Saturday, March 27, 2010

Twenty-Five Years of Spending

Do you ever experience those cringe moments when you look back into your past and remember some of the crazy things you did, say at nineteen, before you learned better? Oh I do. If you look up the word “stalker” in the dictionary, definition number 6 merely reads Deanne in college…, but that’s another story. Today I’d like to share a few cringe moments from my first years of marriage.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in a few days (and for those of you doing the math, I was married at twelve and a half). It’s hard to imagine that our little family of two has since grown into a family of ten with possibly two more joining in before the end of the year.

One of the things that still makes me cringe as I look back over the past quarter century is how many stupid things my husband and I spent our money on. We were an easy mark for salesmen, and if I had a nickel for all the dumb purchases we made, I’d probably have enough too…. Well buy something else.

With a mother and a sister in his family, one would have thought my husband would be a little more prepared for the expenses associated with a woman when we got married. But I remember his unhappy shock during our first major shopping trip together after we’d tied the knot. Shampoo, conditioner, razors, tampons AND pads, nylons, nail polish remover, mascara, moisturizer, lotion, body soup and face soap. He’d never guessed how much money went into achieving the look he’d fallen in love with.

What we also didn’t realize at the time was how much the price to maintain that look would go up the older I got.

Another memory is of a summer afternoon, when a guy with his car trunk full of frozen meat cruised through our neighborhood. The price per pound of the beef was too good to resist and since it happened to be a pay-day we thought this would be a great deal.

Unfortunately once we brought our new purchases into the house, we realized that our little refrigerator freezer just wasn’t big enough to store all the meat, so we opened the newspaper’s classified section and found a great price on a used upright freezer. A few days later we discovered that the reason the freeze had been so cheap was because it had a broken seal and wouldn’t stay cold long enough to keep the meat frozen. In the end we had to throw away most of the meat and the seal-less freezer. Talk about a deal.

Then there was the two thousand dollar set of leather bound Encyclopedia Britannica that every family with children was required to have. By the time our kids were old enough to read, the internet was in full swing, and we ended up using the expensive volumes to support one corner of our family room couch.

According to the salesman, the Silver King Vacuum had a body made out of the same metal as fighter jets, and a motor that could power a large go-cart. It cost twelve hundred dollars but it was an investment because it was the last vacuum we’d ever need. Turns out expensive vacuums don’t last any longer than the seventy dollar cheap-os from Wal-Mart even if they can withstand the air pressure at 40,000 feet.

And how could I forget the free dinner at Denny’s if we would listen to the sales pitch of the wonder high-chair salesman. Yes I said high-chair, but this was no ordinary child’s seat. It could be converted to a small table or a booster seat and used for eating, crafts and time out. It was a large square contraption with adjustable legs and wheels so that you could easily move it around the kitchen or take it out back onto the  patio and hose down when needed.

Unfortunately what it was not designed to do was support the weight of three children who were using it to race down the sidewalk. In the process they hit an uneven patch of concrete that threw them all, including the wonder high-chair into the neighbor’s evergreen bushes. The kids were scratched up, crying and I hope a little wiser… but the high-chair didn’t fare as well and would not, as promised, last us until we had grandchildren.

At least our marriage has withstood the test of time, and perhaps the lesson here is that money will come and go… mostly go, but finding the right guy who loves you last forever.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Life is Like a Water Balloon - no matter how hard I try to get a hold of it, something always bulges out


I am sitting down at the computer preparing to write this week’s blog, and as I finish the title, I hear the timer go off in the kitchen, signifying that the dish washer is done with its cycle.

I get up to open the door so that the dishes will be cool when I go to unload them, and notice that the kitchen table is 90% cleared off, and so I stop and gather up a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a crumpled napkin from its surface. With the scissors, glue stick and crumpled napkin gone, I can now see how dirty the table cloth is, so I remove it. Under the table cloth is a trail of muddy cat paw prints. How they got under there I can’t imagine, but I immediately head to the sink to get a sponge.

At the sink, I remember that the dishwasher has finished its cycle so I pull open the door. I notice the sink is filled with dirty dishes. It won’t take me more than a few minutes to unload the dishwasher and get the dirty dishes inside.

A fork falls to the floor, and as I bend down to retrieve it I see my son’s basketball shoes that are, for no good reason, sitting in the middle of the kitchen. It isn’t like he’d have any reason to shed them right there. He doesn’t even cook. But low and behold that’s where they are. So while I’m down there picking up the fork, I grab the shoes as well and head for his bedroom.

I find the light on and the stereo blasting even though he’s been in school for two and a half hours, and in one corner, behind the door, there must be twenty-five empty yogurt cartons. The kid is going through a growth spurt because he is eating me out of house and home.

I gather up the empty cartons and head back to the kitchen where I notice that the garbage can is beyond full. A pizza container is balanced on the top of an empty milk jug, with another six inches of garbage on top of that. So, I stomp it all down with my food, pull out the plastic garbage bag and head out the back door.

While dumping the bag into the outside garbage can I notice two pairs of socks and a t-shirt sitting on the edge of the basketball standard. One can only wonder if stripping while one shoots baskets will improve accuracy. I gather up the dirty clothing, go back into the house and down the stairs to the laundry room.

In the laundry room I notice that the clothes from the dryer need to come out, the clothes from the washer need to be switched and there are plenty of dirty clothes for a new load. Once I’ve shifted the clothing and started all the machines, I grab a basket of my husband’s work clothes and head up the stairs to the bedroom.

I plan to set the basket on top of the comforter, but the bed hasn’t been made yet, so I drop the basket into the computer chair and proceed to make my bed. Half way through I notice that my feet are feeling kind of cold. I’d been wearing my slippers earlier, but had kicked them off under the computer desk.

So, I take the laundry off the computer chair and set it on the ground, sit down, slide my feet under the desk and into my warm slippers and then notice I’ve only written the title of my blog... now where was I going with this?

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