Saturday, November 20, 2010

Police Wife Chat

I have grown to greatly appreciate and care about all the police wives out in cyberspace as we travel along this crazy road of life together. I keep in touch sometimes better than others. I have also benefited from chatting live with a few of you once or twice.  Would anyone be up for a twitter chat?  Tell me....

1) yay or nay (would you "come" to the party?)
2) what day of the week
3) what time of day (please include time zone ~ try to keep it Eastern if you can)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The benefit of fall is... kids think they should be in bed when it gets dark.  That's a lot earlier than their normal bed time.  And I think I'll be taking advantage of that.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Say it with me now: "I love my life"

Yes, blog friends, say it with me now: "I love my life.  I love my life.  I love my life."

Maybe if I say it enough, type it enough, see it in print.... I'll believe it.  I'll get to that in a minute.  But first, the "No Spend November" update, as BunnyO was asking about in the comments.  It's been.... OK.  I guess I really should have called it "No Frivolous Spend November" because I'm certainly still spending money but it's more on things that are not frivolous and necessary.  So considering I'd want to call it that, I guess it's more just a major cutting back than not spending.  Again, I'm pleased with my efforts to MINDFULLY spend money instead of  seeing something and tossing it in my cart because I can.  I definitely have had days where I haven't spent anything.  I've been trying to be more creative with what's in my pantry, and making do with what I have instead of automatically running to the store to buy something.  It's been good.  But I sure have a long way to go.

Now, I realize that there hasn't been a lot of police activity here lately.  I'm really worn out about caring about all that stuff.  I realized last night that I've shrugged off the label of "police officer" and "police wife" and am focusing more on the crap that is the fallout of the job that my husband has and the shift that takes him way from our home.  The bumper sticker that goes something like this came to mind: "If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention."  That's how I feel about The Job right now.  I'm not paying attention.  Just getting through the day.  So, I'm not outraged.  I can't remember the last time I asked about what happened on shift.  I don't care any more.  If he has some interesting case or some crazy thing that happened I'm happy to listen and ask questions, but otherwise.... whatever.

I think this stems from being stretched pretty thin with schooling, three small kids, illnesses, and my own work that needs to get done.  We were recently together with some relatives and, as all well-behaved adults do, traded a few jabs about our lives.  I can't exactly remember how it started, but of course I'm sure that the HUSBAND did started it.  (yeah right)  lol.  Anyway eventually it degraded to something like this:

me: "Ok, go on home, I'll send the kids with you and I'll stay here"
DH: "Alrighty, good luck getting home then!"
me: "Who said I wanted to go home? It sure would be nice to have a little break!"
DH: [open-mouthed incredulity and death stare]
me: "I know it's really hard on you to be working so much but it's hard for me too"
DH: "At least you work with people you love.  I work with people I can't stand and they aggravate me to no end."
me: "I won't argue that point."

It made it clearer to me that, as I have always suspected, he thinks I have some cushy, easy job sitting around in a bed of roses with all my responsibilities at home.  So last night after the kids were in bed, I said "See ya, I'm going to Target."  He wanted to go instead.  He said "You always get to go and do fun things like that with the kids."  uh, EXCUSE ME??!?  I never get to go out at 9:30 at night while you are at work.  I rarely get to go anywhere BY MYSELF.  I rarely get a quick trip to where ever I want, taking the time I want, to look at whatever I want.  Excuse me?!?!?  I tried to get him to see that taking three kids all over town to do errands is not fun.  One errand, maybe, but your whole life??  He tried to argue with me.  "But I had so much fun with them at the grocery store tonight!"  Yeah, when you are at the store with no real purpose or need to get a huge list of things done, I could see how that is fun.

Me: "Was it fun when Dallas started screaming?"
DH: "Well no.... but after he got picked up he was ok!"
Me: "And then did you go through the checkout line and pay for the groceries while you were carrying him?"
DH: "Well, no, but I didn't even try" [because *I* was paying and caring for the two older kids]
Me: "I would be happy to let you take all three kids to the store and...."
DH: "Nevermind, nevermind, just go, get out of here, go to Target." [wah, wah, wah]

So it's pretty clear to me that the husband has a romanticized idea of what my life is like.  He swears he doesn't, and usually he is pretty good truly understanding.  But.... right now, I think he's hating his job so much that his vision is clouded.  I recommend getting a new job.  We'll see if he ever gets motivation to do that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's the definition of "NO" exactly?

Right, so, I'm at the beginning of "No Spend November" which is, truthfully, going quite horribly.  I gave you a run-down on Day 1, so let me follow up with the last few days.

Day 2: Give me a medal.  Didn't spend a penny!
Day 3: #FAIL
Day 4: Epic #FAIL

To put it in perspective, on Day 3 I did my little trick of returning some stuff ($9.33) and then buying some more stuff ($5.56), with the idea that "net" I saved some money because I spent less than I returned.  I seriously think that's cheating, but it makes me feel better that I'm kind of sort of still a little bit following along.

But that's NOT the point!!  Day 4, fresh off my mild disappointments of Day 3, I realized that my NSN is not at all about not spending money, it's about my attitude behind my spending.  I made that point before, right?  That I want to be GRATEFUL for the things I do have and not spend a bunch of money on things I just "want." 

Now, I'm totally NOT going to go blame it all on my mom (although in most of life she thinks you can always blame everything on your parents) but, I grew up in a house where retail therapy was one of the five food groups.  Seriously.  Fridays were shopping days.  I learned my best math at some big fancy department stores on their "Take an extra 40% off" days.  To this day, although my husband is generally much better at figuring math problems in his head than I am, I will beat him every time when it comes to calculating a percentage off of a product, and what the final cost will be.  I tell you this to help you understand that when I say I use shopping (and, um, food, which we can talk about another time) instead of dealing with my emotions, well, you can see how it's not that far off, and, given my upbringing it makes total sense.  Of course you would do that!

