Three things I’m loving this week

It’s been awhile since I did one of these, so….I’ve got some catching up to do: check share

1. CheckShare app. I lost our checkbook. In the house. I may have thrown it away. Who knows? Point is I decided maybe a paper checkbook was an outdated method of keeping track of finances anyway, so I spent half a day researching checkbook apps for Smartphones. I wanted a simple electronic checkbook that could be shared across devices and I did not want to link it to our actual bank accounts (like Mint). CheckShare (99 cents) did the job. It took some time to figure out how to sync the info on both devices, but once we did — it works perfectly.

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2. $5 hanging baskets. Home Depot had flowering baskets this weekend for 2/$10. While I usually get tired of watering them in late July/August and let them die (they’re usually dying by then anyway), I love the color they add to the yard and front porch now. I bought 7 baskets for $35. The cheap ones are the basic flowers — petunias, impatiens, begonias, etc., but they were robust and healthy this weekend.

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3. Veggie plants at Orton’s Fruit Market. I had an interview (for an article) in North East on Friday and stopped at Orton’s — the farm stand near the I-90 exit in N.E. — and ended up buying a flat of veggies for less than $18.  They had everything I wanted and the plants were, again, robust and healthy. (I’ve waited too long before & been stuck with leggy, neglected plants).

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This was just the first load….we went and got more.

4. Family bark spreading. Finally….finally…these kids are old enough to offer some payback. For two years now, the monumental Memorial Day job of spreading 4 yards of bark on the various flower beds on the Casa Cass 4-acre compound has been a family affair. What once took me a weekend day and a week of evenings to do alone now takes 5-6 hours. Many hands…light work, you know.

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5. My Canon SX50. I know I’ve gushed about it before, but I seriously love my little Cannon. Best camera I’ve ever had. I should just sell my Nixon DS700 and the lenses and bag — I’ve not touched it since I got this camera with the most amazing zoom I’ve ever worked with.

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6. Biking around Presque Isle. I’m not big on cycling, but I love pedaling around Presque Isle and I appreciate how much more ground you can cover on a bike.  As we approached Perry Monument on Monday afternoon, the kids out ahead of us, Dan marveled, “It’s amazing how much faster we can get to this point on bikes, isn’t it?” We’re used to circling the park (or parts of the park) on Saturdays by foot.

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7. The Erie Gymnastics Center show. It’s always hotter than Hades in that stifling un-air-conditioned, dark gym in which we must sit thigh-to-thigh on bleachers for more than two hours (at least until some of the early performers audience members leave) for the year-end EGC show, but it is always worth it. They put on a great show and, compared to dance shows/recitals, it’s a damn bargain. They make their own costumes — always for less than about $10 — and the tickets are only $12/$6.

Things I’m not loving this week

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1.  Erratic weather. WTH? 50 degrees last Tuesday….80 this Tuesday. What. Ever. Go home, Mother Nature, you’re drunk.

2.  The winter toll on trees & bushes. Speaking of a drunken Mother Nature. B@#$ was hard on our trees and bushes this year. At last count we lost at least three — a nearly 15-year old willow tree, a butterfly bush, and two weigela bushes. The Rose of Sharon “tree” and a couple of our rhododendrons aren’t looking good either.

3. School year. This year cannot end soon enough. I’m not sure who is more excited about June 3 — the kids or Dan & I. (I’m sure the teachers are just as sick of us).

4. High race fees. We’re doing a 5K at the girls’ school on Saturday and it’s going to cost nearly $70. That’s more than half our weekly grocery bill — and that’s a bargain compared to some 5Ks that are now $25 or more.  The Inflatable 5K, which sounds like a total blast, is $50 per person. $200 for a family of four to do a 3-mile run? Nope.

When I started running 15+ years ago, there were — maybe — 8 races a year and they were all hosted by the Erie Runners Club and they were cheap — like $8 to $12. Times have changed, of course. T-shirts are now “moisture-wicking” (read more expensive), faster, more accurate chip timing comes with an added expense, and everyone expects a medal…or, at least, medals/trophies for awards (back in the day, you got a paper certificate, printed from the race director’s home printer), but….it’s out of control.

Racing has become a money-making endeavor (though I question whether many of these little 5Ks are making any money) — and I’m done being everyone’s cash cow.

I’ll continue supporting most of the ERC races because they are doing this for the love of running, but that $175 I just forked over to Tough Mudder is the last outrageous race fee I’m going to pay.

(Unless it’s a girls weekend…then all bets are off. Priorities, people!)