true. I don't live in Appropriate."

Friday, September 18, 2009

I believe this is a rite of childhood passage

So...apparently Beth swallowed a hair clip a few days ago. (Why "apparently"? She complained about her throat hurting; I asked her why; she said she thought there was a clip stuck in it; I asked if she'd put a clip in her mouth; she said no; later that night she was worried about the clip being inside her.)

If it's actually inside her, it's one of those little itty bitty roundish plastic things with little tiny plastic teeth that don't even work in Sarah's hair any more. So I'm not worried. But Beth was concerned that the clip was giving her a headache. So Scott just sat her down to watch the Schoolhouse Rock "I'm a Machine" video on YouTube. I think she's a bit less concerned than she was. At least she knows it hasn't been sucked up into her brain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is why I love Sesame Street

Quotes like this:

"Nothing says 'Sesame Street' like an eight-foot bird singing the alphabet."

— Leela, new(ish) person on Sesame Street

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beth has been putting 2 and 2 together...

...and getting 22.

No, really.

All summer long she's been looking at numbers. We're driving in the car and she calls out, "Mom, what is a 6 and 5?"

"Sixty-five, honey," I tell her.

Two-digit numbers mastered, she's to the point now where she can semi-reliably figure out three-digit numbers. "A 3 and a 2 and a 8 spells three hundred twenty-eight," she announces. Or, occasionally, "A 6 and a 6 and a 7 spells sixty sixty-seven." This usually makes her mom crack up, and may be impairing my driving.

I wish I had the base 10 blocks from my mom's old second-grade classroom. It would make explaining the ideas of hundreds, tens and ones so much easier. Maybe I'll pick up some graph paper the next time I'm at the office supply store.

And it turns out that Beth has a rather serious competitive streak. Two weeks ago her friend Josh was the spotlight kid at church. His dad said, "One of the neat things about Josh is that he can count to forty-ten. For your older kids, that means fifty."

The next morning Beth was busy ensuring she could count past 50. She made it to 100 before the system broke down — it's hard for her to understand that the next number is 101, not 200. To be fair, the competitive streak didn't go quite as far as telling Josh she can count higher than he can (though, knowing Josh, he's probably way past forty-ten at the moment). She just needed to know she could do it.

(Don't ask me which parent this tendency came from. Apparently it's in her genes from both sides of the family.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sarah is convinced...

...at this moment, that the local baseball team is the Bread Sox.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Managerial Accounting

Two celebrations today:
  1. Scott's birthday. (Cheese omelettes! Bike gear! A terribly tacky sunburst clock that the kids adore! Mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches!)

  2. My Etsy shop is finally in the black. It's only by $46.35, and it's only an illusion (I've been paid up front for a large order that I don't yet have supplies for, and I technically should have an "unearned revenue" line item), but it's nice to have a positive number somewhere on the books.

And, may I just say — in spite of my fear that Scott will use this as an opportunity to reiterate his belief that deep down everyone wants to be an accountant — I have a rather entertaining spreadsheet going on. I was shocked (well, and annoyed that I hadn't come up with the idea first) to learn last week that there's someone on Etsy who actually sells spreadsheets set up to handle Etsyans' accounts. Through Etsy, of course, which is in some ways its own economic closed system.

Spreadsheet, though. For my own sanity, I've been keeping track of my stock — it's nerve-wracking to have someone buy a 3-6 month baby onesie, only to learn that I just destroyed the last one in that size in an ironing incident (why oh why didn't I test the new transfer paper on something in a different size?). And of course I have to compare my data from Etsy with my data from PayPal. And I have to keep track of which suppliers offer which items at which prices (including shipping). Oh, and I should be keeping track of mileage. And to price items I really should have a page to keep track of the real costs to make them, list them, and conduct transactions through PayPal.... As I said, it's entertaining. Amusing, even.

All those managerial accounting assignments I helped Scott grade? The semester I tried to keep my eyelids propped open during a graduate financial analysis class? Time well spent. As of today there are nine tabs at the bottom of my spreadsheet.

And there are five clear 66-quart storage boxes in my office (and — full disclosure — at least four more in the attic) full of onesies, T-shirts, mailing supplies, ready-to-ship blankets, and lots and lots of fabric. Mounds of fabric, even. A big fat folder on my hard drive (yes, and backed up to an external drive) with shirt designs and product photos. I'd end this post with a nice pithy wrap-up, but I'm as unsure of where the post is going as I am of where the Etsy thing is going. Awfully entertaining, though.