Friday, December 31, 2010

Two Chances to Save My Money

I need to go to the grocery store.  I got an email today and they have a great deal on party trays.  Sure sounds like a good idea for New Year's Eve, but I'm just not ready to return to the scene of the crime.  Guess I'll cut up some leftover ham and turkey, throw it on a plate and call it a year.

Which brings me to mention a commercial I saw today for a new age-defying skin cream.  This one promises to take off not the standard ten, but fifteen years.  Assuming it worked and the fifteen years came off my chronological age (making me look 37), I might buy it.  But I'm sure the promise is to take fifteen years off the age I look (which, as we learned yesterday, is over 60).  Yes, for $99 a bottle, this 52-year-old woman could like like a woman in her late 40s.  Woo hoo.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Save Your Money

I won't be wasting my money on expensive facial creams and serums any more.  If anything, I'll start a savings account with what I would normally spend on them.  Some day (God willing, very soon), I'll have enough for what I obviously really need--a full-blown facelift.

I got the senior citizen discount today.  I didn't ask for it.  I didn't want it.  It was only 5%.  All that humiliation and I saved a whopping $2.88 at the grocery store. 

I wanted to believe that maybe this particular store gives the discount to anyone over 50.  I'd like to think I don't look over 50.  Well, I've been proven wrong.

According to this store's website, today I benefitted from their "Club 60" senior discount.  Not only do I look over 50, I look over 60.  Dammit, I just turned 52.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Most Thankless (but rewarding) Job For Which I Never Applied

I try not to post things that might hurt someone else (please forgive me when I fail), but today I need to get this off my chest before I explode.  And I guess it's my way of patting myself on the back for a job well done since all I seem to get from everyone else is blame for everything wrong in the world.   I actually wrote this post two months ago when my motives and character were first attacked, but decided not to publish after I calmed down.  Today, those same people decided to twist the dagger that they had stuck in my heart back then.  Enough is enough.  I can't pack up the kids and say to hell with the rest of the world, so I'll just blog about it.  Thanks, Google, for providing my free therapy.

My non-existent self-esteem has taken another hit.  I saw a comment on Facebook that tore through my heart.  For anyone who doesn't know me personally, there is probably no way you could understand why this hurt me so.  Basically, my youngest granddaughter spent the weekend with her other grandmother, who posted about how excited she was to be spending time with her.  A comment was made by another relative that she should have a right to spoil her granddaughter, and that "people" need to realize how much she loves the child and needs to spend time with her. Those "people" could only be my husband and me, who are raising both our grandchildren.  The implication was that we somehow keep our granddaughter from spending time with her other grandmother. The truth is we try to enable both granddaughters to spend time with other family members who care about them.  We both agree that children need all the love they can get.

History lesson:  When my husband and I had our youngest daughter in our mid-twenties, we decided two children would be enough.  By our calculations we would be child-free by our mid forties, plenty of time left in our lives to spend together traveling and experiencing the life we hadn't had the money (or time) to experience earlier.  The plan seemed foolproof.  (Insert your favorite cliche here:  "We make plans and God laughs", "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans", etc.)

Fast forward:  For the better part of the past twelve years, my husband and I have been raising our two granddaughters.  We didn't "take" them from anyone; we simply stepped up to the plate when they needed a home.  For practical reasons we have legal guardianship, and along with that comes legal responsibility.  We have never received a dime in child support or public assistance.  We pay for all food, clothing, shelter, field trips, school lunches, school supplies, medical insurance and expenses, dental expenses (with a hefty bill for braces looming just ahead), etc.  All vacations are for a group of four (beach trips within driving distance aren't so bad with two extra people, but to double the expenses for a ski vacation or a trip to Disneyworld, or any trip that requires travel on an airplane, you're starting to spend some real money).  Almost every dinner out is a party of four (not only does that make it twice as expensive, but it limits our restaurant choices, and it kills any hope of romance).  And no, we aren't rich.  Not even close.  Frugal, yes.  But that's necessary when there are young mouths to feed (not to mention teeth in those mouths that need to be straightened).

Our normal week consists of getting the kids up for school, getting homework done, making sure showers are taken and teeth are brushed, fighting to get kids to bed at night, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, doing mountains of laundry, and on and on.  In addition, the kids have to be driven to sports activities, friends' birthday parties, sleepovers and playdates, school activities, clothes shopping, medical appointments, and so on.  And housework--don't get me started on how dirty kids are.  Then there is the responsibility to provide each child with a birthday party and enough presents that they will feel that their day was indeed special.  Add to that the yearly requirement to make Christmas and Easter memorable for them.  Yes, raising children day-in and day-out isn't easy whether they are your own or someone else's offspring.  Just because you have the title "Grandparent" doesn't make it all fun and games.  Someone has to do the dirty work, and in my case, that would be my husband and me.  And the "guest rooms" in my house are now filled with children's furniture and toys.  A few years ago, we spent a small fortune to finish our basement to give the children a place to play and hang out with friends.  My nicest tv is down there, attached to the Wii I bought to entertain the kids.  Would I have rather spent the money on a new car?  Of course.  Our cars are 13 and 14 years old and spend more time in the shop than in our garage.  But we do what needs to be done.  And if that means we take care of other people's children, we sacrifice to do that.  

