Thursday, April 28, 2011

Living the Dream

This is the next post, in what I hope to be many as part of a blog project I am doing with three other ladies. At the end of my post I will give you the links so that you can check out what they have to say on our topic. Who knows, maybe you will find something else you like.

Today's topic is what is your dream job?  I have not had a "real" job in almost 9 years.  July 1st will be my 9 year anniversary of retirement from the working world.  Sure I have done odd jobs here and there.  I have picked up extra cash babysitting, writing columns for various publications, creating marketing programs for non-profits, to name a few.  Not one of my odd jobs has ever netted me much money.  I look at them as a way to provide a few extra's for the family, but not a way to actually help us pay bills.  That responsibility rests totally on Bob.  I am thankful that he makes enough money for me to be "retired."

The thought of going back to the working world makes me sort of sick to my stomach.  Recently I have been volunteering with Sam's soccer club.  I have been lending my marketing expertise to helping them market their tryouts.  The politics and people management that this has required has caused me to be a bit stressed out.  I know, stress out over a volunteer position.  I finally got so fed up with it all I quit.  The powers that be weren't real happy about that, and everyone stopped bugging me.  They asked me to stay, and since they aren't bugging me, it is all good.

That was an eye opener, I do not know if I really could return to an actual job where I have to work with actual people.  When I think about my dream job, it usually involves traveling to remote tropical islands and sending in stories about the local culture.  Of course, with no deadlines, critism, or responsibility.  A job like that sounds great.  You pay me to travel all over with my kids, but don't expect anything in return, and we will be good.  Hey, the topic was dream job right?

The issue is that my dream job is so outside of the space where real people live that it is laughable.  I mean really, no one gets paid to do fun stuff and not have any responsibility.

I have talked about what I will do once the kids are all in school full time, but the reality is that what I really want to do is go to lunch, volunteer with the soccer club and generally keep doing what I am doing.  It isn't ambitious or require the level of education I have.  While what I do doesn't pay very well, it is the longest I have ever stayed at one job.  I think that says something. 

Maybe I am already living the dream?  I just wish it paid better.

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say about this, then check them out, Momarock, Froggie and Merrylandgirl.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Goin' through hell... not anymore

Today on the way to the grocery store, I heard our theme song from a couple of years ago.  It was a country song called "If you're goin' through hell."  I love that song.  So, of course I blasted it super loud in the mommy van.  Then sat in the car, song blarring, singing along, in the parking lot until it was over.

Listening to that song reminded me of how far we have come.  Lately, I have been feeling really overwhelmed.  I haven't been blogging about what is going on, because as a family we need to work some of this stuff out.  Once we do, then maybe I will talk about it, maybe I won't.  It is story that I am not willing to share now, and may never be willing to share.

Back to the topic at hand, me, overwhelmed, recently.  Thinking about where we were when we first moved here, well, that makes where we are now, seem managable.  I think about where I was, and how every day I would wake up and ask G-d to help me survive just another 4 hours.  Well, things are better now.

I had forgotten how good we having things right now.  I think it is important to remember where we were, because I never want to go back there.  Ever.  So, if I don't get everything done, or my house isn't perfect, or my kids are acting poorly, I still know, it could always be worse.  Sometimes I just forget that.

I guess, we were going through hell, but we kept on going and we got out before the devil even knew we were there.  Or something like that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 days to a new you

This is the next post, in what I hope to be many as part of a blog project I am doing with three other ladies. At the end of my post I will give you the links so that you can check out what they have to say on our topic. Who knows, maybe you will find something else you like.

This week's question is about giving something up for 30 days.  I am not a big into self deprication.  I just do not have the willpower, or maybe the desire.  I never gave things up for lent, and now that my family is Jewish, well, that isn't happening.  But, I don't even fast for Yom Kippur.  Denial just isn't my thing.

But, as I think about it, the only really bad habits I have are eating too much sugar and drinking 2 diet sodas a day.  Sometimes more soda if we are out.  I know that cutting back on the sugar would be a good thing, and the soda's aren't helping me much.  But, in the whole scheme of things, I don't think that is such a bad thing.  Everyone needs a vice.

