Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What happens . . .

What happens when someone you work with is killed on the job?

We had been working 6 days a week, but this time, we had worked all 7 days without a day off.

Monday morning, I went in to work an hour early as usual to set up the work cell I am responsable for, and my supervisor tells me to stop for a minute. I walk over, and he says "last night, [my favorite 3rd shifter whom I will not name here] got stuck in a mold and was killed" In just a few seconds, I realised who he was talking about and that he is gone. Before I could ask, Sup says "No one knows what happened yet, but I need you to catch everyone comming in, and tell them there is a meeting in the lunch room. Don't let anyone go to that building"

I was thinking "Are you kidding me? I want to run outa here screaming, and I have to talk to people?" I went outside where I could indulge in my habit, and inform people as they approached of the meeting. I could see a pink sign on the offending building's door from where I stood, and I wondered what it said. Part of me was glad I didn't work on those parts anymore, because I sure didn't want to now. Upon being told of a meeting, most thought it would be a disaplinary meeting due to the poor attendance on the mandatory Sunday the day before. I only told one person, the material handler who also has to come in early, what it was about. He stayed outside with me, and we smoked like chimneys.

Just the morning before, I had talked to [MF3S] as I always do. I had brought breakfast in for everyone - scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese in a giant crock pot, and told him to have some. He said "Hey why didn't you say happy birthday [MF3S]  on [Month & Date]?" and I responded "Happy birthday [MF3S]  on Month & Date!" and we both laughed. Oh my goodness what a laugh he had! Excedingly energetic, and upbeat, always smiling, moving, and laughing. Who didn't love this guy?
The material handler told me he last saw [MF3S] skipping towards the door smiling, and holding a bowl full of my scrambled eggs, on his way out that morning, and I didn't know whether to feel happy that I had provided his last hot meal or not.

The meeting was quick and we were told to take a few minutes if we needed it. One of my crew wanted to go out for a smoke, and I said "go" Not sure if he'd get in trouble or not, he wanted me to go with him, so I did, and some non smoking members of our crew tagged along.
People that didn't even smoke were out there asking for cigarettes, and I must have given away a whole pack, telling them I had more if they needed it.

Few said what everyone knew: "I could have been me"

By 6am, the news was on many radio stations. I never heard it, but I did hear they got his age wrong. What else will they get wrong?

Back to work, my crew was broken up, both literally and figuritively, as we had to fill in for people who left in despair. Later, two more people left, and I was the only only one that remained in my work cell.
My knees were weak all day, and I wasn't sure if they would hold me up.

Storys were pieced together as we were told bits  of what happened by friends of other 2nd and 3rd shifters [the accident happened at 2nd and 3rd shift overlap], but nothing was complete, and some didn't even make sense.

As if anything could make sense right now.

I found out that his car was still there [who would come get it?] and that my car was parked next to his. ugh!

The building remained closed to all but the investgators, and later a cleaning crew.

Customers of the parts I make, prone to hanging around watching us work, asking why we did or didn't do certain things, getting in the way, and in general, being annoying,  kept their distance for once. They are lucky, as I am prone to be polite for a limited amount of time, and that time was up before I even started this day.

At the end of my shift, some 2nd shifters arrived, but I saw them leaving again before I could pull my car out of the lot. I found out through FB that our sister company sent over their crew to work in that very building, at that very machine that killed my friend, just a few hours later. Less than 24 hours after my friend was Unceremoniously devoured, that predator was brought back to life!

That was our second shock!
Surely that machine that I'd heard was faulty can't be trusted to run again!
I mean I know we needed these parts, and that's why we were on mandatory weekends, but come on! Have some decency!

Back when I was only a  trainer, I had always said "It takes more than one mistake to close a mold on a part" as I point out all the safety's, floor, door, and rules to my co-workers. My rule is "The one who goes in  the press pushes the button [to start it again]" One of my current crew members knows this, and remembers how I told him to unplug the grinders before cleaning them and hang that cord over the top in view so we'd know it was still unplugged while we worked on it.

but this wasn't a part left in the mold. It was a person. It was an awesome person who deserved better. Not some debris to be cleaned off the mold so the monster can be restarted.

