Cathy ZielskeCZ Life67 Comments


I had a revelatory moment this morning, in my bathroom, at 6:15 a.m., about the true meaning of value.

There I am, sitting in front of my old-school, theater-style make-up mirror, on this small wooden chair that came from Dan's grandparents, and before that, a funeral home… and I pulled out my trusted bottle of rubbing alcohol to dab ever-so-gently on the painful, likely-will-reach-the-surface in roughly 24 hours, just in time to visit Scrapbooks Too tomorrow night, with my precious, demure little friend, Donna Downey, festering lower jaw pimple… when it hit me:

I've had this bottle of alcohol since before I moved to Minnesota. In 1990.

I know this, because we don't have Skaggs Alpha Beta's in Minnesota. I know this, because I'm fairly certain this alcohol was part of a care package prepared especially for me, by my mom, to take on my journey from Grapevine, Texas, northward.

I've had this bottle, as of March, for 17 years.

How does Skaggs Alpha Beta make ANY money off selling rubbing alcohol, if a single bottle will last a shopper nearly half of their lives?

I know. It's remarkable.

Changing gears, but falling under the umbrella of value, did you know you can order gum on the internet? Now that is a revelation to me, and a very fortuitous thing indeed. Why you might be asking?

When I quit smoking, a year and one month ago, Extra Cinnamon Gum was one of the few pleasures I found in those early weeks, aside from curling up into a fetal ball and rocking myself gently, or calling my dear friend Tara and sobbing for 20-30 minutes at a time about how I had no identity without cigarettes and I would never, ever be able to do this—so on and so forth (Remember that, T? Did I ever thank you for that?) Anyhoo…

So I've relied fairly heavily on this particular brand of gum to stem the rising urges and to satiate my oral fixation, and general need to do something with my mouth other than eat. (Sorry, Dan…not going there right now.)

So about a month ago, my local grocer stopped stocking it. Rainbow freaking Foods stopped re-stocking my gum. So I tried Target. No Extra Cinnamon there either. Cub Foods. Nada. I began to believe it was a conspiracy of gum manufacturers to force me to either return to smoking, or eat myself into a coma.

I know, I know. What about Dentyne? Or Orbit? Let me say this: if ye were to walk a block in my addict shoes, ye shall know this: THEY ARE THE PALEST OF IMPOSTERS.

So on a whim last week, i thought, "I wonder if Amazon carries gum?" Done and done.

My box should arrive sometime before Saturday. Now that is value for you.

I can't wait to start ordering tampons and cheese from there, next.

Cathy ZielskeValue

67 Comments on “Value”

  1. #1

    I was just wondering yesterday..”I wonder how CZ is doing with the non-smoking thing?”…..good, good, good for you!…and throw Dan a bone with that oral fixation thing 🙂

  2. #3

    Yes it is wonderful I ordered staples for an old old old stapler of my mother’s that I could not part with….paid 8.00 plus shipping for those darn things…but it was such a wonderful thing to get those staples….AH!
    Don’t feel bad..I have some Vaseline that was purchased in Mexico in 1986…..and it is still good!

  3. #4

    I am allergic to cinnamon. so if you ever need that gum I can guarantee you I can find it for you! just let me know! lol!!

    as for the rubbing alcohol……I celebrated my 14th wedding anniversary 2 days ago. last week I bought my SECOND can of salt EVER! totally insane!!

  4. #5

    I did a scrapbook page titled “the things we keep” with a piture of my baking cupboard. There’s still a bottle of Giant brand vanilla extract in there (probably should get rid of it) from 5 years ago before I moved halfway across the country to a place where they do not have Giant food stores. This move was a major change for me, so to still have something from a grocery store I was accustomed to is like hanging on to a piece of home. Also, kind of funny to photograph it in there with all of the Schnuck’s brand stuff I now buy.

  5. #6

    You just made my day so much better. I too have been missing my Extra Cinnamon gum. I’ve looked all over and thought it had disapeared from the face of the earth. I tried to replace it with Big Red. It’s just not the same! I’m headed directly to Amazon to purchase my box of cinnamon sanity.

  6. #7
    Lyn Meeker,21770,676079-5,00.html

    I think your bottle of Rubbing Alcohol may have expired .. according to this article .. a bottle only is good for about 3 years ..

