Friday, February 13, 2009

Makes the World Go 'round

Every where I turn someone is talking about money, either directly or indirectly. We're all so consumed with how we spend it. If we're saving enough of it. Where our next dose of it is coming from. Its all money, money, money, lately.

Not surprising, really, with the media shoving recession-fear into our hearts every time we turn on the TV. Its fair to say these are tough times for a good number of Americans, but isn't that true anytime someone loses a job or can't pay the bills?

We are not above the money talk around here. MMA and I have had our own meeting of the minds several months ago to make sure we're on track for today's circumstances and planning for the "what ifs" that could be around the corner. It's not fun to consider scary things like losing a livelihood or medical emergencies. But...

Once you've done what you can to take care of your family, the rest is in God's hands. Not that I want to be a homeless martyr, but every thing we own, including our house, is dispensable. (Did I say that? Crap! I like my stuff.)

Political Commentary

Turn away as needed

So what about this massive stimulus bill?! Can anyone tell me exactly where this nearly 800 billion dollars is coming from? I don't disagree with pumping money into the economy right now, but if its on the condition of printing more and more of an ever-depleting dollar, I need help connecting the dots. Maybe there's an ivy-league economist who can explain it to me.

I'm so cynical about how these things work. How many FAT palms will be greased on the road to helping the average American keep their head above water? We heard very little about the fat that slipped in with this bill, so apparently the media is on board.

(And, it understood in Washington that our days of involvement in the war are numbered and that that money is being quietly diverted back home? Too little coverage has me worried that this economy has created the perfect excuse to speed up the exit plan. What is the exit plan? I pray its not, "we can't afford this anymore, we're out" or worse, a de facto withdrawal that leaves token soldiers behind to be slaughtered.)

Can you tell I love to hate the media's biased coverage of all things political?

It's Hope and Change one day, and Gloom and Doom, the next! My three year old reminds me when I slip up that "hate" is not a nice word. So I love to loath the media...actors who sit behind a desk! Talk Soup has more journalistic integrity than the networks! (Fox, you're no better, you just happen to see things my way.) Its really about advertising dollars, isn't it?

Back on the Home Front

Let's talk about real lives and adapting to the "end of the gilded age" as Nightline dubbed it last week. [Rolling my eyes.]

Well for one thing, my new rule is that I don't pay full price on anything anymore. If it ain't on sale, I can wait. If doesn't go on sale, I don't need it.

Remember my post about turning tricks? I'm pretty proud of this new skill. Some weeks I spend only $40 or $50 on groceries (when the freezer is full and I plan our meals based on my stockpile.) Other weeks I spend the full $100 dollars but those are weeks that I buy wine, stock up sale items or splurge. I don't feel like we're making any major sacrifices, I'm just more careful in general. And I haven't paid for things like toothpaste, toilet paper and shampoo in months by following blogs like MSM and SOC. (These ladies are also in the know about how to get free magazine subscriptions, dinners out, even free undies from Victoria's Secret!)

My new favorite find is and which are paperless coupon sites that allow you download coupons to your cellphone or Kroger card which are automatically applied at the store. You can double dip by stacking the paperless coupons with clipped coupons and that's how you can get things free. Since I started using these sites, my target price for a box of cereal is $1 or less. This is fun for me, don't judge!

I had a reality check around the holidays when I looked at my pantry stockpiled with lots of free or almost free foods that we just don't eat and I had to acknowledge that I'd taken things a bit far. It doesn't matter if I get instant potatoes for 12 cents a box...we don't eat instant potatoes! We donated bunch of perfectly good food and my shopping is now the wiser for it.

One casualty in all of this is spontaneity. I don't call MMA on shopping day anymore to ask what he wants for dinner. I don't buy $5 pints of strawberries just because they look good. We eat what is seasonal and on sale. Meals out are planned. Brand loyalty went out the window, too. I still buy MMA his precious Mach 3 razors, but he has to use them until their dull enough for Only Child to play with, then we recycle them as a toy...Wanted to see if you're still listening.

How is money driving your life these days?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

On Parenting and Marriage

I have taken to antagonizing Only Child for my entertainment. Sick huh? I think I'm doing this out of some sort of passive aggression over his recent demanding behaviour and smart mouth.

He started attending a new MDO in January where he's in a class with "older kids" (4 year olds) and all of the sudden he's telling me off and acting like a brat. Of course, I'm not even considering internal factors from our idyllic home that could have contributed. I'm eager to point the finger at the school, society or someone else's ill-behaved child for contaminating mine. I'm not letting him slide (much) and the constant struggles are wearing me down.

So to infuse a little fun, I started doing this thing where I read his Dora books with a Rosie Perez accent. I get my inspiration from Click the Camera. Only Child gets so mad and hollers at me to "Stop that!" and "No, you're not reading it right! Read it right, Mommy!" Eventually he will snatch the book and slam it closed...He knows there is no "w" in Dora.

Now, I can't stop doing it. I laugh; he gets mad. Eventually he starts laughing, too and then he's mad that I made him laugh when he's trying to be grumpy. I know I shouldn't tease my child, but its so much fun!

The first time I exasperated him with my linguistic-comedic-genius everyone was laughing and MMA was clowning my version of a Puerto Rican accent, claiming it was awful and only sounded right to me (like my singing, then?) He secretly finds it sexy.

One of MMA's favorite Dad-fetishes is the hot little number, Genevieve from Choo Choo Soul. She does five minute fillers between shows on the Disney Channel where she is hip hop dancing and belting out bad kid tunes aboard a make-believe train. Check out her
body of work on You Tube if you're not already familiar.

Dad goes ga-ga for her ticket-taker outfit that makes her look like the featured entertainer at a bachelor party. Seriously, I think it has velcro up the sides. He says she's extremely talented and our son agrees. Our house comes to a complete standstill when Genevieve is on TV.

And, somehow we decided that she was Puerto Rican -- I think on account of the hoop earrings and the accent. So Disney is really onto something that could potentially improve my marriage and my parenting skills at the same time.

I wonder if the boys in my house would listen a little better if I sport some big 'ol...........................................................................hoop earrings.