There are no scheduled visitations with anyone else.  Any visits with other family members are solely based on when those people choose to fit it into their lives, and we try to accommodate them.  We would never try to keep the children from anyone who loves them.  As a matter of fact, it would be welcomed if someone would just once ask if they could take them for an evening so we could have a night to ourselves.  Frankly, my husband and I can't even shop for Christmas together because we have no one to watch the children while we buy their gifts.  Yes, it would be nice to have the luxury of seeing our grandchildren only when it was convenient for us, just the way God intended.  And it would be nice if the money we spent on them got us some kudos from the kids.  But kids don't appreciate the thousands of dollars spent on necessities.  They only see the "fun" stuff that the others buy them (again, when it's convenient for them to do so, not when a necessity rears its ugly head).  I want to be the good guy for a change, not the disciplinarian.  I want to be the fun grandmother, not the nag who's always reminding them to brush their teeth, pick up their stuff, do their homework, stay out of trouble, etc., etc., etc.

Am I bitter?  Hell, yes.  Would I have chosen to raise children into my 60's?  Well, as I said earlier, I planned to be finished caring for children before my 50th birthday (at least with the day-to-day responsibilities that come with minors).  But do I love my grandchildren enough to take on this job 24/7/365 for the next ten years?  Absolutely.  Just don't blame  me if you don't get to see them as often as you'd like.  If you don't call them every week, or ask to visit more often than you do, that isn't my fault.   Don't expect me to take on the task of ensuring a relationship between you and the child.  I'm too damned busy raising them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favorite Christmas Present

I can still remember the excitement I felt that cold, snowy day in December so long ago.  Mama was about to give birth to her sixth (and last) child, but now I was old enough to truly appreciate having a baby around.  Just in time for Christmas, it was as if I was getting a living, breathing doll to play with. 

Living in the south, we didn't often get snow.  But as fate would have it, the weather decided to turn unusually cold and snowy on the morning my mother went into labor.  Mama knew this baby was coming fast.  She was, by now, an expert on labor and delivery.  Daddy went to start the car but the door locks were frozen shut.  There were several tense moments before someone was finally able to thaw enough ice to get the doors open.  And not a moment too soon.  Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, the baby was born.  As much as my younger brother had wanted it to be a boy, he didn't get his wish.  Yes, he had a fifth sister.  And I couldn't have been happier.

I took my baby sister everywhere I possibly could.  At first, I pushed her around in a stroller.  Later, when I was old enough to drive, I would pack her into the car at night when she wouldn't stop crying, and we'd drive around until she fell asleep. 
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that I was a high school student proudly showing my baby sister off all over town.   Now she has sons of her own, two of them already in high school.  We live hundreds of miles apart, and I don't see her nearly as often as I'd like.  But she'll always be my baby sister.  Even though she's grown into a beautiful lady and a wonderful mother, this will never change.
Happy birthday, Mendi!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week before Christmas + School holiday = Total Insanity

Finally, after 30+ years of child-rearing, I've learned that you must complete every task possible before the children are out of school for the holidays.  This year I actually succeeded.  But some things can't be done ahead of time.  That's where it all falls apart.

Last night I found it necessary to sleep on the floor between my 12-year-old granddaughter's bedroom and the Big Bad World.  (If you don't know what I mean, you've never raised an adolescent child.  Or you've been very, very lucky.)  Being a menopausal woman with an 52-year-old body which includes a still-recuperating ankle, I didn't find the floor a restful place to spend the night.  And today I'm cranky.  Or more accurately, I'm a shrieking lunatic who has a lot to get done.  Having children underfoot all day (especially the one who kept me up last night and is still trying to push all my buttons) isn't helping me accomplish anything.

God sent His son to earth to save my weary soul.  As I prepare to celebrate His birth, let me not forget that.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One Day Only?

I've become fascinated with the concept of the "One Day Only" sale.  Often there's a "preview day" the day before the big day.  Isn't this just a two-day sale?

I'm going to use this idea to my advantage.  When my bitchfest drags into a second day, I'll just say day one was "preview day".  And when I wake up on day three itchin' to bitch, well, I'll just say that due to the successes of "preview day" and "the big event", it's been extended for another day.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Smile, Dianna, It's Your Birthday!

No good deed goes unpunished.  When I visited for Thanksgiving, my wonderful sister, Dianna, gave me a stack of old family photos that she had painstakingly copied.  In  honor of her birthday today (I won't say which one, but I will admit she's younger than me),   I thought I'd post her photo from many years ago. 

Happy Birthday, Dianna! Hope today gives you many reasons to smile!