I wonder if anyone has ever actually strangled their spouse as a result of having to live with them while they give up smoking? Over the last few days I have seriously wondered if I may end up being the first. Since beginning his week-long contract with Liam, my husband has transformed from a sweet, easy going chap to nothing short of a monster. Will the real Noel stand up please?! The kids have been keeping a wide berth in order to avoid being bellowed at for doing absolutely nothing at all and I have learned that there is no point trying to talk to him once he is out of bed in the morning, as every single thing I say or do will be just plain wrong. At first it was funny and I would chuckle inwardly at his impossible arguments, thinking 'Aw, blessim, he's really trying' but after we reached Day 5 - the worst day of all so far, I'm ashamed to admit that it was increasingly hard not to look at his constantly thunderous expression without wanting to throw something at him. However, here were are at Day Seven and things seem to be improving immensely. By gum, I think he's done it! He's never got this far before, but the real test will be this weekend when we are going to his parents for a big family reunion. His youngest brother is visiting from England and is a heavy smoker, but I'm really hoping he will avoid the temptation. Hopefully he will be too busy catching up with people he hasn't seen for years to think about it too much and besides, Liam will be watching him like a hawk! The boys and I have been sticking 'Stop! Think! Save!' memory trigger stickers all over the place - in Noel's car, in his work diary, his wallet - you name it. As Liam points out, it's a good one to choose because the 'saving' part means his dad is saving both money and his health. Unfortunately for Liam, Noel's stirling efforts have not saved him from his blood test, the big day is tomorrow! Let's hope Noel kicks the habit for good and not just for the week. I hope his memory returns too - I was mortified yesterday morning when I got up and realised he had left the garden sprinkler on all night!
To be fair to poor Noel, it's not surprising he's been such a grumpy old so-and-so as most of his spare time has been spent helping me rip up every square inch of carpet in the house. How on earth we managed to stay in such close proximity without strangling each other during this heinous task is nothing short of a miracle, but it was worth it to save the $300 it would have cost for the carpet layers to rip it up. Very nice of the helpful salesman to inform us of this too. Begone forever, horrible brown, loud patterned, musty threadbare carpet! In its place is a highly practical, bluey-green flecked one. Buying a houselot of carpet may not sound a particularly frugal way to start the year, but it was too good a deal to miss out on. Originally we were only going to replace the lounge carpet and almost fell over at the first quote we received, but the neighbours recommended Forlongs in Hamilton, so we asked them to come out and give us a quote too. We couldn't believe it when they quoted us LESS to carpet the whole house than the first retailer had estimated for one room! So we decided to do the whole lot and had a free Christmas ham thrown in too. I can't believe how little I used to shop around before Simple Savings - it takes such little effort to make a huge saving. Mind you, I had still never thought to shop around on vet bills and was kicking myself when I came across this new hint called Hundreds saved in vet surgery bills. That clever contributor saved herself over $400 on the exact same operation we had to get for Ella not so long ago!
I'm not sure if our method of paying for the carpet is really Simple Savings condoned, but we thought it was worth it. The phrase '24 months interest free' immediately conjures up visions of Sad Sally and I felt just like one as I signed the agreement, but at least we did it with a difference. We already had the total sum put by, so we put it into a high interest account and arranged for the monthly payments to come out of there. There are no 'hidden fees' or charges with the agreement and we worked out that by the end of the 24 month period, it will have earned around $700 in interest, which is not to be sniffed at! As for being tempted to use the money for anything else, only one withdrawal is permitted per month, otherwise you have to pay a penalty, not to mention 'out of sight, out of mind'. Maybe it's not something Happy Hanna would do, but we figured it was a pretty easy way to earn some extra pennies. So the carpet's in and it looks brilliant, if I say so myself. I'm not sure how long it will take Tui to make her mark on it though! We're having real problems at the moment keeping her out of the bath. It wouldn't be a problem but she insists on me being in it at the time. I'm starting to wonder if getting her own paddling pool isn't such a daft idea after all...
Liam is still doing really well and I have been trying to make up for all the fun he missed out on in the first half of the holidays by filling the house with playmates. Next week we are accompanying Noel on a work trip to Gisborne, which is about seven hours drive away. We're really looking forward to some enforced family time together, but I don't think the kids have ever been on such a long car journey before, so it could be interesting. I've been looking at the Vault for some ideas which could make the trip easier and more enjoyable for everyone. There's Travelling fun for kids, Happy kids in cars when travelling and my favourite Paper bag treat when travelling. With brilliant suggestions like these, I reckon we should come through it relatively unscathed! I'm also looking forward to using the travelling time to think about my best and worst buys for 2006. Simple Savings must have saved us literally thousands in the last 12 months. I can't wait to fill in our own Wise family 'Save-O-Meter!