Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dyson Vacuum

This is a rant and a rave. First the rave. I love my Dyson vacuum cleaner - it works so well and is easy to empty. By far the best sucking vacuum I have ever had.


How can you design such a great vacuum cleaner and make the attachments so awkward to use? I have given up on them. I get my hand vac out. So if you can't make them easy to use, get rid of them. Reduce the weight and charge me less.


Again, with such a great vacuum, how come no one in the testing phase noticed that the vacuum is too high to go under a standard toekick? So in my bathroom and kitchen, I cannot get to the last 2 inches of floor because the Dyson stands too tall. Just 1/2 inch shorter would have worked.

That said, still a great vacuum.

Discount Cards

On the subject of those discount cards - there are too many. Even with the ones that you can put on your key ring, they still take up too much space. My key ring got so full that I couldn't move the cards anymore. Take a leaf from the Publix book - GET RID OF THE CARDS.


Writing about the restaurants reminded me that I intended to rave about Publix. I have never lived in an area with a Publix supermarket before. I have to say that I really like them. They are clean and the service is excellent. Kroger, Bi-Lo and particularly Food Lion (my least favorite) take note. Plus I like the fact that I don't have to carry a stupid card to get the deals each week - everyone gets them. And the mystery coupon is a brilliant idea. I look for my coupon in the paper each Sunday and look forward to going to the store to see what I am going to get. For those who don't know, the mystery coupon lets you buy one item, determined by the store each week, for 1 cent. This week I got Bounty paper towels. I think it is a fun idea.

Two good restaurants

We have been trying things out in our new location and a couple of restaurants are worth a mention. For Thai food, Mai Thai on Washington Rd, near the Publix in Evans. For Indian food, a new restaurant in the Bi-Lo shopping center on Fury's Ferry Rd in Martinez. We had good meals at both restaurants, with just the right amount of attentive service, i.e. not hovering over you, but not slow either.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I am new to 24. I watched the first season and enjoyed it, but I gave up during the second. I found the daughter really irritating, and also that woman who worked for Jack but then went bad. Plus I don't like all the blood and guts. But my husband kept on watching and raving about it, so I decided to give it another try this season. I was hearing nothing but good stuff about it on the radio.

The first night was okay. Not as spectacular as I expected. I did manage a 15 minute snooze when the kid who had to deliver the package shot the neighbour guy (my husband told me later). The snooze was real but could be put down to a couple of glasses of wine before dinner - not used to the alcohol since I went back on the low-carb diet. Still, I didn't feel like I missed much and I did enjoy the snooze.

But last night the whole thing fell apart for me. In order for the bad guys' plan to work, the president has to decide to release 100+ other terrorists. No president would do this. Especially since the threat at the time he makes the decision is merely a few suicide bombs. He doesn't even know about the suitcase bomb. Of course the president does make plans to release the terrorists - against the judgement of his advisors. So unless there's a twist and the president turns out to be a bad guy too, the show doesn't make any sense to me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Health Savings Account accounts

I spent much of today trying to find an account for our health savings account. Some of these places are charging ridiculous fees. I don't really see that it is so different from a bank account. You make contributions and withdrawls. The custodian is not required to make sure that your withdrawls are for valid medical expenses, that's up to you. So at most they have a little reporting paperwork to do, and surely that is computerised.

And yet some of them want to charge anywhere from $25 to $50 to set the account up. Then they take your money and pay you a paltry rate of interest, all the while charging an account maintenance fee of anywhere from $3 to $5 per month. Some of them let you make investments in mutual funds. There's another minefield to sort through. Some offer only front-end load funds. Some offer only their own funds. Some make you keep a minimum balance of $2000 to $3000 in their low-interest bank account first. I finally found one that sounded not too bad - $20 to set up, $39 to maintain and I can invest in a wide range of Vanguard mutual funds. Then we get to the small print. They charge 0.0009 times the quartely balance every quarter as another fee, up to a maximum of $18 per quarter or another $72 per year. What for? Why does it cost this to hold a mutual fund with them, when I can hold the same fund with Vanguard without the fee? What am I getting for this?

Back to square one and another wasted day.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of having a health savings account - I like being in charge - but we need some more competition out there to bring the rates down and take the mystery out of the thing.

Bank of America Rant

I had to use the Bank of America ATM for the first time today. I was making a deposit for the whopping sum of $5.42. After struggling to reach the card input place, (which was not labelled by the way), I finally got to the point where I am supposed to make my deposit, IN A SEALED DEPOSIT ENVELOPE, it says. Well where is the stock of envelopes? Am I required to create one out of thin air? Please banks, if you require a deposit envelope, provide some!

Still on the subject of deposit envelopes, I remember a deposit we tried to make at BB&T's ATM in Little River, SC. They did provide a stash of envelopes, of course you had to get out of your car to find one because they were stored at about knee level. So to get out of the car you have to reverse or pull forward because you parked so close to the ATM that you cannot open your door. On this particular occasion there were two of us, however. So I got out of the car and went around the back of the car and got an envelope. Now it was summertime. And it is very humid in Little River in the Summer. So the glue on the flap had become moist and stuck itself down. I got another one. Same thing. We ended up sitting in the car with a pile of envelopes, trying to unstick one that we could use. So for humid places, try to come up with something other than glue.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Great bargain

Two raves in a row - rest assured the trend will not continue. This is more of a jubilant posting than a rave. Once in a while you find a really great bargain. Sometimes, however, they end up being mistakes. What I mean is that you get so excited about the bargain price that you can't focus on whether you actually want or need the item. So often, the bargain ends up sitting in the closet unused.

But this time I really got it right. On Thursday I bought a leather jacket at Kohls reduced from $180 to $45. After taking off 15% for using my charge card and another 10% with my coupon, the final sale price was only $34.425 (+ tax). And since Thursday I have worn the jacket 3 times, it feels great and I love it. Hence my jubilation.

It remains to be seen whether the sports jacket I bought for Steve ever sees the light of day. Maybe I can influence that by packing it when we go to our North Carolina house next weekend - he can wear it for Sunday brunch at my club, the Grande Dunes Ocean Club.

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

It seems more upbeat to start with a RAVE. Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding is the BEST bread pudding I have ever had. Delicious. Thanks to Savannah Red in the Charlotte Marriott.

My second favorite bread pudding would be the one at Jazz'd in Savannah, GA. Try this as part of their $50 for two tapas dinner - a great deal. I also recommend the Five Onion Soup, Baked Cheese Terra Cotta Plate, Cuban-Rubbed Beef Satays with Jalapeno Glaze and Martini Marinated Tenderloin Tips.

Deserving an honorable mention for bread pudding is the French Market Grille in Augusta, GA. The New Orleans bread pudding is very good, but they also have an excellent Frozen Peanut Butter Pie and Lemon Creme Cheese Pie which makes the choice very difficult. Unfortunately, none of these are acceptable offerings for my low carb diet.