Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful is as Thankful Does...

I decided that I was up for this challenge!  I could do it... I can share my thankful list... but then I got started and I realized that sharing the list would break all my rules because #1 it would be so long nobody would want to go all the way from Avocados to Zippers and #2 it would be full of names that I've sworn to protect... So I pared it down a "titch" - I happily present to you - the ABC's of gratitude:

A and her Mom - for entertaining M

B family - every last one... for keeping me grounded and for answering all my dumb computer questions

C family - for demonstrating every day the kind of life that I want to live

Dusting cloths...  they almost make me thankful for my plantation shutters (but I have an even better “P”)

Everything... listen, don’t go off about specificity now - I limited myself to 26 items and that’s frankly just not NEARLY enough!  

Facebook Friends - all those long lost people that add a little spice to life :)  and all those not so long lost people that now I get to smack with virtual pillows!

Green.  I love it, it’s a beautiful color in all of its hues - the grass, the leaves, the many different shades of olive green which I've painted around my house, the pants I'm wearing, the teensy green specks that come through in those hazel eyes, the plastic spider ring that is sitting on the desk in front of me... okay, well THAT one can go... neon isn't my Fave...

H - my sweet daughter who reminds me daily to be more mellow and who gives great hugs and writes the BEST love notes in town!

Irony.  What can I say, I love a good ironic twist in the books I read - and wouldn’t my 10th grade English Teacher be THRILLED to know that I still remember the 2 WEEKS we spent discussing Irony in his class? 

Jokes - a good way to break the ice.  Besides - who doesn’t love it when a 4 year old asks why the chicken crossed the road?  (To go to the movies of course!  Hey, that made a LOT more sense than the Knock-Knock jokes!)

Kitchens.  Aside from the fact that mine tends to be dirty most days - I love to make a good healthy meal in my own home.  I’d love it even more if the kids appreciated the good healthy meal... but that’s another story altogether!

Love.  It’s huge people - get some today!

M - the youngest of my sweet kids, who wants to buy me a “Mom Barbie that doesn’t pee” to go along with her “Potty Training Kelly” so that we can play together :)

Nails.  They hold the house together, they hang the family pictures on the walls.  Mine help me type...  what’s not to appreciate?

Others - all those people whose names should be in here but aren’t (sorry “Bloggy Buddies” just couldn’t supplant my own fam...  I DO still appreciate you!)

P - that third son of mine, who is teaching me patience (more of it?) and who loves to play card games with me even if I do beat the pants off of him!

Q - the hubby of the year award just isn’t enough - a man who supports my efforts, encourages my improvement, and gives me a hug at the end of the day whether I blew it or not.

Restaurants - there are just days when these save my sanity... 

Speaking of Sanity...  really, gotta be super grateful for this one - as tenuous as it seems to be sometimes!!!

T - my eldest, who gave me my first grey hairs and who still allows me to drive him to school without stopping a block away... even when I haven’t taken a shower yet!

Umbrellas - we used to live in Seattle and trust me... a really good umbrella is hard to find!

Violins - I played one... my two oldest boys have learned to play it...  Q’s family has a couple good players, mine does too.  I love the tones of a well played violin!

W - my second son - whose patience and forbearance should be a lesson to us all.  He shares unfailingly and forgives immediately - what would I do without him?

Xanadu - and all those other old black and white movies :)

Yummy - I am especially grateful when I hear that word out of my children’s mouths!

Zippers - they’re a good thing - as cute as those old fashioned button up boots are, I can’t imagine taking that much time to slip on my shoes to run out the door - and don’t get me started on button fly jeans!

Just 26... and so many more to go - slip your name in there wherever it fits :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Separated at Birth?

So we sit down for family night to watch a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and before we're 5 minutes in my mind is boggled...  is it possible - am I seeing things?  How could these two obviously related people have not been outed previously!

I mean c'mon...  their penchant for the color orange aside, the lifeless hair, the incredibly ridiculously bad eyesight, the kneehigh socks (well, your guess is as good as mine as to where Marci's knees actually are)...

