Sassy Jack – The Snark-Lite Edition

Click for my Raunch Dilettante review of Can’t Buy Me Love by Maggie Marr! Click it, click it, you know you want to.

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On Turning 28

Yesterday was my 28th birthday.

For no reason that I can adequately explain, this has always seemed like a milestone birthday to me. It may have to do with acquaintances who were 28 when I was a teenager, or movie plots involving 28-year-old characters. Maybe it’s because 28 is definitely “late 20’s” and can no longer be finagled into “mid 20’s” or even “mid to late 20’s”. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but to me, 28 seems exponentially older than 27. It could be significant because it means I’m only two years away from what is definitely a milestone birthday by anyone’s estimation.

That last guess seems to ring most true. It’s made me think about what I’ve accomplished in life thus far:

1) Earned a B.A. in Music/Theatre. Okay, this is cool, and I’m even sort of using it, which is cooler. I could have gotten a degree in something much more useful by traditional standards, but then college would have been way less interesting. So, I’m pretty happy with this one.

2) Got Married. I like my husband. He’s kind of a pain sometimes, but who isn’t? He gets me in a lot of fundamental ways that other people don’t, even my closest friends and family members.

3) Visited 7 Countries. That’s one for every four years I’ve been alive. I must admit that I’m not all that pleased by how low this number is. But I do recognize that this is still something to be proud of, since many people live their entire lives without leaving the county in which they were born, let alone the country.

Not bad, I guess. Not great either, when you consider that by the time I’m 30, this is what I would like to have accomplished:

1) Get a dog. Finally.

2) Have at least 1 child. Enough said.

3) Start my own business. This is just beginning to take shape.

4) Get out of debt. Completely.

5) Write a novel. This is actually just one of several writing goals, but it’s probably the biggest one.

Additionally, but on a more minor level, I would also like to:

1) Learn to play the harmonica.

2) Lose a bunch of weight.

3) Get some professional singing gigs.

4) Generate blogging income.

5) Travel and photograph more.

Guess I better get busy, eh?

You Go Practice

This will be the first entry in my Customer Service Stories series. Since I work in sheet music publishing, most of these anecdotes tend to be funnier if you are a musician, or at least musically inclined. But then again, perhaps not having a working knowledge of music just makes my customers’ occasional all-out craziness that much better. I’ll never really know. At any rate, this little drama occurred last week, and it made my personal Top 3. Enjoy. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. I know I did.

 

Customer of the Day: So what’s your instrument?

Me: I’m a singer.

Customer: What the heck kinda instrument is that?

Me: Um, I’m a singer. I sing.

Customer: OH! So, you sing?! I’m a singer too! I’m a lyric soprano! What do you sing? High? Low?

Me: I’m a mezzo.

Customer: OH! A mezzo! Yeah! M-E-Z-Z-O! Mezzo! What’s it called when your voice moves around like this: *wails into phone*

Me: Um. You mean vibrato?

Customer: Yeah! Vibrato, that’s right! What’s it mean when your voice sounds like that?

Me: Umm… Well, it’s just a voice quality that some people have. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong…

Customer: Yeah, well I knew THAT. I knew this lady in church who used to sing like that. People called her the “lady with the crazy voice”. She used to sing all the songs like that. She’d just open her mouth, and it’d be like this: *sings a medley of old hymns with extremely exaggerated vibrato and just general weirdness*

Me: … Wow.

Customer: Yeah, she was an opera singer. You know opera?

Me: (afraid to commit, but unsure of how else to answer) Yes…

Customer: Yeah, I know opera too! You know, all the opera people… like… Pavarotti, he was pretty good. You know, I know all the opera guys, the black ones AND the white ones. But I like the black ones better.

Me: (speechless)

Customer: But you know, you need to play a real instrument. Don’t you play anything else?

Me: (growing extremely wary) I used to play piano when I was younger, but I don’t have a piano right now, so it’s kind of hard to practice.

Customer: Yeah! Well! You gotta just practice! Seven days a week at 2am! That’s when I practice! Seven days a week at 2am!

Me: (defeated) Okay.

Customer: Yeah. Well. I guess I’ll let you get back to work.

Me: Okay, you have a good day.

Customer: Yeah, you know I used to have a real piano, but now I just have a keyboard. You know the ones with 76 keys? But I used to have a real one. You know the kind that’s just, like, all the keys, and wood on the sides?

Me: Yes.

Customer: Yeah. I used to have one, but now I need a new one. I had to pay, like, $800, and now I need a new one. Us musicians, we have to pay all this money just to take lessons when we’re 7 and all up through school, and then it’s four years in college, and then two years for your Master’s, and then your PhD! And then you have to buy all this music, and the music stores are all closed, so you have to pay all these shipping fees, and it’s expensive! You guys had that big store downtown, and now it’s closed, and I can’t get music anywhere! You shouldn’t have closed that store!

Me: … I’m sorry.

Customer: Yeah! You should be!

Me: (speechless, again)

Customer: Well! You go practice! Thanks for answering all my questions! You gotta go practice!

Me: (speaking very quickly) Okay, you have a good day!

Customer: Yeah, you go prac-

Me: *hangs up*

The Sassy Jack Debut

Check out my guest review on The Raunch Dilettante:

Sassy Jack’s Review of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Yeah, that’s right. I have another alias. Someday my biographers will have their work cut out for them.

