Forgotten Projects

I’ve been reading through old blog posts and realized that there is some serious updating needed. Exactly 4 years ago, I started a project designed to achieve several goals without putting an undue stress on our budget. This morphed into a “scheme” to get our youngest child, CPI, graduated from Texas A&M University without debt. I am very pleased to report that we have succeeded. CPI completed his courses this spring and we are awaiting his diploma. He owns this degree free and clear. No one owes a single penny to the university or anyone else. Sacrifices were made by our entire family to achieve this. We are grateful for the assistance of God in remaining steadfast and resolute when it looked as if our plan was falling apart. This is a time of great triumph for us. I am most pleased that CPI has the ability to search for a job that suits his temperament and training. A job that will give him a feeling of usefulness and pride in his contribution. For this, I am truly grateful.

I must now consider what new “scheme” to turn my attention to. What other great thing can we accomplish if we choose the correct path? I must turn my thoughts to this. I will get back to you with the results.~~TSG


Bobcat in a Box Christmas

Christmas for my extended family was delayed until yesterday so the maximum number of people could come. The Bobcat in a Box packages were a smashing success. We ended up with a total of 70 packages for 17 people (you had to be 14 or older to play). Memorable moments were; my father trying to figure out why he had a handful of army green carabiners and my brother-in-love wearing a kelly green crocheted headband. The carabiners will end up with a nephew who goes camping and BIL declared he will wear the headband out jogging. Somehow, even though we were opening packages randomly, most things ended up with someone who had put in a related keyword. My brother, the Star Wars freak, ended up with a Darth Vader keychain and a handful of Star Wars stickers. One of my nieces got a stainless steel ring with a faux turquoise stone and insisted I take it since it matches the rings I wear on my right hand. The same niece was delighted with a small container of sparkly black nail powder. All agreed that we MUST do this again next year. Thank you, Bobcat!!! #BobcatInABoxChristmas #GoodTime #Christmas #BobcatInABox


And Then There Was Ink…

As you will recall, I recently received a vintage fountain pen from my Bobcat in a Box subscription. When I went to fill it, I found that all my inks were dried up. So, I had to order new. It came in today. The pen works perfectly! If you are interested in possibly getting something similar, I used the keyword “antique pen”.~~TSG
#BobcatinaBox #AntiquePen


Bobcat in a Box #3 and #4

As I mentioned before, my family is using the Bobcat in a Box service to buy White Elephant gifts this year. In order to keep up the excitement and to be sure we are getting things that match our keywords, I am opening a package after every five that come in. Now that we have gotten started, there seems to be at least one package in my mailbox every day. Here are the latest goodies:
IMG_20180706_100755308 This is a carabiner meant to be used to attach a water bottle to your backpack while hiking. We likely got this from one or more of the following keywords; “camping”, “Scouts” or “travel”. Since I don’t have a water bottle handy, I put it on a Coke bottle to demonstrate:

The second item is a fountain pen of the type you fill with your preferred ink by pressing the button on the “bladder” to draw in the ink. I got this by putting in the keyword “antique pen”. I like to use a fountain pen instead of a ballpoint, so I am delighted with this:

Hoping your day is as full of fun surprises~~TSG


Bobcat in a Box Opening #2

Despite the title, you will not find a “Bobcat in a Box Opening #1” since I posted that to my Facebook for family and totally forgot that I could put it here as well.

Bobcat in a Box is a subscription service inspired by the on-line comic strip “xkcd”. The service searches the internet for items that have free shipping and meet the price-point you set. The bot that does the searching sends you things based on key words you put in and also words you tell it to avoid. You can tell the bot that the packages are intended for children of various ages if you want to be sure not to get things that would offend the receiver.

My family, like many others, has a White Elephant exchange. This year, we are going to use Bobcat in a Box to buy the presents. I had each family member give me some keywords and am feeding them to the bot in batches of eight at a time. I intend to do this for at least five months and started back in April. Most of the packages are being put aside to be opened at Christmas. I am occasionally opening a package to be sure we are on track.

As you can see, this package contains a flat multi-tool with a sleeve to hold it so the knife part doesn’t cut me when I reach for it. There is also a key to what the various parts do. Unfortunately, the back of the card, where the descriptions are, is in Chinese. Fortunately, I know someone who speaks Chinese and can translate for me. I wouldn’t want to use something in the unapproved manner.