Add to that the fact that they are both the smartest kids around (although Linus is pretty good with the Scriptural and Historical references)... really, this has been hushed up long enough - but no longer...  I am blowing the lid right off this story and insisting that the truth be told...  err... well, whatever - I really just need to fill another day here on the old blog :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

and here I thought I was so Unique...
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

what's with that? 40 other people with the SAME name... I mean, yeah - so I'm closely related to one whose name is spelled differently (she's not part of the 40) and yeah, I used to work with one of the others (she got my paycheck once by mistake... THAT was a fiasco)... but really - maybe my Mom and Dad should have named me Natalie after all (can you imagine that?)
Update: ugh - still 39 Natalie ______s... not much better, I'll stick with T__!

Friday, November 21, 2008

But Tag week was sooooo long ago...

Okay - Mariann tagged me TWICE in two days - a 5 things tag, and a crazy 8's tag...  so I'm throwing all the answers in here in one big jumble... it won't get a cute name because I can't come up with one... and worry not - I won't tag you because well, I'm running out of friends that way, so just sit back and enjoy... as I once again blog by the seat of my pants and hope that there is some humor in there somewhere :)

8 shows I love to watch:  CSI, ER, LOST, Law and Order SVU, Chuck, Monk, Psych, and Heroes...  
8 places I love to eat:  My dining room, My mother in law's house, My grandmother's house, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Applebee's, Really Good Chinese, Anyplace with great seafood, and on a picnic blanket.  (can you tell I don't get out much?)
8 things that happened yesterday:  Laundry, Dishes, Blogging, Played Scrabble on Facebook with my sister, lots of trips to the schools, Did some Christmas shopping finally, Haircut (needed a trim already!), and finished reading a book that I still need to write a review for.
8 things I look forward to:  a day when my house stays clean, visiting family for the holidays, taking down the Christmas tree, Sunday Dinners, Summer Days with the kids, Time to read more, going on vacation, time alone with the hubby
8 things I love about fall:  Red, Orange, Yellow, Brown, Brisk Air, Hot Apple Cider, Family Time, cuddling in my "cozy" (what, everyone doesn't name their favorite blanket?)
8 things on my wish list:  basement remodel, world peace, my Cricut to work again the right way, an end to global hunger, a new pair of brown dress shoes, a cure for cancer and arthritis and all of those other nasty diseases, a cute new pair of glasses, and a solution for the education crisis in our country!  (I'm nothing if not well-rounded)
8 things I was doing 10 years ago:  taking care of a toddler W, working at KinderCare, moving from Wichita to Utah, picking 4-leaf clovers in our back-yard (while still in Wichita), Being VERY sick (long story... maybe some other time), Being very grateful for the hospitality of Q's family (in Utah), Dealing with little T's asthma... not dealing very well might I add), and Being annoyed at my boss (in Utah).
8 things on today's "to-do" list:  Laundry, Dishes, Figuring out where we are at with Christmas Shopping, Children's Museum Meeting, Pick up Kids at School, Buy a new Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax, Make the kids clean their rooms, Update Blog (almost done!)
8 snacks I enjoy:  pretzels, Reese's Pieces, Almonds, Candy Cane Kisses (Hershey's only makes them around Christmas... yummy!), String Cheese, All Bran Crackers, Mango Tango Smoothies, any fruit.
8 places I've lived:  all over the place as a baby Navy Brat (CA), Thornton (CO), Canyon Lake (CA), Provo (UT), Loveland (CO), Wichita (KS), Arlington (WA),  and then here.
8 things I'd do if I were a b'zillionaire:  get out of debt, get my family out of debt, travel all over the place, drive a more eco-friendly car, put a bathroom in my basement, buy a new house anyway, build the children's museum, hire private tutors for my children.  (okay, to be honest Mariann's tag said "millionaire", but I quickly ran out of money... had to dream bigger!)
8 jobs I've had:  preschool teacher, Usher, Nanny, Dental Assistant, Football Stadium Ticket Taker (they let me do field security ONCE...), After School Program Teacher/Curriculum Developer, Kindergarten Teacher.  (and MOM... it may be 9th, but who's counting right?)

