Tostitos Dip Caused a Bloodbath at Our House

It was a comedy of errors in our household Monday night, at two different times of the day. But both instances stemmed from one seemingly innocuous jar of Tostitos Southwestern Ranch Dip.

The dip is a favorite among us and our friends (and a certain co-worker who loves it as much as we do). It’s a staple at get-togethers and BBQs, and I buy it for the house every once in a while.

So when I went food shopping on Monday afternoon before work, I picked up a jar of the tasty stuff, since it was on sale. It’s not cheap, at $3, but I figured, “What the hell?”

What the hell, indeed. That little bastard drew blood — twice.

The Rundown

While I was on the late shift at work, a frustrated Mr. Not-So-Frugal messaged to me say he couldn’t get the jar open. I told him to suck it up and do the old run-it-under-hot-water trick. I didn’t hear anything more from him about it.

When I got home around 2:30 a.m., I went into the bathroom and found the tube of first-aid ointment out. I didn’t think anything of it because I’d used it before I left for work, and I figured I had just left it out of the medicine cabinet.

Then, I made my way into the kitchen to see if Mr. NSF had indeed gotten the Tostitos Southwestern Ranch Dip jar open. I found it in the fridge, but it didn’t appear to be open. I grabbed it, and using my left hand (which is stronger than my right, despite me being left-handed), proceeded to try to unscrew the lid. Next thing I knew, I felt a sharp pain in my ring finger and jerked it away from the jar. Upon closer inspection, I found I had somehow sliced all the way across that finger, like the papercut from hell.

Never mind the fact that THE JAR WAS ALREADY OPEN. (EDIT: I meant that Mr. NSF had finally opened it by running it under hot water. He DID NOT hit it with the side of a butter knife/spoon/fork to get it to open.)

Trying not to faint (I’m a big, big baby when it comes to seeing my own blood), I managed to get back to the bathroom and get a tissue to put some pressure on the bleeding. Once that finally stopped, I grabbed the first-aid ointment and a Band-Aid. I went to throw out the bandage paper in the wastebasket, which I suddenly discovered was full of blood — bloody tissues, Band-Aids and just dripped-on blood.

I then realized the bastard Tostitos jar had gotten Mr. NSF, too.

But since he was sleeping, I couldn’t ask him exactly what happened. Upon further inspection of the glass jar of dip, I saw not one, but TWO chipped areas under the lid. I have no idea how they got there, since if you dropped the jar (which we didn’t), the lid would theoretically protect that particular area from chipping. There were no scuff marks on the lid, either, indicating that it didn’t receive any damage. I think the glass was damaged during the manufacturing process — I can’t see any other way for it to have occurred.

I woke up when my husband got up for work in the morning and we had a good laugh about the damage we’d sustained. He actually cut two fingers and bled more profusely than I did, but we agree that my cut is deeper and nastier-looking. His one cut looked more like a puncture wound, which is probably why he bled so much.

Of course, with my first-aid training , I knew to keep pressure on the cut and elevate my hand above my heart until the bleeding stopped. Mr. NSF, apparently, couldn’t be bothered to do that, which prolonged his bloody adventure.

I plan to formally complain to Tostitos’ parent company, Frito-Lay, because this entire incident shouldn’t have happened — even though in retrospect, it’s pretty funny that Tostitos caused a bloodbath at our house.

True Confessions: First Trimester Weight Gain — I Haz It!

Time for the first of many “True Confessions With Penny” posts.

Allegedly, you’re only supposed to gain 4-5 pounds in the first trimester of pregnancy. And for a while there, I was doing pretty well, even through the 6 weeks or so of nausea that only made me want to eat more (what, of course I wouldn’t be one of those people who lost their appetites). While I’m glad I didn’t lose weight, I’ve totaled up the damage and am willing to report my first trimester weight gain: 9.5 pounds.

It could have been much worse, but still, I’m pretty annoyed that I put on that much weight in the first 14 weeks. That total doesn’t include the 5 pounds I gained prior to the pregnancy thanks to summer BBQs and our vacation in Las Vegas, where I wholeheartedly enjoyed myself, food-wise.

Hopefully, it will be a slow, steady and healthy weight gain in the second trimester. Thanks to friends who have lent me some maternity clothes! Perhaps I won’t have to buy anything more than a winter coat, which I’m sure I’ll need because I’m (still) always cold. Just not as cold as I used to be.

Imagination Is Free

Heard a bunch of little kids playing outside over the weekend — probably ages 5 or 6. Two of the kids were in a little red wagon while the third pulled it around their grandparents’ front lawn. It made me wish for simpler days again.

