Tuesday, May 18, 2010

RTT: Household Workouts

Random Tuesday Thoughts is here.

Picking a room today and spending an hour in it.  Clean it, purge it, reorganize it.  I promise to stay in ONE room.

My cleaning style has been go to one room.  Find something that needs to go into the linen closet.  Linen closet could use some work.  Start working on linen closet.  I notice towels are missing.  Hit the laundry room to get towels, laundry room needs tidying up.  Notice floor needs mopping.  Start to mop.  And on and on and on.  All rooms always have that work in progress feel.  Today, ONE ROOM.

Speaking about cleaning.  I've taken a job cleaning a loft apartment in one of the trendier downtown districts.  I usually go every other week. Unfortunately for me, all the surfaces are either glass, stainless steel, stone countertops, slate floors, stone and marble floors.  Altogether a bitch to make it all shine.  It takes me four hours minimum.  I call it my workout.  My body screams at me for days after it.

Speaking of body ache.  I mentioned to Queen Maker that my body really ached from all that "exercise" cleaning that loft.  He says his body aches everyday because of his training and exercise regime.  You mean that this is how you WANT to feel, all the time?  No wonder no one sticks with exercise.

Speaking about getting exercise.  Sister After Me asked me what my free time looked like.  She has access to a lake and wants to buy a raft. She's looking for a partner to paddle around the lake for exercise and fun.  Random thoughts popped into my head.

Panic, life preserver, holes, leaks, shrinking raft, feet not touching bottom, a yellow flotilla of death, shifting uncomfortably to one side then the other trying to maneuver an oar, wet butt.  The usual.

I think I'll pass.

Speaking about passing.  I think it's time to pass the baton to the next blog at UnMom. So visit and read a while.  It's be a workout.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good Sleep Better Than ...

Yahoo!  I SLEPT ALL NIGHT last night.  Didn't get up once.  So, so awesome.

Been a full seven days when sleep has been good and last night was the icing on the cake.

I haven't been here in a few years it seems.  I'm going to guess that there is a "Pause in the Meno."

Yuk, yuk.  I'm making bad puns.  That's how giddy I am.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life in the Slow Lane or I'm a Thriftiholic

Jen at the Spin Cycle is looking for tips and cost cutting measures that we could all use in these tough economic times.  So check out the Spins. It's one of the best freebies you will find. 

My thrifty ways comes from watching my mother stretch my dad's meager paycheck for fifty years.  She hoarded her pennies, made tough decisions, was a master of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and always prayed for forgiveness when she did it.

When I left my job some nine years ago, we had to manage on one income. So I returned to budgeting techniques I used when QueenMaker and I were first married.

1.  No car payments.  We buy only used cars.  Used cars that need only basic car insurance to cover.  No collision or replacement costs.

2. Money envelopes. I am amazed how well this works.  The insurance envelope, the credit card envelope, the taxes envelope, the luxury envelope.  I put a small amount of money in each envelope whenever I can.  In the luxury envelope I deposit only two or three dollars every once in a while. Even if I don't have the whole amount when the bill comes in, but I usually do, this method has been a tried and true friend to me.

3.  Stop going to restaurants.  QueenMaker and I love cuisine and went out to eat at least two or three times a week, plus a breakfast on the weekends.  Now we limit ourselves to once on Saturday because we both work until 1pm.  We are both starving and cranky so Saturday we go for a big lunch.   If a restaurants offers lunch specials on Saturdays, we're there.

4.  A cooperative and trusting partner.  When you are both on the same page it helps immensely.  QueenMaker and I came from the same background, impoverished. We didn't have a thirst for materials things.  Although this might backfire and has for many a couple, QueenMaker used to hand me his paycheck and I handed him an allowance.  In our early years he used to ask, "Can we afford this?"
I admit that he didn't really want to know about finances.  Lucky for him, I was a saver.

One time his mother admonished him for not knowing what I was doing with our money, the little busy body. So finally after six years together, he asked how much money do we have in the bank.  His eyes popped when I said ten thousand.  Well, I was saving for a down payment for a house.  His trust in me was vindicated and he never asked again.

5. Hand me down furniture.  My mother in law and several of my friends feel the need to change out their furniture more often than I think is practical.  Sometimes it doesn't fit right, or what they really wanted was a leather couch, or what was I thinking buying blue when I wanted black.  So I reap the benefits.  I haven't bought furniture in years.

6.  Never buy a cereal unless its on sale.  I never buy a grocery item unless its on sale. Occasionally I may give in and buy something at full price, but it always makes me feel better when I calculate the hundreds of times I've bought the item on sale.

7.  This is a recent one.  I now only take cash when I go to Sam's or Costco's.  I used to spend way too much in these stores.  Bulk buying is a trap.  Going with cash only has saved me hundreds of dollars.

8. No house payments.  I know this is a tough one.  But for the last twelve years, no house payments.  When we bought our house we were disciplined enough to know what we could afford as a monthly mortgage payment, not what the realtor or bank said we could afford. I didn't want the house to own me.  With my aversion to debt and by tightening our belts, I paid the fifteen year loan off in ten.

We never fell for the hype of making our home a commodity, to refinance for extra cash, to use my home as some kind of hidden savings account.  I do have an equity line on the house, but that is for emergencies only.  The bank kept pushing me to take a large home equity line, but I took a line half the value of my home.  Since I don't use it, no house payments.  But it has pulled me out of some tough situations in the past.