Oh look at that, just when I was tired of typing and you were tired of hearing so much about ME... it's over.  Now I REALLY think I've done every tag out there and I'm positive that my readers know more about me than they ever wanted to...  maybe someday I'll tell you about the 5 years I spent on crutches...  or not. 

are YOU a twi-hard?

... Now I'm officially and forever stating for the fact that although I enjoyed the Twilight books as much as the next person - I am not, have never been, and never will be a "Twi-Hard"... 

So, how many of YOU stayed up all night to see the movie?  I don't even have my tickets yet - I prefer to wait and see it when the theatre is NOT full of teens that are screaming at the glittery hotness of Edward!  Besides - hubby said he'd go with me (he even read the book so he wouldn't be lost) and I'm certainly not going to subject him to the first weekend when it's 90% women!  Besides, I didn't buy a "Bite Me" shirt - so I don't dare show my face :) (shoot, couldn't find a little smiley that looked like vampire teeth - THAT would have been much cooler)

I'm pretty sure that there's no "spoilers" in the movie if I've already read the book, but just in case - let's not fill my comment section with "I can't believe you missed out on (insert awesome scene of your choice here)" because who knows, there might be SOME people out there who have yet to read the books!  And if you are close enough to me to ask (physically or emotionally), yes - you can borrow them!

Okay - that's all - just making sure that although I AM the one that read the first 3 books in 3 days (it would have been 2, but I had to wait for the book to be released the next morning) - I am NOT the one missing out on sleep in order to see the movie first!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Devastating News... ???

So yesterday I'm at the intermediate school - helping with vision screenings... which basically means that I stood for a few hours pointing at letters on a chart while nurses listened to the kids and determined whether or not they should be referred to a doctor.  All sweetness and light right?  Yeah, you would think so... I  had a few flashback moments as I'm standing there - I was this age when I got dragged to the eye doctor and given a monstrous pair of hideous glasses that I was embarrassed to wear at school!  I also remember though that the first time I wore them outside what a relief it was to have depth perception... to realize that I might be able to JUDGE how high the curb was and how far to lift my foot instead of guessing.  Whoa - just realized I've ALWAYS been a clutz, Hubby thought it was a recent development :)

Anyway - back to the present!  You have to know first off that these nurses were both heavier women in their 50s or 60s... and you only have to know that because of the way the 12 year old kids are viewing them...  older ladies, both wearing glasses.  
So this one sweet girl comes to the front of the line - and proceeds to prove that she cannot see.  The nurse asks her if she has glasses that she's left at home or in her locker and she replies "I don't wear glasses" and the nurse retorts quickly "You're going to be wearing glasses now" - and the girl walks off - quickly - with tears in her eyes.  I wanted to chase her down and give her a pep talk, or a hug, or SOMETHING...  of course, I'm probably just another old lady with glasses (oops, I was wearing my contacts) in her mind so I let her go and get some teeny bopper consolation.  Apparently the nurse was un-phased - or just didn't notice because we went right on to the next kid (who had great vision).

My question here is - for those of you who have vision issues... was it Devastating for you?  Did it seem like a death sentence?  Did you believe the old saying of "Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses"?  Did you leave them in your locker and only pull them out for the bi-annual vision screening?  

I certainly only wore mine during math class!

--P.S. by the end of standing there pointing for a few hours my back HURT...  good thing they were also doing scoliosis checks!--

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme... (a.k.a. our new Santa Letter tradition)

Sometimes the Holiday season drives me crazy...  something about the crowded stores and the increase in TV commercials for dumb toys... the tripling in phone calls to my house asking for me to donate to another good cause also drives me crazy - but that's another post!  Today I'll just focus on commercialism... because frankly  -  I love Christmas, it's a great holiday...  a great time to reflect on our lives, our spirituality, our commitment to our family - everything about it is wonderful (Mmmm... pumpkin pie...), everything... except that Gimme attitude!