When I got home, I skipped dinner, and any chores I had planned, and instead googled stuff about accidents and plant safety until I couldn't see any more, and went to bed.

Tuesday, my crew and I came in early to make up for not running the day before, but were instantly broken up again to staff other areas of the shop, leaving little left to produce the parts I am responsable for.

I was asked to go to our customers facilty, and sort or fix inferior parts that had been shipped to their wherehouse - the very part I swore I never wanted to see again! These of course were crappy because of all the untrained people being thrown at it - due to all the trained people being too traumatised to make them. Luckily, after about an hour they asked us to leave, saying they'd take them "as is"

When I got home, I googled more plant safety, skipped chores again, and dinner again, and went to bed.

Wednesday my crew and I came in early again, and again were sent elsewhere. Finaly the company realised they needed help, and got a 3rd party in to run that machine, as all of 3rd shift had quit and most of 2nd was still traumatised. Some of 2nd shift quit, and a few will be out for awhile, if they even come back. They had a group couselor in at the end of 3rd shift, and shut down for that.

Some co-workers [not management] passed around some sympathy cards to sign.

When I got home, I gave myself a break on plant safety, still skipped chores, and  dinner, and went to bed.

Thursday, they announced a group counseling for our shift, but it seemed they really didn't want us to go, because they needed us to work. My crew was still needed elsewhere as the investigators finally got around to interviewing the people that worked in that building.  So here is my crew working on that monster machine, so that the ones who normally work it, can be interviewed by  the fine folks looking for the truth. [will we ever know it?]

An hour before the meeting, I was told to certify parts that had to ship that day, and that I could stay late if I wanted. I went to the meeting, and normally, I'd stay late, dig in and help, but I wasn't feeling it, so I left imediately after.

The meeting was held in the offending building, which I am sure was planned to force us into that lair. I was insulted that they appeared to treat this as a "get back on the horse" moment. I gave the monster a wide birth as I passed it.
The tables were made into a U configuration, topped with kleenex, and the couselor handed out printed brochures titled "Critical Incident Resources" and once again I was insulted that my friends death was reduced to a critical incident.

Really? I've had horribly critical incidents in my life, and I lived!!!!!

I don't know if it helped, but I had thought I was one of few who knew [MF3S]  and I found out everybody had worked with him. He always stayed late into our shift, right up to the company's 12 hour cut off, and there was nobody that didn't know and love working with him!

An office worker complained that the customer of the part made by the offending machine, had the audacity to ask if the machine was damaged, and when we'd be back up running again.

One of the things the couselor said was to "imagine the worst day in your life, and remember you survived that, and know that you will survive this" I thought "lady, you don't know me, what I've been through, and I sure don't want to think back on those times to determine which was the worst one. Yes, I did survive, but I was forever changed, and each time I reassesed my life plan, and made changes because of it"
So, yes, I am, once again, reassessing my goals, and my plans toward that goal, but first, I need to vegetate for awhile.
and I need answers. Not gory details, but answers. I need to be assured that this can't happen again. I need to feel safe, and that the company is doing all it can to insure the safety of it's employees. Right now, I don't feel any of that. I just feel pressure to perform my regular duties, because they need the finished goods. Was that pressure one of the causes of the accident? Will we ever know?

Of course management probably knew him, but not like we did. and they certainly never realised, and probably still don't, that we are broken! One of our loved ones has been killed by your careless supervisor controling this big monster and we are devastated!

There were rumours of another mandatory weekend, and I'd had enough. I went right to my Sup, and asked if we would have to work this weekend. My next question was already prepared "Would we be punished if we didn't?" but he answered my first with "It's voluntary" and I quickly said "ok" and walked out of his office.

On the way home, and feeling sorry for my neglected husband, I picked up a $5 pizza, still skipped any chores I had, ate a couple of the smaller pieces, and went to bed.

