Unspeakable guilty pleasures

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Yesterday, AGMA bought two yuge…I mean YUGE…bags of that horribly addictive kettle corn popcorn stuff.

These bags are so large that my most adorable 7 month old grand daughter and a couple of friends could fit in them. So large that they could probably pull in her exersaucer too. So large the Cheeto man-child’s ego could fit into them.

Actually, they’re probably not THAT bigly yuge…

Last night Hubs filled a large cereal bowl with these deceptively evil delights from one of the bag. You could barely tell that anything had been taken out of the bag.

The sweet and salty popcorn contained in the massive bags IS deceptively evil. The advertising on the bag seduces the hunger crazed consumer into thinking this is a weigh control product. “Only 70 Calories per Cup!” it proudly announces knowing full well that no normal person can stop at any less than 10 cups. AGMA can’t.

It’s all air right?

So why would I, a perfectly logical person and savvy consumer, purchase two gargantuan bags of snack product when there are only two – count ’em two – mouths to feed at Casa AGMA?

It was a BOGO of course at….

COSTCO!!!!

Many a diet and marriage has been ruined by this irresistible purveyor of unmanageable massive quantities.

I won’t let Hubs come with me when I shop there. Too dangerous. He wants to come home with a four pack of electric toothbrushes or a package of 25 chicken breasts.  Or a two pack of inflatable floaty islands for our pool.

We don’t have a pool.

But the temptation is hard, very hard, to resist.  It’s like temporary insanity.

For those of you in parts of the US who don’t have Costcos (are there such places?) or in other countries, be thankful. Unlike AGMA, you probably still have space in your pantry, freezer, basement and garage.

Costco is a giant warehouse store that sells most items in bulk for a relatively low price.  Why by a 16 oz bottle of ketchup when you can buy a whole gallon for only $3 more?  Makes perfect sense at the time.

Temporary insanity.

You get the picture.

While Costco isn’t the only giant warehouse store in the US, it’s the one with the cult following. There was a documentary about Costco in 2012 called The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant. And it asked the question, “…whether customers save money by purchasing large packs of goods or simply consume more?”

I don’t feel I have consumed more as a result of my bulk purchases.   Except for one item. Reference AGMA’s post of two weeks ago.

I’m now an extravagant consumer of Kirkland (Costco’s home brand) toilet paper. So soft. So strong.

So plentiful.

I look at that 36 roll package sitting in our garage (the only place we have to store a veritable mountain of TP), and believe that I can throw caution and frugality to the wind. And down the toilet.

Not counting how many sheets I use; one of AGMA’s guilty pleasures…

One must buy a membership for the privilege of buying super-sized bags of kettle corn and a mountain of toilet paper at Costco. Membership fees were a whopping 70% of their $1.911 billion total income in 2016.

AGMA has been proud to contribute to Costco’s bottom line since 2006.

And since 2006, I’ve had my share of banana’s go bad (3 lbs. for $1.99) and cheese (1 lb. for $5.99) go moldy and organic spring mix (1 lb. for $3.99) turn brown and slimy.

But I’ve also had lots and lots of satisfying lunches there from the sample ladies.

FYI, AGMA shared her tips on the prime time to get filled up with all kinds of goodies from Costco in this post if you’re interested.

Over the past 11 years, I’ve become wise. Or wiser. I no longer buy half gallon tubs of mustard. No place to store it in the 5 years it would take us to use it. Or the 3 lb. bunch of bananas (see above). Or a 5 lb. box of veggie soy burgers.

I ended up throwing them away after they turned white because they had been untouched in the freezer for so long.

Now AGMA sticks to the boring regulars – paper towels, TP, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, white vinegar, and cat litter.

ZZZzzzz….

The cat litter comes in a 42 lb. bag. Between Hubs and I, it takes about 3 days for the bag to migrate up to the litter box two fights up from the garage.

I do go a little crazy now and then, and go off script. Yesterday, I bought 2 doormats ($2 off each) and the YUGE bags of kettle corn (BOGO for heavens sake!). Oh – and a 2 lb. package of frozen wild caught Alaskan pollock patties.

Here’s to hoping they don’t turn white. The sample was fabulous.

American excess – ya gotta love it…

My last __________ (fill in the blank)

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We got new bedroom furniture last month.  Our first set dates back to 1976.  Yeah – I’d say we got our money’s worth out of that furniture…

Actually, the only piece from that original set we still own is a nightstand.  The rest abandoned us over the years.

Everything else in our bedroom before last month was rather a la carte.  An antique oak chest of drawers and dresser that we used in our children’s nursery in the early 80’s.  A two year old fabric headboard from Tuesday Morning.  A chair from our early 90‘s living room set.  A computer desk from the pre-laptop era.

Martha Stewart would be horrified.

I got a wild hair after Christmas and decided I didn’t want the “college student” motif anymore.  The only thing we were missing was the cinder block and unfinished board bookshelves.  My husband, who doesn’t even notice that we have bedroom furniture, miraculously agreed.  What a guy…

Now I know that there are BIG problems in this world, the least of them being whether or not I have a matching bedroom set.  And I kind of feel guilty about that.  I hate spending money on such highly personal indulgences.  But I did order it from Costco sight unseen.

That’s got to balance out the karma somehow.

Of course, the spending didn’t stop at the furniture.  We had to buy all new bedding to go with our fancy new, matching furniture.  Naturally.

And my husband insisted on new pillows.  He drools when he sleeps.  A lot.  Gross.  I put his nasty old pillow in the trash this morning.

The last thing to check off the list of wild, unbridled, post-holiday spending – a new mattress.  Of course.