In an effort to combat this attitude we have simplified our Christmas letters to "Santa" - each child now sends a form letter to Santa (We hope the fat man won't hold this against our children) and has only a few places to put requests...

Dear Santa,

I have been very Good / Bad this year.  The thing I want most for Christmas is _______.  When I go outside to play it would be nice to have a ___________ also.  The best movie to bring me this year would be ___________ and when I sit down to read I would like to have ___________.  A ___________ would help me a lot with learning about new stuff.  And since I keep growing it’s probably about time I had some new ___________ to wear!  Just for fun it would be nice to have a game like ___________ or a toy I saw called ___________.  Thanks so much for everything!

Love, ___________  

P.S.  My favorite Candy is ___________ 

Now, to be honest - there is no WAY the kids are getting everything off these lists anyway - but it does prevent them from filling a page with every new Wii game, and it reminds them gently that there are simpler wants in the world...  like Kit-Kat Bars and a bookmark (two of this years' requests)

Problem Solved?  Yeah right... not there yet, but this is just our second year with this system, and it has already saved money, stress, and whining...  anything that cuts back on Whining is a winner in my book!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder...

So...  T (my oldest son... and no, he's NOT named after me) really wanted some great shoes for his birthday last year... he wanted lime green converse high tops...  Do you KNOW how hard those are to find?  Do you KNOW how much those puppies cost?  Do you KNOW that my mother is a bit of a pushover when some eldest grandchild asks in that sweet voice of his?

Anyway - the real story here is that those shoes - size 7 - lasted about 3 months... actually, the shoes themselves look great still - the boy lasted about that long IN the shoes before he hit a growth spurt!  So, being the male version of a fashionista (is there a word for that?) he went and bought himself a few pair of Vans (knockoffs actually) for the new school year... cool designs - whatever, he liked them, and it all worked out...  Just in case the designs were too much I purchased one pair of plain white shoes from a discount store which needs no further free advertising on my blog.  I (having unbelievable foresight) purchased them a half size larger than the other shoes... just in case...  

Then... another growth spurt and the boring white pair was the only thing that fit!  T was okay with this until the first day he wore them and came home with them a little smudgy from the fact that we don't live in a sterile environment.  Can anyone say OCD?  T was a picky kid who wouldn't touch weird textures but we were hoping we'd gotten over it!

Did you know that White Shoes don't stay white very well?  Even with bleach and washing... should I have tried Tang?  (if you didn't laugh at that you either don't read my blog often enough - see prior post - or you need a new sense of humor... work on that!)

Our solution...  add color!
Lots and Lots of color...
I'd be embarrassed about the filthy state of the shoes (inside) except that their HIS nasty shoes, not mine and hey... at least it's not smell-o-vision right?

He took some Sharpies to school with him a few days in a row and had friends add their art - A lot of them would ask "are you sure your mom won't mind?" - to which he answered... My Mom drew the alien... and the cookie monster... she doesn't mind!  A few kids even asked him where he got the cool designer shoes... 

The process took more time than we'd hoped, about 3 weeks total because he just wanted a few more people to get a chance at the shoes... before we finished them off at home... and then, how did we celebrate?

We went out and bought him a nice new pair of tennis shoes!  These works of art are now ALSO too small for his gargantuan growing teenage feet!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crawling out from under a pile... and the Maytag Repairman in a can of Tang.

...a pile of books!  The book-fair is officially DONE, I was so eager to be done that I closed a 1/2 hour early and if somebody tried to come and spend a few hundred dollars there at the end - well, I'm really sorry, but hey, we'll be back in the Spring.

Really - hardly anyone local reads my blog anyway so I don't think the apology will go far!

So what did this week entail?  Aside from re-shelving books for about 8 hours, handling lots of little pennies and nickels for kids buying erasers and bookmarks, and counting 638 animal crackers into a jar... not much...