Fri, our crew was back together again halfway through the day, and like thoroughbreds that had been held back, they eagerly churned out an impressive number of parts.

 I was coasting toward the first real weekend I'd had off in awhile, knowing most of it would be spent catching up on stuff I hadn't done for weeks. but that would be ok this time. I just need to do normal things. I know I will never feel normal, but will instead adopt a new normal. One without my friend. One I hope will include justice for him, and a safer work environment for the rest of us. Will it?

First day back after the weekend, 1 person from 3rd that we thought had quit, returned - on our shift.

An obituary was posted on the entrance and lunchroom doors.

We found out that our customer came in over the weekend, and ran that machine. That's all they did, as we noted they didn't trim, or lable or even pack the parts correctly.
Later, a 3rd party came in to fix them.

I noticed a new sign on the machine that runs my parts [same size as the monster in the other building], and suspect it is on the others as well. It said in a nutshell that the person who enters and exits the machine is the one who should push the button to start it. Of course this is contrary to what the supervisors had been telling us: "Op1: You get the parts out, and Op2: you push the button" was the mantra to shave 8 seconds off the cycle time. I had previously refused, and instead moved a table by the machines door, so I could put the parts down quickly, spin to face the panel, and push the button myself. Problem solved.
So simple.
I am a production junky, and if I refuse to do something, it's for a reason. I will find a safe way to make quality parts in a reasonable amount of time. So why oh why didn't everyone do it that way?

As I write this, I remember once when my machine was running 'those" parts went down,  and the Sup was inside the mold, working on it.  I had gone there to put the OP's on another job until this was running again. While I was there, not 3 feet from the panel that controls the machine, another employee walked up from the end where you can't see inside the mold, and started to turn it back on. I screamed "No, don't touch it!" and he hesistated, but continued, and I screamed "Stop - it's down!" and threw myself between him and the panel. He told me to relax, and asked how long it had been down. and I said I don't know, but they are working on it right freaking now! He said ok, relax. I said "NO, you don't just just walk up and start pushing buttons when you don't even know what's going on!"  I wonder if my boss knew I probably saved his life that day?

So simple. The one who enters/exits the machine pushes the button.

Later, a 2nd shifter whom we thought had quit, returned.

2 days after returning from the weekend, and a couple of people had T-shirts made memorialising our friend.
I noticed the new sign on the machine had misspelled "Obstruction" probably because they were under the gun from OSHA. People are obstructions now?

3 days after returning from the weekend, the obit notice was taken down from the lunchroom door, and replaced with one from an unknown person, who turned out to be the relative of one of the management, whom nobody knew.

4 days after returning from the weekend, it was annouced we would be working this weekend.

and so it goes.

The dust has settled.

No questions have been answered.

Nothing has really changed.

Oh wait, my friend was wearing headphones when his supervisor pushed the button to cycle the machine, so they decided we couldn't wear headphones anymore. Yeah if only he wasn't wearing head phones,  . . . the Sup wouldn't have pushed the button without checking inside the mold [6 seconds], the door wouldn't have closed [8 seconds], and the mold wouldn't have closed [18" per second, then slows down as it engages the horn pins for a total of about 9 seconds] and crushed him. Yeah, that's it. My friend is gone in 17 seconds because the Sup didn't want to spend 6 more to check the mold, but lets blame headphones.

I think I know what happened, but I can't say, because of the possible lawsuit. I have done some die setting, and I know what has to happen to cause a tragety like this one. Again, more than one thing. Several rules were broken, and if anyone one of those people, or things worked as they should, this would never have happened.

I have changed.
I look at every open mold to see if there is an escape route, and train my eyes to detect the door closing, as well as my brain to react appropriately, should that door begin to close. The offending mold was as wide as the entire press that housed it, and taller than me, but it began at my knees. If I had to, I could lay down, and  . . . probably make it.