    But it is an awesome story! (I have a large container of baby powder left from when my DS was a baby – someone had given me 4 giant “bottles” .. I gave two away .. used one and still have one .. my DS turns 17 this year! I guess I should go check to see if baby powder has an expiration date!)

  7. #8

    You have really started something! My mother-in-law has had the same tub of Mod-Podge for 30 years…and STILL uses it (in small amounts, obviously!) on the faces of dolls she makes!

  8. #10

    That is really funny! Just a couple weeks ago my dh picked up 2 giant bottles of rubbing alcohol at Costco. He uses them at our copy shop to clean some of the printers or machines or something. When we got home it struck me, “I wonder if this stuff expires?” so I ran and grabbed the bottle under my bathroom sink, and sure enough it expired in like 1999 or something! So I swapped mine (almost full!) for one of his new ones, now I have a fresh bottle that will probably sit under there until 2014 at least.

  9. #11
    S. Patel

    i ordered a case of zatarain’s jambalaya mix last week (with free shipping–gotta love that!).

  10. #12
    Anne Thompson

    Well, if Amazon didn’t sell it, we have it in Canada! And i know what you mean about Extra gum, Dentyne and Trident so don’t do it for me, it’s Extra all the way. Great job on the year and 1 month smokefree! I finally understood why it was so hard for my husband to quit when you said that everytime you take your last drag it’s like you go thru withdrawls right away. Finally made sense to me. So good job!

  11. #15
    Angie Handeland

    I just have to say, I just started reading your blog. Its a little pick me up during the day. Thanks for the laughs. I too have a bottle of rubbing alcohol from years ago. I guess I better replace it.

  12. #16
    Joy B.

    Congratulations on your 1 year 1 month. I quit 5 years ago this past March and it made a huge difference in my life. Since California is basically a non-smoking state it’s not hard to stay “quit”. In fact, seeing someone with a cigarette or cigar is so unusual that people stare and sometimes make rude comments. I can’t imagine the temptation if you live in a place where it’s normal. So keep up the good work and know that your family, friends, extended scrapbooking family and your doctor are all behind you 100%!

  13. #17

    LOL! Well, I haven’t bought gum online yet but I do stock up on Natural Ice chapstick by the dozen. Same problem as your gum. Why do stores stop stalking the awesome products? We would buy it! I would buy it all if they ordered it for me. Geez people.

  14. #18
    Laura Reaux

    “(Sorry, Dan…not going there right now.)”

    LOL! And you know, I may have to check the expiration date on a few of my things, including rubbing alcohol.

  15. #19

    I also wanted to congratulate you on your one year one month of No Smoking. (We must celebrate each day, as each day of not smoking is a milestone!!) I am approaching my two year NS Anniversary (Yay!!) I want to share that instead of buying Cigarettes, I now buy Scrap supplies – not sure which is cheaper. But, I am glad to be among other woman winning the fight against Smoking. We can do it.

  16. #21

    Boy, I must have a twisted mind cuz my mind…totally went there! haha! My problem with the old bottle of alcohol is i don’t use it often enough that i forget i have it, so i end up buying a new one. Now I have several bottles of alcohol. Ack!

  17. #23

    OMG! That’s hilarious! Just for fun I had to check my bottle of rubbing alcohol, and I actually found 2. We must of each had one before the shack-up lol.

  18. #24
    Jenn from MA

    Ya know, I should be getting that much mileage out of my rubbing alcohol…but somehow, we lose it. Usually right before I am sprouting a huge cold sore. FYI – Rubbing alcohol is WAY cheaper than Zovirax.

  19. #25

    I wish I could describe how much I enjoy your blogs. And yeah, I’m jealous that I don’t have your amazing story telling skills! Happy Day non-smoking, zit killing, cinnamon gum chewing hot momma!

  20. #27

    Cathy I hate to say this but I’m thinking that bottle of alcohol is probably useless. Did it sting when you put it on the pimple is what I want to know. Cause if not, it’s probably time to shell out for a new bottle. I bet you can order it on Amazon. 😉

    My sister once drank an entire bottle of rubbing alcohol. She was three. They pumped her stomach. She has flawless skin. I think that’s probably the secret.