I did manage to slip and fall early in the week - felt like a moron, extremely embarrassing moment and all that... shouldn't admit to it even hush hush but hey - somehow blogging about it is "private" right?  Yeah, let's just say that the bruised ribs will heal and that I should really get a larger shower mat...

Also - The book fair saved me a lot of money - I was this close (my fingers are being held up 1/2 an inch apart) to buying a new dishwasher this week...  tired of the dishes coming out dirtier than they went in...  but as I'm running the fair I aimlessly pick up a book titled Fix It or something like that and the cover says "fix a broken dishwasher with Tang"... yeah right says I and I open up the book where it tells me to put Tang in the soap compartments and run an empty load...  something about citric acid and clogged pipes and holes...  well, what the heck right - I go home, happen to have Tang (and not just the food storage equivalent) so I give it a go... and believe it or not my dishwasher is working again... I still want a new one, but this will get us by for another 6 months even with broken prongs right?   Who Knew?

Okay - nothing really witty, just wanted to announce that I have renounced the title of CBFL forever!!!  (errr... well, almost forever - there's still BOGO in the spring!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

That Crazy Book-fair Lady!

Okay, I know I said I was too busy to post... but when you have to vent you have to vent right?  I was getting my kids ready for school this morning calm as can be when there's a call from the school - so I run over to deal with a minor problem...

You see, Some crazy book-fair lady (CBFL?) has done up about 500 flyers to send home with the kids... only in her haste and inattention, she has printed the wrong date on all of the flyers and then distributed them to the teachers.  Then, in trying to fix her little problem she manages to pull the librarian away from her real job and is literally running up and down the halls (trading bad flyers for good) dragging her poor little child from classroom to classroom.  I was a little worried for that poor tot who had to run to keep up!!!

THEN the CBFL doesn't just go home - no, she feels it necessary to stay at the school for the next 5 or 6 hours taking care of all the nit-picky details just so those teachers can see the finished product before days' end.  Okay lady - go to the store already, don't you still need to get the rest of the book-fair stuff... wasn't there some work you needed to take care of at home... isn't there laundry to be done and dishes piling up at YOUR house?

Okay - I'm done venting... now I need to take my poor tot to the store with me, where she more than earned a treat just for not having a complete melt down while waiting for her mom/CBFL to finish fixing all the problems she caused :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy, Sweetness and Light and all that Jazz...

Really - I had these WONDERFUL intentions of posting one of those make you want to just smile posts, the kind you e-mail to all your old high school friends and close relatives because well, darn-it, it just touched you right there...   Of course then I remembered that while I possess a pretty good funny bone (which produces posts you can e-mail to the weird neighbor) and a really good ranting gene (which produces posts that you can e-mail to co-workers) I'm not really sure I have whatever it takes to do "touching".

So instead I will use the excuse of being REALLY busy for the next little while and beg your forgiveness while I drop off the face of the earth... wait, no, just off the face of the blogosphere - you see - it is that wonderful time of year again when we hold our school book-fair... which means basically that twice a year I put everything on hold to sit and smile behind a table trying to raise a few bucks so that the PTA can turn around and buy MORE books for the teachers.  
Being an admitted book junkie you would think this would SO be my bag... and it probably is - I'm also addicted to throwing a really good party so for me this is great, I go all out with the book-fair theme and I even dress up (anyone got a pith helmet?) to pitch a few books.  The problem?  Well, it's that whole "family" thing - they begin to feel neglected when I spend one week setting the whole thing up, another week running the thing, and the third week reconciling the financials and trying to catch up on all the things left undone at home during weeks one and two.  I'm giving it up next year - for my mental health and because the kids can't eat THAT many budget frozen entrees!

No really - I grabbed a few handfuls of each flavor last week because dinner is too much to think about when I'm in the book-fair "zone"... I guess my diet is safe for at least one more week!