The simpler days when we, as children, could use almost anything to play with — a big box, pillows from the sofa, the cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels. My brother and I would make a “fort” in the living room by moving one of the 8 sofa pillows (hey, it was the 80s, and apparently you weren’t expected to sit down on the darned thing) and placing them between the edge of the sofa and the top of the coffee table. This gave us room for our “for,” where we’d just hang out and play with our little toys.

We had Castle Grayskull and He-Man figures, My Little Ponies, Barbies and G.I. Joe guys, who all managed to work together (or fight together). Seeing a G.I. Joe on top of a My Little Pony horse might have been funny to adults, but it worked for us.

Or we’d go outside and play in the dirt — literally. My Little Bro would use his Tonka trucks to dig a hole in the backyard, and we’d talk about how long it would take to dig down to China.

We weren’t over-scheduled kids with too many activities — it wasn’t until we were 8 or 9 that we even learned what organized sports were, and we only played if we asked to get signed up for the recreational leagues. I went with softball, Little Bro went with baseball. I had a piano lesson once a week after we were able to get a cheap (maybe free, I think) piano through a family friend.

But there was no camp when we were little — we played amongst ourselves and maybe would have what parents today call a “play date” with one of the neighborhood kids. But they weren’t arranged — we’d just go knock on a neighbors door and ask if “Jack” or “Jill” could come out to play. Then our imaginations would take us away.

We were home until we went to school — I went to preschool and entered Kindergarten early, at the age of 4, while Little Bro didn’t go the preschool route and went straight into the local grammar school. But after school, we’d still come home and want to play with whatever we found. A tennis ball was all we needed to make up a new game to play with the neighborhood kids.

Things were much simpler then.

Posts That Piqued My Interest: Remembering 9/11 Edition

It’s a gorgeous weekend here in New Jersey, and I’m hoping you’re having an equally nice day wherever you are. Sadly, it reminds me of the kind of day it was on September 11, 2001 — clear blue skies and abundant sunshine, just a taste of fall. It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 years since that terrible day. While I didn’t lose anyone close to me in the terrorist attacks, others weren’t so lucky. You’re in my thoughts today.

So enjoy this weekend, but take the time to remember those whose lives were lost on that fateful day.

A Roundup

Here’s roundup of stories that got my attention this week (I mistakenly said it was my first roundup –it’s the second!). I hope you check them out.

The How-To Kitchen: Caramel Sauce at Good. Food. Stories. Mmm, caramel sauce! I’ve never tired to make this myself. Now, if only I had something to use it on…

Would You Help My Co-Worker Out? at Punch Debt in the Face. Give financial advice to a co-worker? No way. Family? Nuh-uh. I’ll help you find ways to cut your spending and better budget your money, but there’s no way I’m touching the investment aspect of personal finance, not even with a 10-foot pole.

Now’s the Time to Stop (or Alter) a Christmas Gift Exchange at The Simple Dollar. We’ll probably be cutting down on our gifting this year, in preparation for the little bundle of spending known as a newborn.

Why Being a Homeowner Sucks at Ultimate Money Blog. I love our house, but it’s taking much longer to get it into the condition I want it in.

Life Without a Budget: 4 Questions to Ask at Well-Heeled Blog. We don’t technically follow a budget, but we live well within our means and “pay ourselves” first.

When Is Paying Down Your Mortgage a Bad Idea? at Watson, Inc. One of my favorite personal finance topics — we add a little extra to the mortgage payment each month, but not at the expense of paying credit card bills or padding our savings.

U.S. Gov’ment Bonds: Made Easy! at Dr. Dean. Another way to invest that’s less scary than putting money into the stock market (which I swear I will do on my own sometime soon).

Pregnancy Pillow May Be Necessary

I’m really trying to spend as little as possible during my pregnancy. I only bought new pants because I absolutely had to (nothing much was fitting anymore after a while), but besides that, the only expenses have been my doctor co-pays.

But now I’ve got a strange new symptom — early onset lower back pain. While I fall asleep on my left side most nights, I tend to sleep on my back, even though I know I’ll wind up on my side as my bump gets bigger, and without fail I wake up on my back in the mornings. So when the alarm goes off and I need to rise and shine for work (there’s only “rising” — definitely no “shining” until I’ve been awake for a while), I find myself having trouble getting out of bed due to lower back pain. It’s more of a soreness than anything else, which I feel during the day to a much lesser degree, but in the morning, hoo boy. It’s difficult to sit upright and then stand up to get off the bed. It lessens almost immediately, but I feel stiff.