I began writing  my resume. I put down that we moved too far away to continue as the reason for leaving.
Would my prospective employers know that I work at  a company responsable for killing someone, and hold it against me?
2 months after they killed my friend, A sup I have known for 3 years and worked with for 2 of them quit.
4 months later, the company failed their yearly ISO and TS audits, and the head of quality threw up her hands and quit. The company no longer holds certification for anything.
6 months later, one customer pulled all their molds, and truck after truck lined up to be loaded so they could deliver them to other plants.

Even though I am overqualified, I want a simple operators job once again. I still need time to decompress, but I can't say that.
I keep getting calls for supervisor positions, but I am not entirely confident in that roll. I can do it, but I no longer want to come in early and stay late solving problems I did not create. I do not want to be in a position where I have to lie to people, or do things that aren't safe.
I want to raise chickens.
and make quilts.
and grow stuff.
and invent things.
You know, have fun again.
I finally convinced one prospective employer that I just want to work, and it seems like I may have a shot.

Finally, I got a call for employment starting the first of the year, which I had off at my plant, so I went there for orientation.  The plant tour emphasized plant safety and OSHA requirements. They wanted me to start the next day, but I felt I owed my crew, now called the "A team" by the customers, a chance to say goodbye. Plus I wanted to make sure that what happend to my friend wouldn't happen again without me there to provide optional directions when the head supervisor tells them that one goes in and the other one closes the door.

6 1/2 months after they killed my friend,  I took the new job, giving my company 4 days notice.  During those 4 days, I grilled my crew on plant safety. I still think if I was working with my favorite 3rd shifter that day, he'd be alive now.
I don't even care if the new job doesn't work out. They killed my friend , and they don't deserve to have me work for them.
and at least it moves them down one spot on my resume.

The Supervisor who killed my friend is still there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Installing T-Post Clips on Garden Fence

I decided to fence in the humble beginnings of a garden, before it got too far.  Fat chance of that happening with the bunnies and other critters taking care of things for me. Bless their little furry hearts. To rephrase:  "before I sunk any more money into feeding the wild life." There, that's better. So I measured, and came up with a number divisible by 6, because that is the post spacing I would be using.
Then I drew a picture, and added up the perimeter footage 24'x2+36'x2= 120ft, got my post count of 20, and looked up supplies. I found that T posts are sold in total length, so if putting up a 5ft fence, I need 6 1/2 ft posts. Which they do not make, btw, so I will be fine with a little bit of fence over the top. I decided to go with 7 footers for the corners, and sink them an extra foot. Added everything to an online shopping cart, got my total, and then went to another site to price compare. The other site wasn't as friendly. It made me pick a store, then wanted to know if I would be picking items up or having them shipped, which makes sense, except  when I chose pick-up, it would not let me put them in a shopping cart. This was at 8am, and I wanted to get going, so I just went to the store that let me put stuff in a virtual shopping cart. I copied the cart contents, and printed it, and now I have my list.
I got what they call T-Posts, and what they call T-Post Clips, plus 3 - 50' rolls of 5' fence, and  150' chicken wire to re-enforce [detour smaller critters from] the bottom 2' of the 2"x4" fencing.
I think I am good to go, and after measuring and marking the spacing, I pound the posts in, and partially unroll one roll of fence. Now I am looking at these things called T-Posts and these things labled T-Post Clips, and my fence, and thinking something isn't quite right.




I must be what they call challenged because I do not see how these things go together. If I place them how they are shaped, they don't hook to the fence. If I hook them to the fence, they are of opposing shapes. There must be a trick to this I am not seeing. Of course there are no instructions for this. They must go together, because 1) they are given away in packs of 10 for free with each post, and 2) it's the only fence clip they, or anyone else for that matter sells.