Anyway - I'm sure I'll pop in at least occasionally because... well, because that's just how I am - but my guess is that until the dust settles I will have my brain full of financial mumbo jumbo and ordering hoopla...  so, "discuss amongst yourselves" and I'll be right back
(yeah, that's not quite right without the Church Lady voice)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's all over but the shouting...

okay - two posts too close together, but I just HAD to vent a teensy little bit.  Yesterday's election...  I SWORE I wasn't going to go political on you (and I'm not)... yeah, some people I voted for won, some lost - that's the way it works and I'll be a supportive member of my country no matter what.  (but I just noticed that Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone and all those complainers of 8 years past never did move renounce their citizenship)

Anyway - I'm just going to tell you a little story about my voting experience...  which was FINE, no line... easy breezy beautiful...  I check all the little boxes next to the people I want, I abstain here and there on some things I wasn't responsible enough to research, and TaDahh... I'm done.  Because I'd walked to the polling place with a friend I am killing a little time when in walks this lady... whose name I don't know but we'll just call her Ms. Law Abiding Citizen or LAC for short.  Now I'm sure that LAC is a nice soul and I'm also sure that she had the law on her side but she was also just a tad... LOUD... for a polling place!  She was upset that the volunteers had (following instructions from someone else) posted signs stating that a Photo ID was required to vote.  Apparently this is breaking a law of some kind, I don't know... I don't really care.  I personally think asking for some proof of ID to cast a ballot in any election is a great idea because otherwise I could go in claiming to be anyone in the precinct - whatever...

My real point is that regardless of LAC's intentions she came across as being nasty (and again, I'm sure she's not) - she marched in, right up to the first volunteer (who was giving up her time to help out) and informed her (and the entire room) that she had called the County Commissioner's Office (or some other official place?) and that they were on the way over to remove those signs and they were MAD...  The sweet volunteer refrained from telling the lady to chill out and stop harassing the voters - she just smiled and said thank you for the information, told her they'd followed instructions and left it at that.  That didn't satisfy LAC, she apparently came to pick a fight and she wasn't getting one... so she approached another volunteer - this one who was in the middle of the polling place so now EVERYONE is being subjected to her angry cries and unable to concentrate on their actual VOTING...  She is also very nice, and luckily the representative from the important office came in to remedy the situation...  funny, she didn't look mad...  and she took care of it.  I had to leave the room during the tirade because I was having a hard time keeping my own anger in check - but the signs were down when I left to walk home...  Guess I'm going to have to go do some research on THAT law now...

Funny thing?  Q voted about an hour after me, and while he doesn't remember signs, he was asked for his ID...  were his constitutional rights violated?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

All those ways to save a little GREEN just tick me off...