I believe I got this because of either or both of the keywords “travel” and “Scouts”.~~TSG




A Good Week to Find Things

As most of you know, I like to dumpster “dive”. I don’t think I can actually call it “diving” since I never get into the dumpster. That is just crazy unless you are very young, strong and agile. I have a group I check every week and sometimes they yield salable or usable items. This week, one held a gift bag in which I could see a card stuffed with lottery tickets. When I pulled out the bag, I found a small bottle of wine (still sealed and suitable for cooking) and discovered that some of the tickets (they had been scratched) were winners. A few of the tickets had expired. So, $3 worth had to be discarded. But, one of the still valid cards was worth $15. The Found Money Fund is very happy.

The Found Money Fund is where I keep any money I find during the year. FMP made me a lockbox to keep it in. I usually end up with about $30-40, which I spend at the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. With this ticket and another I found in the trash at Kroger, I have a total of $25 so far this year without the bits and bobs of change I usually find on the ground or in vending machines. This looks to be a good year for holiday shopping.

As you might expect, I also look in coin change machines I pass to see if anyone has left me something. Today, I scooped out three dimes. When I went to put them in the fund, I discovered that one of them is a Mercury Dime from 1942. It’s worth a maximum of $4.50 in mint condition. Mine is probably worth about $1.25. Still, pretty cool!

I forgot to take a picture of the lottery ticket before I cashed it, but here are pictures of the dime. May the coming week be as good to you!~~TSG



On this day, in 1984, FMP laid his entire world at my feet and basically said, “It’s yours if you want it”. I did and I do. Happy anniversary, dear! I love the Minions you gave me.~~TSG


do we have a sign…

…in front of our house saying, “opossums welcome”? We must, because we have just trapped for release the fifth or sixth one we have had in the past year or so. It was in the garage. They have all been juveniles. On two separate occasions, one made it all the way into the back part of the house far from any of the entrances. The first was in our closet about a year ago. We figure he came in a bathroom window we opened to air out the house after a week of rain. About two months ago, CPI found one in his bedroom while he was home from A&M. No clue how it got in that far. The bedroom opossum was a bit skinny and dehydrated, so we kept him for about two weeks to be sure he was stable. Then, CPI took him up to the country and released him. That is where the one we trapped last night is going today. I hope this is the end. I have nothing against opossums, but they do not belong in my house.~~TSG


soda for days

About once a month, one of the dumpsters on my route turns out some sort of new-in-package food that has “expired”. The dumpster is behind a strip mall with both a dollar store and a grocery store. Since the grocery store has its own dumpster on another side of the center, I assume the food is from the dollar store.

This month’s bonanza is, mostly, Coke products; cherry coke, diet coke, coke zero, minute maid lemonade, minute maid fruit punch, fanta orange and fanta strawberry. There is also a single tampico citrus punch. All were at the top of the dumpster; one of those that are only open at the top and are chest-high. All are full and still sealed. The only thing they need is a bit of a wash to get off the dust that seems to be from sitting in storage.

At work every morning, I go to the machine and buy a coke. I don’t drink coffee, so this is how I get my caffeine. The machine charges me $1.50 per soda. The coke haul is a mix of 20-ounce and 2-liter bottles. Given this and the number of bottles recovered, I estimate that I have just saved about $50-75. CPI is in from A&M and will take some back with him.

Given the way I found the sodas, I believe they were left for me. I go by this particular center every Friday. I make no secret of what I am doing if asked. I met the security guard the first time I was there and explained what I was doing. I have read in blogs or seen in YouTube videos, other divers who have people leave them things. If that is the case, thank you to the kind person who did this! Every penny I save this way makes it easier to put the boy through university. Also, thank you to God, Who made sure I found them.~~TSG



IMG_20170527_192313978I like to keep flowers on my desk at work. I buy them when I go to get groceries. Today, HEB had maroon peonies. Never let it be said that an Aggie turned down something in maroon. I have them in a galvanized bucket with some white roses. I’m afraid they won’t be making it to work. I am enjoying them too much here. I’ll have to go get the hot pink ones to take in to the office.~~TSG