A Trip Back in Time

It will take me a few days to process the experience of my first writer’s conference.  My head is reeling with tidbits of information and steps I need to take to become a better, more prolific writer.  Suffice it to say, if you are a writer and you have a chance to go to a conference, do so.  The one I attended, the Cedar Falls Christian Writer conference was amazing. Perhaps it was the women coordinating it,  or maybe it was because the context was Christian, but I’ve never met a nicer bunch of women or imagined I would come away with so many ideas going through my head.  Of course, there is also that litany of “to-do’s” to add to my never-ending list: sign up for Google Alerts, check out the HARO (Help A Reporter Out) website, tweak my blog or develop another one, offer my speaking services to various groups, get more involved in twitter, make an author page on Facebook, organize my research online as well as on paper. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have some pretty lofty goals that came from attending this conference, too.

I was at the conference all day Wednesday, all day Thursday and on Saturday morning.  I stayed overnight at my brother’s house Wednesday night and my children and husband survived my absence. I will share more about my experience as it sinks in and I apply some of the principles of the workshops.

For now I will just share what my husband and I did after the conference on Saturday.  He picked me up around noon from the Missionary Hall where the conference was held, and we went coupon shopping at Walgreens with my newly organized coupon binder.

I’m not entirely certain it was a good idea to change from a coupon box to a coupon binder.  I like the way it sits in the cart on top of my purse. It seems to be easier to find the coupons I need and I can lay the ads or the coupons I am using down on the opened binder cover.

But now I get more questions and dirty looks.

And it has to be because of the Extreme Couponing television program.

For 32 years I used a coupon box and NEVER ONCE ran across another woman in a store using either a box or a binder.  Not once. A coupon wallet or an envelope of coupons, yes, but not a binder or a box.

In the last three months, I’ve seen several women toting a big binder full of coupons in the store.


It remains to be seen how this is going to affect those of us who have been using coupons all along, but I don’t think it bodes well.  After all, the companies have been distributing coupons for years and years with less than a 3% redemption rate.  If that redemption rate goes high enough, the companies are going to start losing money. Companies like Procter & Gamble have long-held a love-hate relationship with coupons (My book delves into the checkered history of the coupon~ Even as far back as 1957 there were those who said that couponing cost consumers money and was a waste of time)  There is no doubt in my mind that there is going to be some repercussions to this trend of “extreme couponing.”  I see it myself at the checkout when the cashier’s eyes narrow and she says, “So you are one of those extreme couponers?” Or when someone stops me in the aisle of a store and asks if I am one of “those people.”

I don’t want to be lumped in as “one of those people.”

I am sure I will be discussing this topic at some length this week as I hear the rumblings among the coupon masses about Red Plum and Smartsource suing eBay and coupon insert sellers.

After our shopping, David and I went back in time.

We visited the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) campus for the first time in years. We both graduated from UNI.   Our first stop was Campbell Hall, the dorm where I stayed as a Freshman during the 1978/1979 school year. It was a female dorm back then and David usually dropped me off at this front door after our dates.

Then we drove to the married student housing area where we had lived for several years, when both Dan (1980) and Elizabeth (1982) were born.  I thought it was neat that the doors of the units were propped open.

“Maybe we can get a maintenance man to take a picture of us by the door of our old home.”

But the area was desolate, so we took a picture of each other by the house number that had popped into my head as soon as I saw the street sign.  All those units that looked alike and I instantly remembered ours had been 1402.

There was no one around and I really wanted another glimpse after all those years, so we stepped inside.

This was our home for several years.

This was Dan’s old bedroom.

The back door was open, so we stepped outside where Dan had played in the back yard playground area, where I’d hung a hundred diapers on the back clothesline, where we played basketball on the small court in the middle of the yard.

It finally dawned on us~ These units were slated for demolition.

Maybe the painted blue star was supposed to be our first clue.

I felt a little sad, driving away.

Driving around the block to the other side of the court-yard, we noticed thick plastic covering each door, along with  large signs proclaiming: DANGER: ASBESTOS.

Yes, it figured~

we’d just walked through a hotbed of asbestos to reminisce about our days of youth.

More on the writer’s conference and couponing later this week…

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