Why?  Because frankly my dears - either I can't do them (like sure, I can just get a smaller car... and 2 of my children can learn to ride in the trunk) or I already do them...  For Example:
+Combine your Cable/Internet/Phone Services... yeah - years ago - as a matter of fact, we don't HAVE cable TV anymore (just the locals - gasp!)
+Slow down your Internet Service - ummm... yeah, it doesn't get any slower folks!
+Send away for and follow up on rebates:  I happen to be good at this, but frankly - you have to SPEND money to qualify for the rebates, so I haven't had to worry about it recently!
+Buy a refurbished Mac/iPod/iPhone... umm, isn't it just better to NOT replace my things that are still working?
+Convert to a Gas Water Heater - yep, great idea, as soon as I can wait the b'zillion years for my monthly savings to add up to the purchase price - I am SO on this one!
+Request a reduction in the interest rate for your home equity line of credit. - hmmm, actually - not a terrible idea, can't hurt to ask right?
+Ditto for the credit cards, can't hurt to ask
+Refinance your mortgage - ummm, not THIS year, are you NUTS?!?
+Get rid of private Mortgage Insurance - yep, did that
+Get your books from the Library - REALLY trying to do this one, REALLY...
+Get your DVDs from the Library... ummm, our DVD player is broken, not an issue
+Rent your DVDs from Red BOx - I checked but yep, still broken!
+Read your magazines at the library or online - I just gave them all up... well, except GAMES - and it turns out that the library frowns upon me doing 1/2 of every crossword!  (okay, so really they don't even stock it)
+Subscribe to magazines that are must reads - yep, GAMES is a subscription... and maybe if I mention their magazine a few more times they'll give me a free issue :)  GAMES, GAMES, GAMES...  (what can I say, I'm a puzzle junkie!) -and yes, all the links DO go the same place!
+Buy your car over the internet - still thinking it's better to just NOT buy a new one this week.
+Request a discount on trash service??? Really??  Didn't even know there was a competitor to my city run trash collection... oh that's right, there's not.
+Never pay checking account fees.  o.  k.  
+Get a rewards card - yep, we're still saving those measly points hoping that we'll be able to go to Disneyland before Mr Teenager has to leave on his mission in six years!
+Don't pay interest on credit cards... again, trying REALLY hard on this one...
+Take advantage of 0% credit card offers... umm, this is in direct opposition to the rewards card one isn't it... you really can't expect to earn rewards if you're transferring your balance every 6 months!
+Replace lightbulbs with those compact flourescent ones... we did that a few years back - and though some have done the whole "last 10X longer" thing just fine, I'm getting really that we're replacing at least one a month anyway!  
+Drive your car longer - yep, have no plans to replace it... please keep running...
+Pay your life insurance annually - okay, didn't know this one either...
+Pay car insurance semi-annually - hey, I knew this one!
+Increase insurance deductibles...  and unless it turns around to bite us in the plush, it's a savings!
+Think twice before submitting an insurance claim - yep, we think twice... all the time.
+Get rid of your home telephone - ummm... yeah, unless you have children at home who might actually need the phone to keep in touch with the real world in the event of and emergency.  In lieu of completely nixing the land line he does suggest reducing the extras (call waiting, etc...)  Yeah, we don't even have long distance on our home phone!
+Consider Internet Phone Service - looked into it...  the one he suggests is 21.95/mo.  My long distance free phone is still cheaper than that!
+Shut vents in unused rooms - "unused rooms?"  umm, I have 5 kids... but we do shut all the basement vents - they'll live!
+Eliminate some cable service... ummm, nothing left to eliminate Mr Money Guru, sorry!
+Agree to limit gift giving - yeah, been there, done that - next...
+Get Healthy.  SO working on it... 
+Cancel your Health Club Membership - ummm, they're going to laugh if I walk in and say I want to cancel... I never joined.
+Pass on extended warranties - never got one of these in my life!
+Take your lunch to work one additional day per week... ummm, yeah, I can't add a day to the calendar dude!
+Buy Low Cost Mutual Funds - umm, no comment - that's math again... not my bag
+Take advantage of employer 401(k) matches.  yep, done it!
+Use flexible spending accounts - good there.
+Get tired from CostCo or Other wholesale clubs... yep, tried that once - until we found out that their "experts" forgot to mention that the tires they sold me would make the 4WD cease to work properly...  maybe we'll try again NEXT time!
+Keep tires properly inflated - well, at least now I won't groan next time Q goes all "proper inflation" neurotic on me!
+Stop Smoking - yeah, great money saver... I'm counting all that additional money already!
+Drink less alcohol - again, less than None?
+Buy Term Life Insurance - done it.
+Buy Generic Medications - gotcha
+Get organized and avoid late payments - I was late on the preschool check last month, I hereby resolve to be better at paying M's preschool teacher!
+Buy online when it saves you money - yeah, I'm a good deal junkie... but rarely do I find the BEST deal online, because I'm rarely shopping for anything that pricy!
+Consider MythTv instead of TiVo... ummm, no DVR here (and no, it isn't Broken too... we just don't have one!)
+Use OpenSource software when available - ummm, free is good - I like free... 
+Check the insulation in your home:  yep, it's there... pretty sure it would cost me an arm and a leg to improve it, but we did seal the windows - that helped... a little.
+Buy energy efficient appliances - yep, when the washer/dryer bit the dust a few years ago - we went energy efficient... but I'm still waiting for the Dishwasher to REALLY die before starting over (I'm sure it will happen soon... stay tuned)
+Stay Married - apparently divorce is really pricy?  umm, I think I have better reasons for staying married than just the $ savings, but it's good to know we're doing the right thing!