Learning Curve

Well, there are triumphs and failures in every endeavor. Example:

 

The Triumph

Over the holidays, I used my couponing prowess to buy a pair of jeans, a pair of capris, a skirt, a shirt, and a pair of socks, all for around $7. (Thank you, Macy’s Denim Sale!) Even after spending the $7, I still had a $10 coupon leftover. We call this a Couponing Moneymaker.

 

The Failure

I forgot to use the $10 coupon before it expired. Sigh. Live and learn. And I still wear my 32-cent jeans with pride.

Less-than-Extreme Couponing

Let me take this opportunity to share a recently formed mild obsession. In March of this year, I had cable installed for the first time in my adult life.* During those first weeks of delirious normalcy and vegging, I happened to catch an in-progress marathon of Extreme Couponing on TLC. I had heard of the show but never seen it, so I folded laundry and half-watched in mild disinterest as the couple onscreen filled five grocery carts with piles of candy bars, hand soap, and pasta, among other things. When they got to the checkout and everything was rung up before coupons, the total came to around $600. As the unfortunate cashier began to scan hundreds of coupons, I mused to myself about what the final total would be. $100? Surely it couldn’t be any lower than $50. Imagine my surprise when the narrator announced that it was only $2.14.

Mesmerized, I watched in awe as story after story aired. Each extreme couponer had a different method, a different philosophy if you will, of organizing, stockpiling, and doing the shopping itself. But they all had one thing in common: they were getting stuff for free.

I have always had a deep and abiding love of free stuff, so of course I was immediately hooked. But it didn’t really seem plausible for me to try it at the time. I wouldn’t have known where to start.

Fast forward a few months, when my sister came for a visit. She revealed to me that she was itching to try couponing too, so we decided to give it a go. As with our prior experiments (which, incidentally, have included a disastrous attempt at candle-making, among other things), we took a scientific approach, which in this case meant taking copious notes and keeping detailed records of our trials. Day 1 of The Couponing Adventures of Jackie and Laura was only marginally successful, and Day 2 wasn’t much better. Though we’ve each continued with our own individual experiments and leave each other excited, dorky voicemails every time we get a particularly good deal or make a couponing breakthrough.

For instance, there was the day I spent 49 cents at CVS and got three candy bars and a pack of pantiliners. Or the day I bought Cover Girl mascara and lip gloss for under a dollar each (also CVS). Or the day I got Cottonelle 2-ply toilet paper for 20 cents per roll at Walgreen’s. Or the day I made money buying trial size Tide at Walmart.

I certainly haven’t figured out all the tricks yet. So far I have two coupon organizers: one standard size for clipped coupons and a large one that’s big enough to fit entire circulars and coupon inserts. I know I won’t be considered hardcore until I invest in one of those coupon binders with the baseball card holders. Or I could throw all caution to the wind and invest in one of these bad boys. But I’m okay with taking things at my own pace.

There’s a lot of helpful websites out there that are of invaluable help to a couponing newbie like me. I use Coupon Mom the most often, because they make it easy to sort through the fluff and get straight to the awesome deals. When I have more time to paw through a massive amount of information, I like to visit Krazy Coupon Lady. I find that one a bit overwhelming at times, just because there’s SO MUCH to wade through. Though it can be worth it sometimes, because you can find some krazy deals on there that Coupon Mom doesn’t always have. I have a friend who swears by My City Mommy, though I haven’t been able to use that site, because they don’t have any Pennsylvania cities featured yet.

So yeah, couponing is fun, and I’m not very good at it yet. But I think I’ll get better with time. As long as it continues to hold my interest, that is.

 

*What I really mean is, my husband had cable installed. But for the purposes of this blog, and to feel better about myself, we’ll pretend it was my doing. It was really doubly his doing, because he’s the one that made the actual arrangements and also the one who finally landed a full-time job in the throes of a recession, making the celebratory cable installation possible in the first place.

Something Old, Something New

The existence of this brand-spankin’-new blog may be proof that I am not trapped in the year 2003. It has been eight long and action-packed years (to the month) since I started my now defunct Xanga.

It seems there must be something, for me, about the month of October, and I think I know what it is. There are certain aspects of nature that I find inspiring: Trees. Leaves. Colors. Wind. October has all of these in abundance. So, with all this inspiration blowing around and falling gracefully to the ground, it seems I need a creative outlet.

Twice has this overwhelming need to create manifested itself in the form of a new blog. At other times, it has been a renewed interest in photography or baking. Sometimes I pick up a long-abandoned project, like the epic fantasy that I’ve been tag-team writing off and on with an old friend for years now.

Last time I started a blog, it was new and exciting. I was young and easily intrigued, so I could write about practically anything, including cadences and pop tabs. I look back on this youthful version of myself with something like envy at times. I had so much energy, and I never ran out of things to say. On the rare occasion that I did lack inspiration, I would make my own.

This is my attempt to reclaim some of that innovation and audacity. Since I’m RestlessJackie, I can tell you that these writings will by no means adhere to a singular theme. As my mind wanders, so also do my tapping fingertips.

Sometimes I’ll write about baking (particularly muffins), and sometimes I’ll post photos from an impromptu photo shoot. Sometimes I will brag about great deals I get on my newly established couponing adventures, and other times I may transcribe an amusing phone call I field in the oh-so-exciting world of sheet music customer service. Hopefully I will recount my travels, if traveling is something I ever get to do again with any regularity.

So this may not turn into anything more exciting that my last blog was. But in a world that often feels monotonous and dreary, at least this makes things feel fresh. I may not be living the dream right now, but at least I can still dream the dream.