I lost my phone

Actually, I didn’t lose my phone.  I just left it on hubby’s desk at Vision Forum while I went on a quick shopping errand.  To tell the truth, I was the one who was lost.  I was lost without my phone.

I didn’t realize it was missing until I arrived at Costco.  My first thought was, “I’m cut off from the world!  I need to tell Facebook!”  Oops.  Can’t do that.

My next thought was, “I need to call Perry and let him know that I don’t have my phone with me in case he tries to call me.”  Oops.  Can’t do that.

Third: “I’ll just shop quickly and go straight back.  Where’s my list?”  It was on my phone.

Whimper.  What time was it?  How long did I have before I needed to be back?  How would I know what “quickly” meant?  I wouldn’t.  I wanted to throw back my head and howl like Woody on Toy Story, “I’m a lost toy!”

I suddenly wondered if I was capable of completing a transaction without my phone.  If that sounds ridiculous, please understand that my husband likes me to have my phone with me at all times, so naturally I’ve gotten used to having it with me, well, ALL THE TIME.  I can’t remember the last time I shopped without my phone.  What did I need to do this?  Cash or debit card – OK.  Costco card – OK. My list – I could work around that.  Anything else?  Do I need an app to buy stuff at Costco?  No?  Sigh of relief.

I dug around in my purse and found a pen and an old-fashioned notepad.  Apparently I still keep paper in my purse for emergencies like this.  Then I dug around in my brain and found most of my Costco list.  All in all, I think I did well.  If anyone noticed my hands shaking, I still say it was just from hunger after a low-carb lunch.

In my shaken state of mind, I forgot to ask a stranger for the time and just hurried straight back to Vision Forum, skipping my other planned stop because I didn’t know if I had time and was not at all confident that I could remember the list for that store.

Evo and I have been reunited, none the worse for wear.  I only missed one call, two text messages and two items on my list.

I’m sharing this as a warning to those of you who don’t have smart phones.  Take it from a girl who didn’t even want one: they are powerfully addictive.

My husband, on the other hand, thinks there is another lesson here.  He says the real problem is that I just don’t use my phone enough.  He says he never would have made it out of the driveway without missing his.

Search results: you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers

It’s always fun to have a peek at the searches that bring people here, and I haven’t done it for a while.  Here are a few recent ones:

You can try to convince me that it’s just a matter of sorting methods or unrelated searches, but does it strike anyone as strange that searches like these always show up together?

Yes, but I don’t recommend the reverse.  If you use shampoo instead of egg, people are not going to be happy.

Sister, you’re in the right place.  All kinds of things go wrong when you don’t have chocolate, don’t they?  Try my Dangerous Chocolate Cake in a Mug as an emergency measure.  I’ve been thinking about putting together a mini free ebook of my 12 best chocolate recipes.  What do you think?  Would it fill a need in your life?

  • should i remove the toilet or the tank

My advice: neither.  You’re probably going to need them both, especially if you have kids – although I do know a family who did away with their traditional toilet and replaced it with a composting toilet.

Yes, when you stop.  Until then, prepare to be challenged – and when I say challenged, I actually mean miserable.

When a question like this stops mid-sentence, do you ever get the impression that the inquirer was going to say something like, “how do you get quality time with your spouse when the kids flood house every time you turn your back?”

  • no house is built big enough to hold two

Now I really want to know: Two what? I’ve seen some really big houses that would hold 2 elephants or 2 sectional sofas with ease.  I know of at least one house with an indoor pool that could probably hold 2 porpoises in a pinch, though they might not be too happy about it.  What exactly can you not fit in a house like that?  2 trampolines, maybe?

Not much, but I have to give our chickens credit: they do know that scraps come from short people – they follow the younger children much more enthusiastically than they do the older people.  And they know that scraps come from somewhere inside the house, because when the pickin’s are slim, they get bold and venture onto the deck, peeking inside the front door to inquire if we’ve forgotten.

Now I have a question for you: Does anyone know where to find my photo of PerryBoy when he was 2 or 3, riding a wooden rocking horse in nothing but a hat, boots, and his whitey-tighties?  Blogger lost it, and I don’t know where else I’ve posted it.  It would really make my day to learn that I (or someone else) shared it somewhere else on the world wide web.