Boy - that was more "great ideas" than I'd anticipated... I was thinking more along the lines of "buy generic"  and "turn down the thermostat"...  yeah, my kids hate that we never have campbell's labels to contribute to the school and my hubby refuses to cool below 78 degrees or heat above 70 degrees...  we may live in the desert, but it still gets COLD!

This post sure got whiny fast - sorry, I shouldn't post on a sugar rush!  Basically - The economy is one big scary mess right now - and all the "money saving tips" are just annoying me ad infinitum... I don't HAVE a monthly cell phone contract to eliminate - I don't HAVE a price cable bill to shave - I don't HAVE an addiction to coffee/tobacco/fast food to cut back on - I already cut my family's hair...  Anymore brilliant Ideas?  Really - where are you planning to "trim the fat" as the pennies become thinner?  

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring, and not a creature was stirring

Okay - so the heavens broke open over our corner of the desert last night soaking the lawns and making a muddy red mess of any patch of dirt!  It was wonderful... I lay in bed listening to the pitter pat of the rain on the roof while Q ran and brought in the mattress from the back porch (it was airing out - too long in storage), checked that his car windows were closed, and cranked the umbrella closed on the picnic table... actually I did get up and close the windows of the house - but I didn't run outside for anything.

Now, the pitter pat was a lovely sound - but that lightning and THUNDER was amazing... loud enough to shake the house... I kept expecting little feet to come running into our room - but all of our children sleep like the dead.  Is this a good thing?  

I am reminded of a time (about 6 years ago) when I was suffering from a DOOZY of a headache and because I have a wonderful hubby Q had volunteered to run to the grocery store for the essentials after putting the kids to bed.  By "doozy" of a headache I am saying the type where I would rather be in a closed up dark room with NO sound...  I won't call it a migraine because I have good friends who are hospitalized by migraine headaches, and no - it wasn't THAT bad... but I REALLY needed a break!  Well, Q's off at the store, the 4 kids were all sleeping (even the baby) and I decided that it would be a great time to get a quick hot shower in while Q was gone... (he really hates the foggy bathroom)  So, I jump in the shower and turn it all the way to the hot side...  it felt great - for about 4 minutes, at which point I heard a "chirp"...  which turned out to be the smoke detector...  how do I know for sure?  because less than a minute later the alarms start pealing... loudly.  Wrapped in a towel, my hair dripping wet I run up and down the stairs looking for the source of the alarm - because there's nothing cooking, no smoke in the house - there's nothing downstairs except 2 sleeping boys... so I start trying to de-activate the smoke detectors.  I should mention here that I have never reached 5 feet tall... close, just shy of the mark... so in order to reach any of the smoke detectors I am dragging around chairs.  By this time I have shut off the shower, thrown on a robe, and wrapped my hair in a towel.  Because we'd just moved into this house that month I didn't know a few things - #1 - there are about 20 smoke detectors in this house, and #2 - they are directly hooked into the electricity of the house and do not rely on batteries alone, meaning of course that they are linked and if one of them goes off - they ALL go off, upstairs and down.  And meaning that even if you get on a chair and wrench the idiotic thing off the wall (yes, breaking it a little in the process) and remove the batteries - it will CONTINUE to BEEP!!!  

I finally just opened all the doors to the house, turned on the ceiling fans, wrapped myself in a blanket and lay down on the couch to cry...  The alarms finally did turn off - just in time for Q to come home and wonder why his wife was a complete wreck...  at least he remembered to pick up the Ibuprofen :)

So, why all this reminiscence?  My kids NEVER woke up - Fire Alarms don't phase them, Thunder is like a lullaby and that alarms that is supposed to get T up for school each morning so that he can get ready and off to school WITHOUT begging mom for a ride... yeah, we got the most obnoxious alarm we could find, and it STILL doesn't always work.

So me, I'm just praying for no REAL disasters to befall our household - the kids'll sleep right through 'em!