So I went online and googled how to install garden fence. I got all kinds of stuff involving 2" fencing for bunnies, then guys with big tractors, using 2x4's to stretch the fence with, and a guy who uses fishing line for deer, and finally a guy who made a thing called a T-Post Clip bender. It looked so easy, I wanted one. I used plastic tie wraps to hold things in place, wrestled with a few of those clips, and decided to get one in the morning. After all, they are carried everywhere! So they said. I looked up a couple stores online, TSC, Home Depot, are the closest. TSC's wesite said one store was out, and the other stores listed, including the one by me said to call. They open at 9, so I just went at 8:30, having run out of coffee creamer.
No one had these stinkin things!
So, after trial and error, here is what I did:
Using 2 different pairs of pliers, and plastic tie wraps to help hold fence in place,
1 Straighten the T-Post Clip in the middle like the one shown on the left



2 Hook the 'one bend end' of the clip on the back side [in fact do one whole post at a time]



3 Wrap the one bend end around the piece of fence



4 Take pliers and grab the 2 bend end and hook it through the fence





5 Walk around to front of the fence,



6 Grab the clip at the point closest to the fence with the big mouth pliers to get the twist going.



7 Hold that position with your left hand using the smaller pliers



8 with other hand grab the wire and twist it with the big pliers. You can't see me using 2 pliers at once, because I was holding camera, but it will start to look like this:



9 After coupla turns it will end up like this



and that is how to make these illogicaly shaped T-Post Clips fit on to a T-Post!
If after all that, if anything makes in my garden and has dinner on me, I will have dinner on him!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug 9th was my one month anniversary at my 'new' job. So I reflected for a moment . . .

My first day of work I pulled out of the drive on to the road, beat physically and mentally, and saw something blinking across the street. Straining to open my eyes wider and focus on something, anything to reassure myself they still worked,  revealed it was one of those lights that sits on a traffic saw-horse thingy, laying down flat in the weeds. I looked at it, and said "I know how you feel"

Everyday, that mortally injured light blinked at me to say "Im still here" and I agreed with it. After 4 weeks it's still hanging on, wispering for help, but I feel much stronger. So now I look at it and say "Get up you. It ain't over until you stop blinking" It slowly blinks away, more faintly, while the weeds conspire to choke it out and it answers "I'm done. Go on without me" and I will. It will be a sad day when I don't see that flash of yellow that was my commiserating friend after a long day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Graduation Means to Me

Graduation.
- A receipt of an academic degree or diploma marking completion of studies.
and or
- A line (as on a vessel or ruler) that marks a measurement.

My daughter is all grown up now. She turned 18 in the spring, graduated High School in June, and moved in with her friend shortly thereafter. I'm not worried about her, because she knows it all. If I have any doubts, all I have to do is ask her, or think back to the many times she has interupted my advice with "I know".

Most of my adult life, I have worked jobs [many times 2 at a time] around the care of my 2 children and this is the last one.
My daughter graduated, and so did we.
Many our previous worrys have been changed with ones which aren't new at all.

When I was 18 and starting out on my own, I needed a full time job.
Child care wasn't an issue, so I could work as much, and whenever I wanted. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, parties, beer, and transportation for one!

Then there were two.
Child care still wasn't an issue, so I could work as much as I wanted. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, really hadn't doubled,  since there were two of us to handle it . . .  [turns out only one of us was in fact handling it] yet the parties and beer had more than doubled. hmmmm . . .

Then there were three. The beer parties were replaced by Tupperware, and Home Interior parties, and I could only work when daycare was available. Number #2 got replaced, and eventually there were 4.
Day care was an issue, scheduals got juggled, teachers called and wrote notes, and eventually, I quit one of my jobs because daycare and taxes ate up more than half of what I made.