  21. #28

    I’m fairly certain Amazon sells tampons and cheese. My husband loves to order food from Amazon. He has bought pure maple syrup (even though we live in Massachusetts where they make a lot of pure maple syrup and you can get it anywhere), Power Bars, green tea and pistachios.

    So your gum purchase is not all that weird.

  22. #29
    Brandy McQuirter

    Man, that bottle is really old! I guess Skaggs Alpha Beta was not making any money on rubbing alchohol, because Skaggs doesn’t even exist anymore!

  23. #30

    Have to agree with the expired alcohol..they do put expirations on medical supplies…also, the vaseline – get rid of it, wonderful place for bacteria to grow (remember, you get the stuff out of the jar with your fingers), but it will still look and smell fine! My big thing I seem to hang onto (besides scrapbook supplies) are spices. You know, you buy that one container for that one special recipe and then it sits in the cabinet for the rest of the millineum!

  24. #31

    Today is the first time that I have read your blog and I am so glad I found you. You have made me laugh out loud and the comments too, the dogs got up and came over to make sure that I was ok! Thanks for the smiles! Vickie K

  25. #32

    Just have to say…using Tampons and cheese in the same sentence, uh,…not a pretty picture!

  26. #35

    Another note about gum… I am always dieting (suprise) and I found that gum really stops me from eating between meals, but I prefer sugarless. Well, I was on a trip to Canada, and they have sugerfree Juicy Fruit!!! So I bought a couple of packets thinking that I could get more when I got home – no where to be found. I had to special order 5 cases of it from a company online, but at least I found it. The internet is an amazing thing!!!

  27. #37
    Linda Thompson

    You completely crack me up! Seriously laughing out loud… is that possible, to seriously laugh out loud? Anyhoo, my jaws are aching for your gum… gotta get me some… NOW!

  28. #39

    Cathy… you can buy “Hope in a jar” ??!?!?!? Damn someone should have told me this ,,, I would have stopped tryint to maintain it along time ago!!!!

  29. #41

    You’re so funny Cathy. 🙂 I can always count on a good chuckle when I read your blog. You know, we still have Extra cinnamon gum here in Canada. I actually prefer Bubblemint though, a good cross between kid/adult gum. You can blow bubbles galore, and it doesn’t turn to cement after 5 minutes in your mouth.
    Good luck with that zit, lol. Isn’t that the most annoying thing after age 40?? :p

  30. #42

    Oh, and I have a type question for you about ‘Word’… should I ask it here or can I email you?

  31. #43

    I have to say, I just found your blog about a week ago… you make me laugh!!! Ordering gum on amazon huh…. I was wondering where the Extra Cinnamin gum went!!! Thanks for the tip on how to get it!!!!

  32. #44
    Lisa Jane

    I have also looked for many weeks for my Extra Cinnamon gum – to no avail. And then, just when I had given up, I walk into a random little taco shop/mercado/type thing and they have BOXES of it! Thank God! I’m there every week, buying a few big packs at a time. I’m going to buy everything they have and now I know where to go next. Thanks Cathy!

  33. #45
    Gaby T

    I was just thinking about how I have random things that I have kept for a really long time. I still have a mini purple stapler that a friend gave me for Christmas my freshman year of high school. I love it because I am a big fan of cute office supplies and purple things. That was 21 years ago!! Yikes, I am old, because that seems like just yesterday

  34. #46

    Congrats on the smoke-free year.
    And yes, my mind totally “went there.”

    Couldn’t find my bottle of alcohol if my life depended on it, but seeing your makeup brushes made me remember that mine are over 10 years old. (Sometimes it pays to buy the good stuff.)I think my Poetic Waxing kit is that old, too. (Well I only use it on my eyebrows…) What? That’s gross, you say? I suppose so. Will order a new one tomorrow.

    Thanks for making me smile…

  35. #47
    Sarah Giles

    There’s seriously a product called ‘Hope in a jar’? That’s hilarious! The things I never knew I needed! 🙂

    Have you heard of the Mooncup (also called DivaCup)? That will solve the tampon-buying issue (and with the money you save, you can buy some more bathroom supplies)!