Grab my button

I’ve had more than a few requests for a Life in a Shoe button that readers can put in their sidebar.  Motivated by another recent request and by the upcoming release of the 4 Moms’ first-ever ebook, I put my tech girl Kait on the job.

Here’s what she came up with:

Life in a Shoe
<div align="center"><a href="http://inashoe.com/" title="Life in a Shoe"><img src="http://inashoe.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/shoebutton.jpg" alt="Life in a Shoe" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

And to make things easy for you, I used a code generator to create grabbable code for you.  Is grabbable a word?  I don’t know, but try grabbing it and see what you think. Don’t worry; I double-checked it by grabbing the code from the box for the image above.  If you see my button, then the code works.

Who’s excited about our upcoming book?!  Besides the 4 of us, I mean.


Comparing online tax preparation companies: H&R Block vs. Turbo Tax

I’m getting ready to file my tax return for last year.  We think that income tax should be abolished – after all, America grew and prospered all the way into the 20th century without an income tax – but we do the standard American tax ritual.

We have filed our tax return online for many years, and we went back and forth between Turbo Tax and H&R Block.  We had no problems with either, and both were very easy to use.  Both asked all the relevant questions and walked me through the process online, step by step, allowing me to save my progress and pick up where I left off if I didn’t want to do it all in one sitting.

One year when we had a particularly complicated return – several businesses and an out-of-state rental that we owned – I used both sites to compute our taxes and compared the results before actually filing the return.  H&R Block found a deduction that Turbo Tax missed, changing our refund by $300 for the better.  Since then, we’ve used H&R Block but I try to compare the 2 regularly and nearly always come up with the same numbers.

Turbo Tax I love that both offer free filing, and even if you have too much income to qualify for free filing, each lets you go all the way through the process and only requires payment when it’s time to hit the Submit button.

Here’s my question for you:  Do you think people who file online are crazy?  Have you used either or both?  Which do you prefer?  I would love to have your input in the poll below, and I would love to hear more about your opinion and/or experience in the comments!  Maybe you can convince me that I don’t need to take time to fill out my tax refund twice, if there is a clear winner.

[poll id=”35″]

The links above are affiliate links, so if you use either company through the link I’ll get a commission.  If you want to give them a try but don’t want to use the affiliate links, direct links are below.  Don’t worry; I’ll never know the difference.  🙂

H&R Block

Turbo Tax  

My failed attempt at blogging today

I’ve missed blogging lately, so today I set aside an hour of time to write a post. Since it’s hard for me to focus while life roars around me, I decided to hide away in my clean, quiet bedroom for that precious hour. I wanted to be able to think, to ponder, to formulate what’s on my mind and in my heart, so I could preserve my deepest thoughts and feelings here in my online journal. I wanted to create something deep and meaningful that my descendants could treasure in years to come, a way for them to know and understand me even after I’m gone.
Instead, I spent the first 35 minutes of my hour waiting for my netbook to boot, crash and reboot. Now I’m searching for instructions on how to restore it to factory settings. I also learned that it’s possible to attach a full size keyboard to my phone. This would enable me to smash my netbook into smithereens and repurpose it as potting soil, which sounds far more useful than its current state.
Maybe that’s too destructive. I could just pop all the keys off and use them to play scrabble, or use the hinge to replace the one on the kitchen cabinet that the squirrel broke last month. Maybe I could open it and set it on end as a bed riser?
If you have other ideas for my netbook, I’d love to hear them. How would you use it?

Make money online

While I stall and try to find time and brain cells for a real post, I just thought I’d toss this out for anyone who might find it useful.  It’s a list of companies that pay you to fill out surveys.  Some pay cash, others let you accumulate points toward free merchandise and gift cards, which can be very nearly as good as cash if they are for stores or items you really want.

All are affiliate links, so if you join one I expect a modest kickback.  If you already do any of these, what do you think?  I’m assuming that they do not provide a very good return on your time, but some are fun and they pay a lot more than nothing, which is what you usually get for killing time on the web.