Fast forward to now, and we are back where I started, except
There are two, much smarter adults who know what to do with our time.
Child care isn't an issue, so I got a full time job, and weekends are mine once again. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation for us two is quite managable.
I never did like parties much, and hubby is an AA member.
I quilt, read, buy cheap stuff at garage sales, and I finaly got my motorcycle license, so I can ride the bike I got 2 years ago - a 400 Maxum.
Hubby also works full time, and plays with his wood. He is a very good carpender, and in fact his carpendry work is what has paid for his new [to us] Gold Wing.
and
I can have a spray can of whipped cream in my fridge, and it will be there until one of us gets it out and serves it to both of us! Oh yeah, and I can have ice cream, and  expensive shampoos, and body washes that smell like a slice of heaven, and make up, and a drawer full of clean paired up socks, and clothes that were made this year!  A roll of toilet paper lasts a week, and when I reach down into the cupboard under the sink - there's more!
I even recently bought what Mike calls a "Party Case" of his Hard Lemonade, and I found it to go down smooth - not hard at all, although I still have 9 left. Hey, I can drink them or not! They ain't going nowhere! Maybe I'll keep em till Christmas.
The gem I most  recently learned:
Apple pie and ice cream in the bath tub is pretty awesome after a long day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Time To Go - Used Gas Mask For Sale

Once again, another job change was in order. Just like many seemingly perfect jobs in the past, this too had evolved  to a point where no improvements will be made until I'm gone, and they see what I actaully had to deal with.

I worked every morning in a horse barn, only they aren't horses I'm tending to. It's 10 [10'x10'] stalls long with a 10' wide isle in the middle and 10 more stalls on the other side, but 5 of those are being used as feed/equipment rooms. So there's basically 15 stalls. I won't say what the animals are, but they are 200lbs and about the size of a small pony, so lets call em ponies. These ponies are herd animals, and must be in groups of at least 3. A few like people, but most don't.
I'd been there every day for 3 years, and they only had 17 critters when I started.
This lady expected to breed and sell them. She hadn't sold one, and in fact purchased more, plus all the  breeding, they  now have 45 - 17 of which are full grown males.

The previous summer [with 10 less ponies], the lady was bothered by the pools of urine standing in the stalls, so she called in some excavation people, and I over heard her talking.
First though, I must say that the isles are cement, and the stalls are layered with gravel, then clay, then rubber mats. Horse people would put down wood shavings, or other absorbant material, and then shovel up the dirty material, and replace as needed.  Plus horses are let out during the day, and a lot of their potty occurs outside.
This lady lets her critters roam in and out freely, only closing them in at night. Because they only potty where they feel safe, guess where that is? Yes, they come in from the fields to drink and go potty, and then they go back outside.  Anyway, she had pulled up the rubber mats and dumped sand in. We rake the poop out of the sand twice a day. I am the morning person, and there is an afternoon person. Since it's impossible to remove the potty without removing any sand [a constant source of contention by her hubby who thinks we're scooping up too much sand], the sand eventually gets lower, and lower, and more packed down, and then they dump in more sand. It was obvious to me when the sand at the outside walls was a foot higher than the sand in the middle, that, ya know, that whole apple falling downhill theory musta passed her by. Hence the pools of urine staring at her.

OK, so she was talking to the excavation guys: "We have a drainage problem.  This used to be a horse barn, and they had these rubber matts down, so when the horses pee, it just drains in the cracks. [yeah, that's really what she thought - can you imagine?] It must have been fine for the horses, but we have many more per stall, and we need better drainage."

Now, like some of you, I am wondering just where she thinks the pee is supposed to drain to?

Well these guys came later and dug out all the old sand and clay, and put down new gravel, and new sand. The lady and her hubby were very pleased at the result, especially since they thought of it all by themselves. Remember that's the same brain that thinks horse pee can/will/did adequitely drain through cracks between rubber matts.

So it smelled better,  but by the following spring, all those baby boys became 1 year olds, and had to be moved out of the mom's and baby's section, and into the boys section.

The weather got kinda cold up here, and they closed all the windows. So when I walked in [I'm always the first to arrive] I'm hit by a wall of amonia. I can't even describe it, but lemme try. How about 8 cats in a 10'x10'  room closed in with their litter box? Now go into that room and work out for 2 hours.

I can't open the doors until it gets light outside, because there are coyotes in them there woods, that would love to make a nice breakfast of these critters. I tried to come later, but if I come any later than a certain hour, I won't get done in time to go to my next job.

