Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Dreaded 'B' Word

I hate to admit this, but there is a word that I just absolutely hate: budget. I don't know why I hate it, but I do. I guess to me the word budget means 'poor' or 'not enough money'. On a deeper level, 'budget' represents restraint and lack of freedom. I am a spendthrift. I love to shop. Actually, if there were a spiritual gift of shopping, I'd operate quite strong in that gift. Now, even though I'm a spendthrift, I am at heart a bargain shopper. As much as I love to shop, I really hate paying full retail for anything.

Lately, God has really been dealing with me regarding my spendthrifty ways. I know that I have to establish a budget, but I've managed to ignore His heed. Well, I'm here to tell you that God has a sense of humor. Almost a year ago, I started a new job. Part of my responsibilities is to manage the department's budget. Basically I thought I'd just track expenditures. As it turns out, it's way more involved than that. I have to monitor spending, assist with developing the budget for each fiscal year, and a host of other related things. This is no small budget, either. We're talking over a couple million dollars. Aack!

This is really stretching me because it's totally out of my realm of experience. The funny thing is that I'm very careful with the department's budget because really, it's the public's money. So, I started thinking: If I can do this for man, shouldn't I be even more responsible with God's money? No sooner did my thinking on this change, when my church announced they were starting an eight week budget class. Hmm, is God not speaking? The good news is that I start tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited about it. Who knew I'd actually look forward to talking about a budget?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tip Of the Month

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone! I know I haven't posted in awhile, but I have developed very bad tendinitis in both of my elbows, so I'm not using the computer near as much as I have. It's been pretty excrutiating, and so far not much has worked.

At any rate, I thought I'd start doing a new feature which will be called 'Tip Of the Month'. I thought about doing weekly tips, but I know me, and I know I wouldn't do it weekly, so monthly it is.

Anywho, I like getting helpful tips, but what I don't like is tips that are silly or just over the top, so my tips will be things that I've at least tried once or twice.

So, for this month's tip, I give you Dawn's Liquid Detergent. Now, we all know Dawn 'gets grease out of your way', and some of us probably know that wildlife biologists use it to clean water fowl that may have been victims of the bad environment, but did you know that Dawn can unclog your toilet?

I know what you're thinking, and yes, it's completely true. I found this out about two months after we moved to our new house. We have an older home that has a lot of character--I've come to discover that 'character' means that your house has special issues with the plumbing, electricity, heating, or maybe all of the above. We're on a septic system, and in our naive little innocence quickly learned that there are certain things that cannot be flushed down a septic system. Hence, weekly we sloshed around in disgustingness--I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, it was enough to break me until one day my father gave me an article that he pulled from the Internet. The article stated that if you dump 1/2 cup of Dawn (the original blue formula), let it set for about 1/2 hour, and then pour a couple of gallons of very hot water down the toilet, your toilet will unclog.

I was a total non-believer, but one hot summer day, 'character' would not go down, and so in my desperation, I ran to Target (best store in the world) and purchased some Dawn. It worked like a charm. Here are my helpful tips:

  1. Make sure you turn the water valve off first--trust me on this
  2. Pour the water slowly--Dawn is detergent after all, and if you pour it too quickly you'll get a bubbly mess
  3. You may still have to plunge once or twice more, but it will go down
  4. You may have to go through the steps more than once
You basically have to adjust to your on toilet. By that I mean, I kind of think that some toilets unclog more easily than others. We have older toilets, so it takes a little more time, but I can tell you, I have found this to be the best thing I've ever used to unclog a toilet. It's cheaper than calling a plumber, and it works.

Unfortunately, I don't have the original article my dad gave me, but I'm sure you can Google 'Dawn' and 'toilet clog' and you'll find additional articles.

Till next time...