I have taken the attitude of trying new things for 30 days.  That is more positive anyway, so more appealing to my basic nature.  When I was pregnant with Sam, many moons ago, I decided that I would take a pre-natal excercise class.  I paid for 30 days, even though I would have saved more money if I paid for 6 months up-front.  My feeling about that was I would try it for 30 days.   That way if I didn't like it, I would be done with it and not out a bunch of money.

This was a pretty big commitment for a letharic, over-weight, pregnant lady.  It was not like I entered this class having been working out for years.  I had worked out a bit in college, but had not been to the gym since then.  So, it had been awhile since I was active in any sort of meaningful way.

That class was the beginning of me going to the gym and excercising on a fairly regular basis.  Do I go as much as I would like?  No, but I do go 3 to 4 times a week.  I think that while cutting back on sugar would be a good thing too, doing this one thing every week has and will continue to help me stay on track.  Sure, there have been bumps on the road.  When we moved it took me awhile to find a new gym.  Sure there have been months when I have fallen off the wagon, but the facts are, I always get back on the horse.  By doing this one thing for 30 days I have created a habit, that will most likely stay with me for the rest of my life.

I would like to brag about the fact that I went to this class every single time it was held until the week before I delivered Sam.  There were days when I didn't feel like hauling my fat, pregnant self to this class, but I always did.  When I was pregnant with Hannah, I just stuck with my regular routine, no special class for her.

While I was in the class I made a few friends.  One of the friends that I made is still one of my best friends today.  Her family is part of my choosen family.  She is not the coupon friend from last week's post.

Doing something for 30 days, it did change my life.  I wish I could figure out how to frame not eating sugar in a way that would work as well as going to the gym did.  But, until then...

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say about this, then check them out, Momarock, Froggie and Merrylandgirl.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My so-called blog post

This is the next post, in what I hope to be many as part of a blog project I am doing with three other ladies. At the end of my post I will give you the links so that you can check out what they have to say on our topic. Who knows, maybe you will find something else you like.

Today's topic is what would you do if someone gave you $250,000.  While this is a fairly sizable amount of money, it isn't really enough to change your life.  It would make me more comfortable, but no jobs would be quit. 

As I was thinking about this, the ideas that came to my mind immediately are, I would fix the bathroom and hire a cleaning lady.  I am not sure if this is because I was in the shower of doom at the time or not.  The other thing I would want to do is fix the kitchen.  Really, let's be honest, I would want to fix my house.  Make it so that it isn't slowly crumbling in around my ears.  Make it so that it would be pretty.  That amount would be more than enough to do that.

But the whole topic of the cleaning lady had more of an actual impact on my daily life.  As I was pondering this mythical $250,000, I calculated how much a cleaning lady would cost on an annualized basis.  Really, it is just a pin prick at that $250,000.  It is less than the amount my mother gave me for the holidays last year.

This is where it got interesting.  Someone did give me enough money so I could get a cleaning lady.  Figures were scribbled in steam on the shower door.  There was enough to do this.   Figures were rechecked, then double checked on paper with a calculator.  There really is enough to do this.  Really.

I floated the idea past my mom and my husband.  Everyone was on board.  They all thought it was a splendid idea.  Really, having someone help me with the housework is going to make our lives soo much better.  I will be sooo much happier, the kids will be happier because I am happier. 

I am getting someone to help me clean my house!  I am so excited.

That is where my story ends.  I never did figure out what to do with the money.  I got so distracted by my own real financial situation.  There is a story in there some place about the validity of fixing my house versus doing something to help the world with a gift like this.  But who has time for all that?  I am too busy interviewing cleaning ladies.  If you know anyone, drop me a line!

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say about this, then check them out, Momarock, Froggie and Merrylandgirl.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bullet points

I am feeling a bit ADHD today.  So, just some random thoughts.  Nothing deep enough, or perhaps fully developed enough to be a full post.
  • I was listening to the radio the other day and there was a song on the radio that I used to really love.  It was about 10 years ago, I think I must have been more bitter.  The song is You Ought to Know, by Alanis Morisette.  Essentially she sings about how mad she is that her husband/boyfriend dumps her for another woman.  I totally understand the emotion she talks about in the song, that sense of utter betrayal.  But, while I used to really like the song, now I just think she is bitter and she needs to move on.  She is so angry.  Really, was he worth it?