Have you been mattress shopping lately?

Once upon a time, your only mattress choices were between how many coils you wanted and the firmness.  Oh yeah, and there were waterbeds too.   But….seriously?  I never thought I had a robust enough sex life for a waterbed.  Plus I was always afraid I’d flood the house.  And electrocute myself.

Today, there are hundreds of mattress choices.  Cool foam, warm foam, firm gel, mushy gel, cold air, hot air, water pockets, traditional coil, bamboo “green” non-toxic, and countless hybrids of all of the above.

Another Chinese plot to bring down the US?

We seriously considered a newfangled foam/gel mattress.  But I had nightmares of sinking down into the foam until it swallowed me up and you couldn’t even see my imprint.  I think there was a Twilight Zone with a plot like that.  With people with pig faces.  Scary.

At the mattress store, my husband told the salesman that this would probably be our “last “ mattress.

Whoa now buddy!  What the heck….  What’s all this ”last” mattress talk??   As in “last” mattress in the house we’re currently living in (meaning we’ll be moving?)  Or “last” traditional mattress we buy?  No, I’m pretty sure he meant “last” as in last before we die.

D-I-E.   What the hell?

Speak for yourself.

The mattress we just retired was 13 years old.  I’m 61 years old.  Our new mattress (NOT foam/gel) has a 10 year warranty.  That puts me at 71.  Yeah – I think I’m probably good for at least one more mattress after this one.

Maybe my husband is trying to tell me something.

But it got me thinking…  I’m pretty sure this will be our last set of bedroom furniture. And our washer and dryer are about 20 years old.  When we replace them, I’m certain they will be our last as well.  It’s strange – it just seems like yesterday we were buying our “first”.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Maybe this will be our “last” mattress.  Nothing medically would indicate that, but you just never know.  None of us do, even you younger sprites.  Happy thought indeed…

Personally, I’m still looking forward to all the “firsts” that are still out there.  First trip to India, first zipline in a rainforest, first sub-six hour marathon, first hug from my grandson, first appearance on Ellen, first movie deal from AGMA…

Okay – maybe a few of them are a stretch.

But it’s what AGMA’s all about; big dreams no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake.

I just want mine to be dark chocolate with buttercream icing!

Table for one please!

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I have a friend who insists on posting a Christmas count down on Facebook every day.   Well – maybe it’s not every day, but it’s frequent.  Too frequent.

Five more Saturdays until Christmas.  34 more days until Christmas. 816 hours until Christmas.  And they all have a picture of some Disney character dressed up as lame Santa, passing out gifts and smiling.  Ugh.

Terror grips me when I see these posts.

My pulse gets faster, my stomach starts to get that “roller coaster” feeling and little droplets of sweat ever so gently start meandering down my forehead.  I told her these posts make me anxious. Evidently she doesn’t care.  The relentless countdown continues.

48,960 minutes until Christmas.

Of course, my response is Pavlovian of sorts, based on conditioning from holiday’s long past.  Novembers and Decembers that were nothing but a blur of non-stop activity and motion.  Back in the days when I worked outside the home, entertained friends and neighbors, volunteered at church and school, took care of aging parents and tried to give my kids the perfect Thanksgiving/Christmas every year. Yeah – good luck with that.

Basically I acted like the Tasmanian Devil in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Complete with the unintelligible grunting.  And I kinda looked like him too.  Still do.

But now, the holidays are a breeze.  The kids are grown and on their own, I live in a new city so there’s no entertaining old friends, neighbors and co-workers, my job is very part-time and my parents passed away.  Plus, gift buying on the Internet gives a whole new meaning to the term “easy peasy”.

But some days are still busy though.  Like yesterday.  Places to go; things to do; people to see.  Days like yesterday during the holidays make getting proper nutrition a challenge.  My morning banana and mocha only last so long…

My stomach started rumbling about 1 PM, but I still had a few stops to make.  I needed to get my glasses adjusted, buy toilet paper and get our Thanksgiving turkey.  What to do, what to do?

It came to me in a flash with a clarity of mind and reason I rarely experience.  I did what any hungry person of a certain age would do in the middle of a Friday who needed a spectacle adjustment, a turkey and mass quantities of toilet paper…

My name is AGMA and I ate “lunch” yesterday courtesy of the sample ladies at Costco.

I think of it as a power lunch.  It allows you to power through shopping while enjoying the wide variety of outstanding food products offered by this membership-only warehouse club.  They graciously provide the fuel for your engine so you can shop until you drop.

Fridays in November and December is THE best time to dine.  The sample brigade is out in full force in preparation for the weekend of unbridled holiday food buying.  The Costco food departments are loaded with holiday favorites – ham, meatballs, cheese, chocolate, cheesecake, candied pecans – and they want to share it all with you. For free.  That’s the best part.

During the day on Fridays in November and December, the hoards of shoppers there on the weekends are delightfully absent.   This give you full accessibility to the “buffet”.  No wild children snatching the samples out from under your nose.  No elbows being thrown at you trying to get the last sample.  No lines to wait in to get that schmeer of spinach artichoke dip on the pita chip.  Lunchtime nirvana.

You’ve got to know the “unwritten” rules though.  Only take one. Dispose of the toothpick and napkin in an approved receptacles. And thank the sample lady.  Every now and then, buy what you are sampling.  If you can do that, sometimes you can get away with taking a second sample. “This is SO good, I think I’ll just grab another one!”

If I had some good Tempranillo with it, I’d swear it was just like eating tapas in Spain.  Kind of.  In a sick and twisted way.

Bon appetite!