9. Driving.  No more multiple trips to the same area.  Shopping trips are planned with multiple stops to cut down mileage.  If I need to go to the cleaners, I hold off until I can hit the bank, post office, and my favorite fruit market.  My husband and I work in the same building.  We used to drive separately because he started an hour or so before me or let an hour after me.  Now I go in with him and utilize the extra time to read or work on a project or take a walk with a dear friend.

So there you have it.  Even without a car and house payment I get stressed about our cash flow which lets you know we are living on very little income as it is.  What's next?  Get rid of my health insurance. We're paying for that ourselves at $500 a month.  Just got word that our health insurance company has just been taken over by the state and may fold.  Yikes, an increase to $700 a month is the cheapest I can find. Got my house insurance bill as well.  It's gone up so that it matches my property taxes.  This just doesn't seem right.

It just doesn't stop, people.  Oh well, belts will be worn tighter this year.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lots of Love There - Mother's Day Number 22

A sublime day.  The day came together in a lovely, almost poetic way.

Maybe it was the fact that I was able to pull off four days straight of uninterrupted sleep.  If this streak keeps up, mental agility and fortitude may return full force.  Always enjoy mental, chemical, joint, and muscular harmony.

Mother's Day.

The sun shined all day.  A mood enhancer for sure.

Took my mother to church. Every pew filled to bursting. Because my hearing is highly attuned today,  my mind is concentrating on the sounds of church. I close my eyes and listen.  There are so many layers of sounds and I listen to the undercurrent.  The sounds of children, the pre-schoolers, the toddlers, and babies hum throughout the mass.  And many times rise above the mass.

I open my eyes and search for them.  I don't have far to look because the pews are filled with them.  Some churches sequester their children to other parts of the church lest they disturb.  But in this church every child is held high by their parents.  Lots of love there. The children's small heads rest on their parent's shoulder. I try to discern boy toddler to girl toddler ratio, but give that up right away.  I'm glad that they are there.  Without them the place is stoic.

After church, Beloved and QueenMaker come by to visit with my mom.  Lots of love as grandmother hugs a grandson she's missed so much.   It makes me so happy to witness the massive amounts of love my child receives and better yet how much he gives in return.  

Beloved is here and now my Mother's Day begins anew.  He will be with us the rest of the day, no matter how long the day.  My heart is filling up.

The three of us together again.  Dad, Mom, Son.  A quiet peaceful comfort descends upon us.  On the ride to my mother in law's house, we reconnect as a family.  The two-wheeler becomes the tricycle again.  

QueenMaker is making dinner for his mom and I am helping him in the kitchen.  Beloved is visiting with his grandparents in the next room.  Lots of love there.

Breaded pork country ribs, salad, baked potatoes, a sauteed vegetable medley that included onions, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, carrots, and lacinato kale.  Dessert was homemade pecan pie.  It was awesome.  Lots of love there.  Okay mostly in one direction as we devour it all.

We end the evening by watching Jeremy Brett in Sherlock Holmes.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this series.

On the ride home we talk about martial arts, chinese philosophy, and the western mindset.  The college student actually had an interesting conversation with his parents.  

The best gift my son gave me today and every time we get to spend time together as a family, is when he says, "Today was a good day." or   "I always feel so relaxed when I'm with you guys." or  "I miss our time together so much sometimes."  

A Mother's Day that fills the soul.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother #3 - Just Doesn't Count

This week's Spin Cycle is all about Mother's Day.  A day I have coveted from afar.

I've been a mother for 23 years come September. And I can tell you that it hasn't been enough.  I've been bemoaning my rather "dormant" status for a few years now. Beloved, a grown person, has grand plans for the future, and they unfortunately have very little to do with his parents.  **sigh.**

Mother's Day - My vision.

The sun streams through the window and illuminates the ivory satin sheets on my bed.  The smell of coffee and bacon wafts under the bedroom door which serves to rouse me further.  The sounds of breakfast are coming from the kitchen.  I hear my husband's voice kidding with the kids (I wanted three) as they make breakfast makes me smile.

Soon everyone is in the room showering me with kisses and lots of "I love you mommy" hugs.  After breakfast we laze in bed together talking and deciding what we will do to commemorate this wonderful day.  I look forward to a Sunday where I get to do and enjoy whatever I want.

I'm running through a field of wildflowers with my children. A picnic lunch is set up ahead in a clearing under a tree.  Ice cream will be involved at one point.......

Screeeeeeeech!  Snap!  Flip, flip, flip.  Stop the film.  Editing!  **sigh**

Ladies and gentleman I am what you would call a third mother.  In a family dominated by strong women and a few weak ones, a mater hierarchy has been established.

Numero Uno - My Mom.

Deux - My Mother In Law

Third - Me.

Mother's Day is a Sunday like any other.  Take my Mom to church.  Run home pick up hubby and child and return to my Mom's for loving big family get together to honor our mother, then off to my mother in law's (an hour drive) to honor her motherhood.  A very long day.

In the past, I have warned both these women that one Mother's Day, I will stay home all day to celebrate my motherhood.  But it was a bluff.  I never did it.  I no longer care about my position on the mother totem pole.

Numero Uno and Deux are getting up there in age and the Mother's Days with both of them are becoming more and more dear to me. So off I go to buy a corsage for mom to wear for church and a miniature rose plant for my MIL.  Have a great day you mothers.

So go to Sprite's Keeper for more spins about the whole Mother's Day experience.
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