  • While we were at retreat, we heard a very interesting lecture on Kant.  If you boil Kant down, he says that we make our own decisions.  That we are all rational beings and we can choose to believe in G-d or not.  Not more than 5 minutes after we walked out, did I have a conversation with Mac about making different choices.  He was upset about the outcome of a situation and I told him that it was the natural consequence of the choices he made.  I have never really thought that Philosophy had much, if anything to do with real life.  I always thought of it as a pure intellectual pursuit.  Guess not.  Looks like I am using Kant as my parenting guide.

  • Just a bit more on that, if you don't like how things are going, it is important to look at the choices you are making.  There are so many people that blame someone else for a situation that they have contributed towards creating.  Kant would say that we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

  • Sadly, the people that really need to understand that will never see themselves in that description.

  • My pet does not match my craft.  Who knew?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This is the second post, in what I hope to be many as part of a blog project I am doing with three other ladies. At the end of my post I will give you the links so that you can check out what they have to say on our topic. Who knows, maybe you will find something else you like.

Today's topic is to talk about something legendary that either has happened or you would like to happen. I am chosing to talk about something legendary that has happened.

Now, most people would think I would talk about the birth of my kids or the day I married my husband. But, no, I am going to talk about Fred. Fred was a coupon. A coupon so important, so amazing, so well, legendary, that it got a name.

There is a small problem with Fred, and that is one of greed. Fred definately exposed my greed. Fred altered some of my friendships, one could say that these friendships were on the brink anyway, but Fred was the catalyst. Fred was so exciting. The rush I got from using Fred was addictive. We had a copy of Fred on our fridge for a long time. We still talk about Fred, good times, good times.

Now I am sure you are thinking, has she taken a turn here? Should we call the guys with the green fringed straight jacket? A coupon did all these things, let's be real here. Well, to understand this, we have to step back in time. Back to a time when I was a super couponer. When I could walk out of the grocery store with carts of food and used change from the cushions in my car to pay for them.

The way I was able to do this was to purchase specific products that would trigger the machine that prints coupons, the catalina machine, to print coupons for amounts greater than I spent. These deals would be published in the grocery ads. Nothing fishy going on here  There were times when I bought 200 boxes of Jello or Fruit Snacks and made hundreds of dollars.  What we didn't use we donated.

The way the deal worked, when you bought, say 11 jars of peanut butter, the catalina machine would give you a coupon for $10 off your next order. When you went to use that coupon, Fred, this would trigger the machine to print ANOTHER coupon for $10 off your next order. Fred was self-generating. The act of using Fred, caused Fred to reproduce another one. Esssentially, we could walk out with the entire grocery store in $10 increments.  So we did.

I showed up one evening with a baggie full of change, and walked out with a baggie full of change and two carts full of groceries.  The cashier at self-scan didn't care what I was doing, but really wanted to know because she wanted to do it too.  I never told.  See what I mean about greed?  We used everything I acquired, but was it really the right thing to do?  I got thousands of dollars of groceries during the two week period that Fred worked.  It was great, but was it right?  Probably not.

There was a group of us that worked these coupon deals together.  We shared notes and helped each other.  Of that group of three, only two of us still speak.  One of our friends had just had a baby and was too lazy to go and get a Fred for herself.  She wanted us to give her one of our Freds.  But, we didn't want to do that, we wanted them all for ourselves.  These coupons were worth hundreds of dollars.  Again with the greed.  As a result, I am no longer friends with B.  But, M is part of my chosen family.  One could argue that there were issues with B before all this happened.  Something else would have probably caused the rift, but still, it was caused by Fred.

It was addictive to walk into the grocery store and walk out with free groceries.  I did not do as many transactions as other people.  I told myself that this made it ok.  I would want to stop, but I couldn't.  The rush was unbelievable.  I would giggle when I would unload my loot. In the end, it was like a drug.  But, unlike a drug, eventually my ability to use Fred ended.  He expired.

Fred is a legendary coupon.  We still talk about Fred.  Fred, he changed my relationships, he was like a drug, and he exposed my inability to control my greed.  But, still, in that moment, it was so much fun.  I will always remember Fred fondly.  Good times, no legendary times.

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say about this, then check them out,  Momarock,  Froggie  and  Merrylandgirl