  • Inbox Dollars – Very popular, I think because this company goes far beyond surveys and provides plenty of opportunities.  In this case, I think you can actually hope for a reasonable return on your time if you choose your offers carefully.
  • Memo Link – earn cash & gift cards
  • My Survey – earn cash & gift cards
  • MyView – earn gift cards
  • Nielson – This one sounds fun – you get a free handheld scanner scan the products in your home!  Give it to the kids and let ’em rip, and you get paid for their “work”.
  • Surveys.com – earn points & rewards
  • Under One Roof – earn points
  • Vindale Research‘ – says you get rewarded.  I *think* they pay cash.

Now, what should I *really* blog about?  I have to confess I’m a little obsessed with guns right now since Perry let me choose a new one for my birthday/Christmas gift, and the choice required a lot of research.  I haven’t blogged about it because I suspect many of you are either indifferent or uncomfortable with the subject.  Am I wrong?

What are you searching for?

Our blog has never brought in an impressive amount of search engine traffic (can anybody tell me why?) but the search terms that do bring visitors are always good for a few chuckles.

Here are a few that caught my eye when I reviewed my stats just now while working on another project:

How to fit a family of 7 in 2000 square feet – Really?  Maybe that was a typo: How to find a family of 7 in 2000 square feet, because I’m telling ya: we would be lost in that much space!

How to fit 6 people in a 3 bedroom house – I read this aloud and my kids stared blankly at me.  “Um…2 in each room? Someone really needed Google to tell them that?”

monthly grocery list for 300 – And I thought shopping once a month was a big job back when there were only 9 of us…

llama, llama red pajama activities – I’d really like to know what Google was thinking.  I’m reasonably sure I have never owned or blogged about red pajamas or llamas or any combination thereof or activities therein.

entertaining guests in small homes space – Well, acrobatics are out, but tap dancing or a mime act works well in a small space.

whyred ina shoe – whuuu?

quizno coupons – Me?  I rank for Quiznos coupons???   Thanks, Google!  click here! click here! (I get paid if you do.  How much?  Here’s a clue: if 8 or 10 of you print coupons, I’m off to Quiznos!)

labeling shelves in panrty – For starters I recommend avoiding typos, because that would drive me nuts on a label every time I lookd at it.  Also, I have to assume that I spelled pantry that way at least once since Google saw fit to send the searcher my way.

how to take out a toilet tank – would you believe that post sends me more search engine traffic than any other single post on my whole blog?  I’m in the top 10 on Google for how to remove your toilet tank, or nearly any other way of asking the question.

swelling during pregnancy indicates boy – Really?  Because my belly *always* swells.  I thought swelling during pregnancy indicated pregnancy.

swollten ankles pregnant boy or girl? – So far, every person I’ve met who experienced swollen ankles during pregnancy was a girl.

And all that was just in the last 2 days.  Who thinks I should do this more often?  What brings visitors to your blog?

Saturday linkage

Just popping in to share some highlights from the blogs I read so you can enjoy them and I can find them again someday.

Have I mentioned that I do nearly 100% of my blog reading on my phone now?  I [heart] my phone!  I use the computer to type blog posts and lengthy emails, and to tag people or share links on Facebook; nearly everything else happens on the phone these days.

A few months ago I had zero interest in a smart phone.  A few days ago, I thought I had left my purse in a shopping cart and was hyperventilating over the thought of losing…my phone.  I guess you could say my perspective has shifted.  I think Megan would understand.

Best blog posts I read this week:


What’s the best and brightest of your regular reads this week?

Video Monday: a kids’ creation

I’ve been posting a video every Monday and this week is no different. Well, it’s a little different. OK, a lot different. This video is not an interview with my children or anyone else.

This week’s video is a creation of 11yo Natalie, 9yo Becca (who had a birthday and is now 10yo) and 7yo Rachael. Last week, they begged to be allowed to make a movie. Since they’re fond of carrying expensive electronics around outside and I am not fond of letting them do so, I required them to first write a screenplay.  I wanted to be sure there was a plan to do more than just take videos of their backsides, drop the video camera in a puddle of dust (the only sort of puddle we have in Texas right now) and go jump on the trampoline.

Three hours later, I had a 3 page handwritten screenplay and they were in business.  Although I was pressed into service as camera(wo)man, I did only what they specifically told me.  The creation is entirely their own, from conception to final product.

Enjoy, and I hope you’ll let them know if you like it.

Linky love

Some of my favorite articles lately…


Who thinks the fact that several of those links were food-related has anything to do with the last 6 weeks of dieting?

What have you been reading?