Jackpot! (Or we score a leather jacket)

Today, my husband dragged me to an outlet mall. Yes, HE dragged ME to the outlet mall. An outlet mall that was an hour from our house. I believe he has lost his mind, or at least he did temporarily in the pursuit of a leather jacket.

As I said yesterday, he didn’t want just any old leather jacket. He wanted a blazer style jacket. He was pretty sure that the Wilson’s Leather Outlet would be the place. I didn’t realize how much Wilson’s had pulled back. There used to be a Wilson’s in almost every mall. Now the only one in the state is the one at an outlet mall an hour away.

When we got to the mall, we both commented on how quiet it was for Black Friday weekend. The mall I went to yesterday was also very calm. I’ll be interested to see the retail figures for this weekend. From my observations, people weren’t buying a lot. I also spoke with a number of sales associates on Friday to inquire about the sales. They all stated it wasn’t as busy as they thought it would be. When I was at Kohl’s on Friday, there was an announcement over the intercom that the early morning specials were being extended until 2:30pm. In the years I worked in retail, I had never seen that happen.

As we walk around the outlet mall, Jeff is excited about shopping. This is very odd since my husband HATES shopping. In the last 24 hours, we had been to at least seven stores looking for the perfect leather jacket, going in and out of stores and malls. Now, an outlet mall. We walked into Wilson’s and after 30 seconds found the perfect coat. It was exactly what he wanted and only $135. It fit well, looked good and the price didn’t make me choke. He waited in line as I walked around the store looking for other deals. I found a wonderfully soft scarf on sale for $16.

We concluded the purchase and walked the jacket out to the car. I wanted to do a bit more walking around and Jeff nodded. Apparently, the rabid shopper from ten minutes earlier was gone. He was done. We quickly went into a few more stores. I noticed that a lot of the prices weren’t that great. One of the stores was more expensive than Target for the same merchandise. Other outlets had sales that were not as good as the sales going on all weekend at the regular mall.
I did get a few good deals. We did well at the Hanes and Old Navy Outlets. I took the opportunity to stock up on things we needed.

Clearly, at this point, Jeff was done. Well, except for stopping at the pet store for more fish. I think we have finally replaced all the fish we lost in the storm. The tank is now buzzing with activity and the cats and the husband are happy.

Live is good.

The aquarium saga

About a month and a half ago, I finally gave the okay for Jeff to set up his old aquarium. We’ve had it in the garage for a few years and it’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time. We’ve never had an aquarium as long as we’ve been together and we supposedly had all the parts. Or so I thought. First we had to go to the store to get gravel. Do you know how expensive gravel is? $18 for gravel. Oh and we also needed a new cover and light for the top of the tank. That was $40. Luckily all they had was the floor model and they gave us a discount. We also needed some new decorations for the tank. Another $50. I was starting to think that maybe we just should have gotten another cat. Jeff purchased some other things we need and the total was over $120 for the first trip. This was not a frugal endeavor. We got everything set up and we realized that the filter we had was leaking. Back to the pet store to purchase another filter, $45. But look, we got free filters! Yay? It’s like a coupon. Yeah, I know. I tried to make this seem frugal. After a few days we test the water and everything looks good so we go get some fish. The fish store has us by some bacteria for the tank and the fish food, plus some bleeding heart tetras. The fish are cool and they look like they’ve got a little heart on their side. Reminds me of My Little Ponies. Fifty dollars later, life seems good again. We do everything we are supposed to do to get the fish in the tank and put the bacteria in the tank. My Little Fishies are swimming happily around the tank. We turn off the light and listen to the sound of the filter, dreaming of My Little Fishies. When we woke up the next morning, all the fish were dead. All five of My Little Fishies. We called the aquarium store and we were told to come in with a water sample. We drove 20 minutes back to the aquarium store, only to be told that it was probably the bacteria stuff they sold us. This was the second time this had happened. We had to change the water in the tank, get it all regulated again and they would replace the fish, plus one free fish for the drive. At $4 a gallon gas, I was losing money on this deal but Jeff was heart-broken over the dead fish so we would try again. After another trip down to the aquarium store, My six Little Fishies are doing well. We have also added some zebra fish (another $10). Everyone is happy. Did I mention they got sick? Well, they got Ick to be more precise. Stress related they tell me. I had to get fish medicine. At least that was only $3. Now that things have been going well for about a month and everyone is happy. We decide to get some neons. We purchase five neons and two little catfish ($18). The neons die. My husband says sometimes fish die from stress and they were only $1 each (maybe they were on sale because they were crappy fish?). He doesn’t think they have a fish return policy and flushes them. Again, I go to the pet store to replace the neons, but they don’t have more neons. They have cardinals, which were much more expensive but they are really the fish my husband wanted. I purchase six cardinals because that was all they had and I didn’t want to leave one of the cardinals without the rest of his school ($21). A few hours after we get them home, one of them dies. “It must be stress,” Jeff says and flush. The next day (that would be yesterday), four more die. At this point, I start googling the return policy for the pet store. To get my money back, I need a receipt (got that), a water sample (check), and the dead fish (ewww). I made Jeff get the dead fish out of the tank and we brought them back. We put the fish in a zipper bag and then put the bad in a container with another baggy of water. They tested our water, said it was fine and gave us our money back for all five dead fish, even though we only brought four bodies. Must be stress. Who knew there was so much fish stress. I know this whole process has caused me a lot of stress. And money for that matter. This morning I woke up to find the last cardinal dead. I was proud of myself that I got him out of the tank and put him in a little zipper bag. It’s back to the pet store today. I think I’m all done with new fish for a while. We’ll just have to life with the ones we’ve got, that is until we need an algae eater to keep the tank clean. The saga continues. Could we call it “As the Aquarium Churns”?