So I asked my ob-gyn about it today and he said it’s not uncommon. While the baby is still tiny (weighing 2 ounces, maybe?), my uterus continues its domination of my lower trunk, pushing aside a bunch of other internal organs. So when I’m sleeping on my back at night, it’s probably putting pressure on the other stuff, such as my kidneys. Joy.

A few friends have suggested getting a pregnancy pillow that I can use to stay on my side during the night. It’s about 5 feet long and you’re supposed to put it in between your legs so it takes some of the pressure off your back. I’m not sure how well it will work, but if this achy feeling is only going to get worse mornings hence, then I’m ready to drop the $40-$50 it will cost. I’m going to use the $10 or so in gift cards that I redeemed through Swagbucks, unless I can wait until I get another $5 GC in order to take some more of the sting out of the purchase.

Other issues I asked the doctor about today:

1. Should I get a flu shot? YES. I was glad to hear this because without my annual flu shot, I get the flu twice each fall/winter, along with numerous colds. With an already suppressed immune system (due to the pregnancy), I need all the help I can get to stay well.

2. Can I still exercise? YES. I mentioned my little episode at the gym last week after walking on the treadmill — it felt like my blood sugar dropped. He figures it was because I had simple carbohydrates, rather than complex carbs, when I ate beforehand. That dropped my sugar too quickly.

Other neat/interesting things:

— Got to hear Pea’s heartbeat again with the handheld Doppler. Totally awesome. Whenever I hear the word “doppler” I think of weather and radar. There’s probably a connection, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

— I didn’t have to cough up a co-pay today. Maybe I don’t need to every visit? Not sure how it works, but I’m not going to complain. That $40 can stay in my pocket, thanks.

— My blood pressure is freakishly low. It was 100/50 today. Crazy talk. Actually, now that I think about it, it was something like 90/45 last time, too. I was assured that it’s normal for it to be low during pregnancy.

— My in-laws came back from their trip to Wisconsin (for a family wedding) with a gift for Pea — a Chicago Bears teddy bear. Cute!

Joining the Yakezie Challenge

First of all, Happy Labor Day! I hope you — unlike me — have the day off from work and can enjoy it. This weekend was the first of the summer to be truly gorgeous, at least that’s what my now-horrible short-term memory tells me. We have no cookouts this weekend, because Mr. NSF’s parents usually do the BBQ’ing, and they’ve been out of state for a wedding for the past few days.

The Penny Frugalista Joins The Yakezie Challenge

There’s a great bunch of personal finance bloggers who belong to the Yakezie, a collective begin by Sam from Financial Samurai. Part of the Yakezie Challenge is first raising your blog’s Alexa rank in the initial 6-month challenge. I’m aiming for 200,000; right now, I’m at 1,057,679 after starting this blog less than a month ago at 10 million-plus. I’m entering the challenge with this blog after previously joining with my other blog, Rainy-Day Saver, and hoping some of you folks who enjoy my personal stories and posts will have followed me over here to The Penny Frugalista, too. Here is where you’ll now find my home improvement adventures and follow my pregnancy journey as my husband and I become parents for the first time (I’m due the first week in March).

Yakezie’s mantra is “selflessly helping others,” and I plan to bring my readers weekly round-ups that highlight the posts that stood out to me in the week past. I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with the older Yakezie members and meeting the new ones.

Thanks for accompanying me as I chronicle the important events in my life and talk about my family’s financial experiences.

— Penny

We Have Yellow!

Yellow paint on the walls, that is. Dad came over this weekend to paint the ceiling in the upstairs room and he got to start on the color on the walls. He only did the cutting yesterday, but I can already see that the color is a bit brighter than the “Pale Daffodil” it aleged to be on the paper color sample and on the lid of the can. Hopefully it will look more subtle as it dries. Dad is coming back to finish the first coat today (yes, laboring on Labor Day); we’re not sure if it’ll need two coats.

Speaking of the paper color sample, I have no idea where that is now. In fact, I’m lucky to know where ANYTHING is lately. My husband laughs at me because I’ve become just as forgetful as he is! I was the one who knew where everything was, remembered to buy everything while at the store with a list — just your regular know-it-all. Now, I can’t remember anything. I have Post-It notes all over the place and make to-do lists; then I forget those lists when I run out for errands. A friend suggested taking PICTURES of the lists with my phone since I carry that with me all the time — but that just means it’s only a matter of time before I forget the damned phone, too. And everyone says the memory issues don’t go away after you give birth — they only get worse.

In essence, I’m doomed.