Noticing the fumes  when she came in [about an hour after I get there] she suggested that I should use one of those dust masks from home depot for 'the smell' I told her those masks aren't for amonia.
After a couple of hours of research, I printed out some solutions for amonia in horse barns, and gave them to her, but she continued to defy the laws of logic and chemistry.

I got this sinus infection, that started the first day they closed those windows, and she must heard me coughing, so she suggested I turn the fans on when I come in, and I did. Her hubby came in and turned them off [He's a cheap ass - but more about him later] saying it was using too much electricty.
She suggested the dust mask again.
I wanna say "Lady, it ain't about smell, its fumes, ya know like the chemical amonia in the air?"
and if it ain't good for me, it probably ain't good for the critters either. 45 animals in 15 stalls is too dam many and there's no drainage happening through sand.  That pee ain't goin to china, ya know. Even if the liquid did some how drain away, there is still the little matter of the amonia left behind!

Knowing I couldn't fix her, I gotta save me, so I googled a mask rated for amonia. Found one at Tractor Supply Co. It cost me $50. The lady didn't want me wearing it in her barn. I quit.

Anyone want a slightly used gas mask?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Saving Money With Grocery Lists

I am cheap, but to apease my husband I will use the word "Thrifty"
I'm not stupid.
I know if I buy an item really cheap that won't last as long as I need it to, I did not save any money.
and I know time is money, so if I have to research an item for hours to find where to get it for less [like the NorthFace jacket my daughter wanted], sometimes, it's just better to go to the source, pay the price, and go to bed.
I also don't do lists in the way that the media will tell you in those cut and paste 'saving money on groceries' articles that get passed around, and passed around until many think they are true. You know, the ones that say to eat before you go, and make a list and stick to it.
I like to go hungry, so I can fill up on samples, and won't have to cook dinner that night.
and lists?
My friend makes a list, collects all the grocery ads and then writes on that list where to go for each item. She also cuts coupons, and uses them at stores that double them. Then she calls me to tell me she paid 19 cents for a $3 item. I have never been a witness to this, however.
In fact, whatever I pay for something, she will tell me she paid less, again, something I have never witnessed, and in fact once, when I was going to buy 2 lbs of pecans for which I usually pay $15, and found the price had increased to $19, I passed on them. Later when I told her, she said one of the stores she frequents has them for $14. I was going out her way for something, and we met up, went to her store where it turned out they were $21. She insisted they had been $14 a mere couple of days before . . .

Ok, so here is what I do.
I have a list, but we [hubby and I] write stuff we are out of, or about to run out of, starting at the bottom of the pad that hangs on the fridge. See, if you start your list at the top like most people, when you go shopping, you will tear off that whole piece of paper right? Not I.
When neccessity requires that I leave the house for supplies, I simply tear off just above where we wrote stuff, leaving more paper for next time. Blame or praise my daughter for that trick. She is notorious for writing frivolous/unhealthy/expensive foods that I will never buy, [at the top] as soon as I tore off the old list. So not only do I not take her 'suggestions' with me, but her desires remain on the top of the list, saving me a lot of paper.
Now note that I said this list contains "what we are out of" It is not a wish list like my teenage daughter thinks.
When I am shopping, I ONLY buy things that are on sale. The probablility of getting something on the list is 100% if it is on sale. If something on the list isn't on sale, whether or not it comes home with me depends soley on how important I think it is, and if I think we can go without before I either 1] venture out again, or 2] it goes on sale later. Or 3] if I just luva ya. [Hubby gets everything he writes]
Now if I am not shopping off a list, and none of the stores near me offer double coupons, and even if I used coupons, they are always for the brands that are so expensive, then even with a coupon they are still more, or else they are for items I would never, ever eat, or in quantities that I would never in my lifetime use, then how the heck do I save money contrary to to what all the media says?
It very simple. I buy what's on sale. Not eveything that's on sale, mind you, but ONLY what's on sale.
We eat meals made 'creatively' out of what I bought. There's a few times, I didn't even know what it was, bought it anyway, and asked my husband when I got home. He didn't know either, so we googled it. Hey it was a good price and Jet's Ranch is good on everything!
So as a result, I get the best price on pretty much everything.
Secondly, I shop at odd hours. Early in the morning ensures that the sale items will be in stock, but if you go too early, you will miss out on the 'marked down for quick sale' items that typically appear after 9am to make room for the new fresh stuff, but will be gone by 4 pm, when all the Moms go after their kids get out of school.
So between the hours of 9 and 4 you get your selection, AND a good shot at those discount racks.
Know your store. Know where those discount racks are, and when they stock them. Sometimes even where. I was once shopping and saw the bakery lady pulling stuff off the sheves, and I asked if she was going to discount them. She said yes, and asked me what I wanted, and I told her, so she stamped it, and off I went, freshly discounted item in cart.
Is a day old bakery item 'fresh' if it is freshly discounted? I think so.