But when I really stop to think about it, I don't like it that way.  I want to go buy something because I need it.  Ok, maybe once in a while I'll just buy something for the sheer pleasure of "wanting it" and then getting it, but otherwise I really only want to buy things because they add value to my life.  And more often than not, I'm realizing that I'm engaging in retail therapy because I'm anxious, worried, concerned, or unhappy about something else that is going on in my life.  Shopping is fun! It makes you feel good! You deserve it! You're worth it! Whether or not all the ads encouraging you to buy, buy, buy make it sound like this, those statements are things our culture subliminally tells us every day.  If we stop long enough to think about what it is we are doing, we'd be shocked.  That's why I love the bumper sticker that goes something like this: "If you aren't enraged you aren't paying attention."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not living in a house that would qualify for a Hoarders episode (yet) and I'm not wracking up thousands of dollars of debt with my purchases.  But I am definitely guilty of saying "Oh, I have a big difficult long day ahead of me, I'm going to treat myself by going out and buying a cup of coffee."  Or visiting the local bakery. Or allowing myself to ________ (fill in the blank).  Instead of actually recognizing that "Ok, this is going to be hard, I have to deal with it" I stuff my face (or my shopping bag) with something and then let the situation just happen.  I should probably just let it happen without the baggage of all the other stuff.

Which is where No Spend November comes in.  I realize that I'm not always that grateful for what I do have, and what I can do.  By trying to NOT spend, I'm recognizing my weaknesses for certain items, times of day, and events in my life where I turn to something else to really satisfy me.  And all this material stuff?  Well, you can't take it with you.  And it doesn't satisfy long term.  It actually creates lots of headache (and heartache, too).

So, I'm back on the trail of gratefulness today.  I'm hoping not to spend any $$, but if I do, I will know why and how and be better for it.  I hope.

What are you grateful for today?  Are you demonstrating it, or just saying it?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oops, I am crazy

Well, Day One of No Spend November went pretty poorly.  Oops!  Of course ~ part of the problem could be that I actually went to Costco.  Doh!  Automatic FAIL.

I bought gas -- total necessity.  Once inside, I spent $70.... on
$10 -- birthday present
$28 -- groceries
$18 -- lightbulbs
$12 -- kleenex
And the rest was tax...??  I hate it when that happens.  I guess I should get out my receipt so I can know exactly where the money went.  **OH, I just remembered kleenex.  Added to the list.

The moral of the story is -- don't go to Costco if it's No Spend November.  lol.  I did skip buying lunch out today when I wanted to try a new restaurant near the park where we were today.  I also skipped putting some splurge items in my cart at Costco.  I guess that's progress!?!? 

As I was walking down the aisles at Costco, I was exercising gratefulness that I could even think about putting all these things which were totally NON essentials into my basket. 

I also pulled out some stuff I bought at Target at 50% off the day after Halloween, and decided to return that.  So.... does that mean I get to spend the money I get on the return?  Hmmm.... Should I follow the spirit of the month or run full speed legalistically ahead?  :)  We shall see.

And we'll see what tomorrow holds! Hopefully, more gratefulness.

How are you grateful today?

No Spend November

I think I'm crazy, but I'm going to demonstrate that I am thankful for what I have this November by not spending money on MORE stuff.  I'm going to try to eat through some of our stockpile.  I'm going to use up some of the gift cards we have laying around.  I'm going to wear (and organize?!?!) the clothes I have instead of buying that "cute" something for the event I'm going to.  (Even if it is just a pair of cute socks.)

You know what I'm talking about.

Some of my friends are only using Facebook this month to post one thing every day they are grateful for.  I decided I'm not going to just say I'm thankful, I'm going to demonstrate it.  At least I hope so.  How are you going to demonstrate that you are thankful?  Words can be powerful, but actions speak even louder than words. 

How will you demonstrate your thankfulness today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cold and Flu Season

It's cold and flu season.  We've had our first cold of the season already.  If you are like my husband, you just use your mind to overcome the bad germs in your body and have no need of any of the fancy remedies or preventive medicines so many folks out there swear by.  So, as usual, I'll give you my cold-and-flu season in LIST form, since I hardly have much more of an attention span than, well, looking at a list.  Without further ado....

Ways to prevent cold and flu this season:
  1. Use your mind to overcome it (wait, that doesn't work for me)
  2. Get crazy about hand washing.  I mean, crazy, crazy, CRAZY.  I ruined my oldest son so much so that he won't do anything before he makes a beeline for the bathroom every time we get home from being out.  But please do it right.  Don't use antibacterial soap, but do use warm water and actually make it count.  scrub!  all over!
  3. Use disposable hand towels (gasp) or assign a "personal" hand towel for each member of the family.
  4. Don't touch your eyes or your mouth.  Ever.
  5. Irrigate your  nose twice daily with a bottled saline solution or a neti pot.  Get those germs out. 
  6. Gargle twice daily with salt water or Listerine.  Gotta kill those germs!
  7. Drink lots of hot water or tea.  The heat kills the germs and washes the really strong ones down into your tummy where your stomach acid finishes the job if necessary.
I started the "personal" hand towel policy last fall when we had H1N1 at our house, and I got bloody, dry, cracked hands from all the hand washing.  However, I was the only one of the five of us here that didn't get hit so maybe I was doing something right.  I just instituted #5, 6, and 7 and I'm even thinking about buying the kiddie versions of saline spray for each of my littles.  We'll see.

Do you have a cold and flu evasion technique that you swear by?  I'd love to broaden my horizons.