30 July 2013


I fully and freely admit that I am a tightwad.  Anyone who says differently is selling something. (Which I won't buy.)

This week, I had the arduous task of shopping for school uniforms.  Arduous.  I skipped around a couple of websites looking for one that sold everything I needed for a quarter each.  Evidently, I've been spending a little too much time at yard sales because I couldn't find one.

I decided then to take the list of approved uniforms my children would need to begin the school year and whittle it down to absolute basics.  JUST what they'd need to survive.  I found a website that looked like it carried everything.  I went through blithely carting whatever I needed.  When I checked the total at the end, I died a little inside.


For real.

I almost tapped the screen, wondering if the price would change if I nudged it a little.  I mean, I was buying ugly clothes for three kids, not a fancy half-hat for the Duchess of Cambridge.

I walked away from the computer for a day and a half.  I couldn't bring myself to try again so soon.

So, today, I took my courage in my tightfisted hand and shopped around.  Unless I feel like I'm really getting a bargain, I hate shopping.  Even online.  So shopping around is torture.  I looked on every website that might possibly have approved school uniforms.  I definitely found better deals than I had on the first website, but only if I spent a certain amount of money at each store so I could have free shipping.  Ack.  Can you feel my pain?

Finally, after swallowing the fear that comes from letting money out of my wallet, I got what the kids needed.  Only after I had confirmed everything, did I realize the boys didn't have their ties.  Except, when I went to look, no one had the ties my sons would need.  NO ONE.  No one, that is, but the dratted first website that expected obscene amounts of money for their preppy clothes.

I looked at the page for several minutes, wondering if I had it in me to put anything into a cart that had once requested so much.

Turns out, I don't have it in me.

If you're wondering, my boys will be the ones wearing paper ties the first day of school.

23 July 2013

Better Than Christmas (Definitely Better Than Birthdays)

Today I got a knock on my door.  A perfunctory knock.  A hasty, I-have-business-otherwhere knock.

It was noon-ish and I freshly dressed and had a houseful of my own kids and the neighbors.  My daughter was making cupcakes in the kitchen with her friends.  My sons were playing a game that involved a lot of sound effects and weapons which made them.  My niece floated between groups trying to get one of them to play with her (Poor dear).

I sat on the couch, reading.

When the summons to the door came, my son opened the door and unimpressed, said, "Mom."

I closed my book, my finger marking my place, because I hadn't yet realized what was waiting for me at the door.

The mail lady, having insufficient room in my mailbox, brought my stuff to the door.  I looked at the doorstep and gasped with the effort of holding in my delight.  There, resting as innocently as you please on the sun-warmed cement, were books!  A lot of books!

Four orange packages.  Eight beauteously bound bits of blessings. As I scrambled to get the books into my arms and reassure them that I loved them and would take good care of them, I saw my mail lady walking back to her truck. I yelled, "Thank you!" with so much feeling, I think I made her uncomfortable.

I knelt on my carpet and tore into the packing, excited in ways I haven't been since my last books arrived. The kids all stopped their various activities to see what my deal was.   I am now the proud owner of more stories.

The couch is calling my tush's name and my whole being is crying out with impatience for me to crack a spine already!  I must give in to my bibliophilia.

15 July 2013


Guess what?

I'm going camping again this week and I just checked the forecast.


It just figures.

11 July 2013

One Hold Barred

Have you noticed that as you mature, things that didn't bother you at one time, now do?

For example, I used to play a game called "British Bulldog" every night in the summer months with everyone who would come to our house.  One person would be "it" and stand in the middle.  Everyone else would stand at one end of our rectangular lawn.  The person in the middle would yell "British Bulldog" and everyone would try to run to the other edge of the lawn without getting tackled. If a player got tackled, they also became "it" until everyone was in the middle. I would tackle indiscriminately.  It didn't matter, boy, girl, big, small, I would take them on, and usually get them on the ground.  Because I had skills.  This went on every summer until I graduated high school.

Now that I'm slightly older and perhaps slightly more mature, I don't think I'd play that innocently anymore.

An example of my maturity:  A couple of weeks ago, I was in martial arts and the instructor said we were going to learn a hold called the North/South hold.  *Ahem*  As the instructor demonstrated this take down and hold with a member of the class, I confess to feeling awkward.

I had a thought that went "So, what you're saying is I have to squash my boobs onto a man's face as I try to grab his arms?"

The next thought went "I wonder if that hold would be considered a trial to a man who attacked me.  More like an invitation."

The last thought went "I don't think I'll be using that hold."

So, if you needed proof that I've grown over the last couple of decades, there you have it.  I am indiscriminate no longer.

08 July 2013

First Time Campers

Yay for family reunions!  And I could end my post there.

We had a three day family reunion this last week.  So, over the fourth of July we gathered together to renew the bonds of blood.  My parents, my brothers and sisters, and all our kids.  Wanna take a guess at how many of us there are?  Go on.  Guess.  For whoever gets closest I'll send you some brownies in the mail. (I have to exclude anyone who was actually there.  Sorry.)

For the special occasion, I bought a tent and a lantern and a few sleeping bags.  I figured that, along with lots of water and my food assignments, that was all I would need.  Right?  I mean, it's camping, not moving.

Now I know why so many people bring air mattresses when they camp.  Rocks and roots are not actually all that comfortable.  I also know why there are so few pictures of people who camp.  No running water.  It's amazingly hard to look picture perfect when you're trying to function on three hours of sleep and no good way to spruce yourself up.

What I loved about camping was the rainstorms.  No, really.  It rained on us both nights, but being inside the tent and listening to the rain popping onto the canvas like we were huddled inside a popcorn popper was great.  Also, it's been a really long time since I've slept that close to my children, and there's something reassuring about listening to them breathe as they slumber.

Of course, it was also fun to cook, clean, chat, and play with my brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews.  I don't get to do that enough.  And I look forward to doing it again.