  36. #48

    Ohhhhh Cathy! No identity without cigarettes…
    That struck such a chord with me. Wow!
    I have relapsed with my smoking, for that very reason. I was so blah, not me! I couldn’t take it anymore. (What ever excuse works, right?)
    But deep down it was more about wanting to feel normal.
    I have been randomly surfing your blog for a long time. I heard on 2 peas that you had started blogging again, I started checking in fairly often.
    We seem to have much in common.
    Children same age, good husbands, hipster- not quite “normal” even though we look like we are. (This is the highest of compliments to me)
    I would love some advice on the smoking/mental issues if you have any to pass along. Id love to chat.
    Tiffany Evans
    Wilmington NC

  37. #50

    I cracked up at “demure”!

    My item of best value is my alarm clock. My mom gave it to me when I went to college and it’s been in continuous use since. I’m 42, so it’s a 24 year old alarm clock!

    I have long-ago expired alcohol, too, and it still seems to work fine. Clears my nasty little blemishes right up.

  38. #51
    karla conner

    you are sooooo funny!!! give a squeeze to Ms. Demure Donna for me!! tell her its from Boom Boom!!

    smooch to you both!!

  39. #52
    T. Hamilton

    Skip the Rubbing alcohol and go for the Proactive. I know, I know… As seen on TV? Yep! That stuff is truly amazing!

  40. #53
    Pam Tremble

    Isn’t Amazon amazing? I just found out that I can order my favorite rice there too! I was floored! Guess Amazon isn’t just about books anymore.

  41. #54

    Ok, first comment after lurking for some time now (and laughing hysterically as well)…I do the same thing for Bonne Bell raspberry lip balm. No joke – its the best, ever, and nobody stocks it anymore! So I order it by the dozen. Awesomeness: what you can do online these days. 🙂 I also had the same experience with my Prescriptives blemish treatment – I just ran out, and I seriously can’t remember when I bought it! I’m the kind of person that likes to judge value by how long its lasted me…so I’m going with “lasts a helluva long time” for that one! ~Trude

    PS Don’tcha just love Bobbi Brown? 😉

  42. #57
    Erin B

    SUCH a funny blog! Got me thinking though how i would love to give up eating cupcakes… i think they should make chocolate cupcake with cream filling gum. i’d buy that and probably lose 10 lbs!

  43. #59

    HI Cathy,
    I stopped smoking about 12 years ago with the help of one box of Nicorette gum…then 12 years of Trident Sugarless Cinnamon Gum. Costco is my source of this gum. It comes in a box of 12 18-stick pack and I would be lost without it…for sure. It’s so amasing that the want~need~addiction seems to never go away…just gets a little less as the years go by. Good Luck. Nancy

  44. #60

    This morning I was going through my cabinets (before reading your post) and found a bottle of baby powder with a Pay’n’Save sticker on it. We haven’t had Pay’n’Save here for 20 years! I had to laugh out loud when I read your post. And yeah, you really can buy anything on the Internet.

  45. #61

    …not sure about blog etiquette – is it ok to post a comment unrelated to the post (not that I didn’t enjoy it…I did!) but I just got the chance to review the Simple Scrapbooks newsletter that arrived in my inbox this week. And I love the photo of you in the editor column. …and I just might check out that new book! thanks for the daily smiles!

  46. #62
    lynn whelan

    Oh man, it’s days (posts) like this that make me realize just how glad I am that you returned to your blogging world! I really needed this today, even though I am probably a day late.

  47. #64

    that “Extra Cinnamon” gum is the one my husband buys. I found it at my 99cent store. With all the new gum guess the big stores didn’t want to carry that “awesome” gum.

    p.s. it’s 12:04 am and I should know better then to read your blog last, you had me laughing on the rubbing alcohol story and now I”m wide awake. lol

  48. #65

    Wow, I had no idea you were from Grapevine Texas. I currently live there. Its a great little town, do you ever get back here? Maybe for a class?? That would be awesome!

  49. #66

    Are they allowed to ship tampons and cheese in the same box?

    Discovered internet grocery shopping when you got us all curious about Tim Tams. Yup, just order them on-line. Although now World Market has them…just in case you were having a craving…

  50. #67

    I live in Wyoming, MN and was at the grocery store in the check out and happened to look over at the gum while waiting and there amongst the 30 other brands were 2 boxes of cinnamon Extra gum. So if you out and your delivery of gum is late, you can take a short road trip north to get your fix. 🙂

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