So that's how I came home with 4 - 3.5lb lamb roasts, and 10 lbs corned beef [for my next meat grind], 6 lbs of strawberries, 4 bags of cat litter [I was cleaning garage and needed it to absorb oil], several boxes of grape nuts and various other things, for $60 after having gone with a list containing 2 items.

At the very least, I am saving paper!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pink Slime? Not in MY Hamburger!

I just heard about this pink slime stuff.
howstuffworks.com/pinkslime
It almost made me sick to think about Fat, sinew, bloody effluvia [I don't even want to know what that is!], and bits of meat treated with a puff of ammonia to make it somehow "good"
Yuk!
No wonder my own ground beef tastes so much better than store bought!
I am so glad I have been grinding my own meat for, probably a year now. If I hadn't been, I think I would have heaved upon hearing this.
I was just getting ready to grind up about 20 pounds to cook, and package up for tacos, spaghetti, ect., when the nightly news came on, and had a story about this. Apparently it's been going on for awhile now.
My advice is to get a meat grinder before the price goes up. 10 lbs can easily be done in about 20 minutes by a $5 hand grinder found at many thrift stores, or get an electric one [about $100] for more than 10 lbs at a time. Quite frankly if I didn't already have 2 hand grinders and an eletric one, I would gladly pay $20 for one now.
It's not that I am that picky, but I have a right to know what's in foods labeled for sale, and make choices based on that knowledge. If I feel a company has betrayed me by being deceptive in disclosing the ingredients or processes used to make it, I simply chose to discontinue being used/ripped off by them.
In other words, if your stuff is crap, just say so. There is still an unbelievable market for crap nowadays! Albeit a reduced one, but at least the company won't have to switch gears and/or downsize when folks discover it's crap anyways. - and they will!
I think it's almost funny the number of companies that have come forward to say that they won't use it anymore.
Yuk! That means that did!
Now the company that makes it is complaining that they have shut down for 2 months to sugar coat this mess, and if no one will buy their crap after that, they may have to shut down completely and people will lose jobs. Oh sure, blame us for losing jobs because we don't want to eat your crap!
Wasn't it originaly suposed to be for dog food anyway? What are they putting in dog food if not this? Something worse possibly? Speaking of dogfood, how 'bout we tell china to keep their crap, cuz we have enough of our own, right here! That ought to bring back a couple jobs at least.

Here is what I wrote when I started doing it last year.
http://speechlessworkinstiff.blogspot.com/2011/06/meat-beating-system-part-1_09.html
and here is why I wouldn't buy store ground beef again, but now it's for another reason.
http://speechlessworkinstiff.blogspot.com/2011/06/meat-beating-system-part-2.html

The thing I hear from people is that they don't have time to do this. Yes you do! It saves you time. I spend about 4 to 6 hours every 3 months grinding, preparing, and packaging meat. I alernate between meatloves, ground beef patties, and precooked ground beef packages, so that nothing is older than 9 months, and meals take minutes to prepare.
I've been making my own bread for about 2 years now, and just started making yogurt.
I don't even want to know what the yogurt places are putting in that stuff, and I hope I never find out.