Cheap is as cheap does

I consider myself to be cheap, but only when I want to be. If there is something I really want, I can justify the expense in any number of ways. However, there are also things that I really don’t like spending money on. Ironically, they are things that I typically use every single day.

Two of the things I detest spending money on are towels and sheets. Some argue that sheets are never something to skimp on. I have never spent more than $30 on a complete set of sheets for our queen sized bed. I don’t sleep well at night and you would think that I would do anything I could to ensure a good night’s sleep, but if I spent $600 on some sheets, I guarantee that’s not going to help me sleep.

Towels are next on the list. Again, I have heard all the hype about big fluffy towels. Hell, they make all kinds of commercials with kids and stuffed bears falling in them, but I am not a fan of big fluffy towels. The fluffier the towel, the longer it takes to dry my body. I really don’t feel like they absorb well – they’re too busy being all soft and cozy to do their real job. Pretentious towels. I buy my towels at Walmart for $2.50 each. They are awesome. They’re white so I can bleach them and they are really absorbent. I have had the current set for about 4 years and they’re still going strong!

Every morning when I get up, I check my email and Facebook accounts. After that, I have about 10 discount shopping/deal sites that I look at. I’m not looking for anything in particular, I just like to see what’s out there and if I happen upon a good deal, I just may buy something. I came across these great deals this week. Both of these could be yours for $9.99 each. You can thank me later.

The little iron reminds me of the skit from SNL with Will Ferrell and the tiny cell phone.

You’re HOW old?

A phrase heard all too often today has to do with age and how Age X is “the new” Age Y. There are a few things that really bother me and they typically center around cliché phrases. Just last weekend I shared my disdain for the expression, Everything happens for a reason. I don’t like to say I actually hate anything, but I hate it when people say this to me. I know it’s a way for people to cope when something bad has happened, a way to find some good in a presumably horrible situation. However, if it were me, I would prefer someone to just say “Wow, that sucks!” Because you know what? It probably does.

Back to this age issue. I am 34. I’ll be 35 at the end of July. Am I ashamed of my age? Of course not. Who would be ashamed of being in their mid-thirties, or any age for that matter? The first time I heard this was during an episode of Sex And The City. It was sometime in the late 90’s, I would have been in my 20’s and Carrie Bradshaw said 30 was the new 20. If that was the case, how old was I? 10? Please, no! I don’t want to go through puberty again!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intent behind the phrase, but what is the obsession with trying to be something you aren’t? For me, there is nothing better than someone assuming that I am younger than I am and then getting to reveal how old I really am. It’s not often that I get mistaken for being in my 20’s anymore. If I do, it’s usually because my husband is with me (he is always assumed to be younger than his age), or it’s a waitress trying to get a big tip.

I hope to embrace all of my upcoming ages as gracefully as I can. And along with those numbers, accept the titles that will hopefully accompany them. I read an article a friend had posted on Facebook this morning about grandmothers not wanting to be called Grandma. This is again something that perplexes me and yes, is a source of some irritation. Since when is “Grandma” a bad word? If someone is shocked that you are in fact a Grandma, isn’t that a compliment? Aren’t they really saying, “Holy Shit! Not only do you have a kid, but your kid has a kid too? Well done!”

I understand that some names are tradition or the result of a toddler’s mispronunciation. I’m not referring to those instances. In fact, those names can be quite endearing – even more so than the real title of Grandma. I met a woman in a park a few years ago who was playing with her great granddaughter. The little girl kept calling her something and I couldn’t quite understand what she was calling her. I asked the woman and she said “She calls me “Great” because Great Grandma was too much for her to say.” I loved that. How fitting and well earned, in my opinion.

Many of these women say they don’t “feel like a grandma”. Really? You want to go with that? In my mind, the title of “grandma” doesn’t depict age, afterall, I’m sure there are some grandmothers who are my age or possibly younger. Instead, I think of my own grandma and how she fit into that Grandma roll perfectly. She was barely 50 years old when I was born, but all I have ever gotten from her were hugs, kisses, candy, presents and love…lots and lots of love. She is the epitome of Grandma! Here was a woman fully embracing her roll as Grandma and she was only 15 years older than I am right now. My children get to experience that same love and they aren’t getting it from Nana, Meemaw, Poopsie or Bubbles. They are getting it from Grandma(s). Wear your Grandma Badge with pride!

Grandma, Me

Great Grandma

Kamryn

UPDATE: I found a relevant little nugget on one of the blogs I follow. She must have read my post because even in her super creepy song, she’s still calling herself Grandma. Well done, though slightly disturbing.

May = Milestones

Today is a pretty big day for our family. Both kids have achieved milestones in the past 24 hours that are evoking newfound freedoms. Kamryn has accomplished something that some adults never learn how to do. My baby girl has learned to swim. In 2 short weeks, she has gone from floaties to breast stroke. I couldn’t be more proud of her and I don’t think she could be more proud of herself. In celebration, our friends have offered to throw her a little pool party. The party has been the looming motivation that kept Kamryn working towards her swimming goal…that and the $4.00 Tangled lip gloss she was promised upon completion of the lessons.
Rory, on the other hand, has pulled off a feat in his own right. The boy has learned to open a door. Now, I know some of you may not think this is a big deal. It’s just a natural progression of increasing motor control, strength and I guess, height. I remember I couldn’t wait for Kamryn to figure out how to turn a doorknob. I even considered changing the knob on her bedroom door to the lever type to make it easier for her to open. This never crossed my mind with Rory. Rory likes to explore. One of his favorite things is to play with water. It doesn’t matter where this water is or, *cough* what color. The indoor waterpark was easily controlled by simply closing doors. Childproofing doors or even the toilet isn’t an option since Kamryn needs to be able to get in there to do her business.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect, but as I was feverishly typing away, the following ensued:
Ryan (Looking towards the hall): “What is on your head!?”
Me (thinking): Please be a hat, please be a hat, please be a hat…
I didn’t even know what child he was talking to, but slowly emerging from the hall, I saw my Little Buddy.
Me: Time for a tubby.
Rory: Yay!!!

I have a confession to make…

That’s me, circa 1988 or 89. It was my 8th grade year and I had just entered into the era of thinking I was super cool. I mean, check out the black mock turtleneck and the silver chain. I know I don’t need to draw attention to the awesome hair, that speaks for itself. I don’t think I look that much different today if you can get past the hair color and style, the dark circles that have become a permanent fixture under my eyes, the teeth which have been veneered (twice) and as my daughter pointed out, I’m wearing different earrings. That was Missy’s (my nickname for her) reason as to why she didn’t know who this person was.

If I think back to my 8th grade year at St. Lawrence, I can almost agree with Missy. I don’t know that girl either. I did something that year that I think about every once and awhile and when I do, my heart beats faster, my face gets flushed and I am ashamed. In fact, it almost makes me nervous to post about it, but I’m hoping it will be therapeutic. There is only a small number of people that know this story – I may have shared it with my bookclub in a wine induced confession.

In 8th grade, we were given the names and addresses of kids that wanted pen pals. I always thought having a pen pal would be the best thing ever. I had this fantasy of exchanging letters for years and then meeting face to face one day and being just the best of friends. I sent 2 letters. One to a boy named Pedro in Spain and another to (let the shame begin) a girl, whose name I can’t remember in France. Pedro never responded. I gave up on any hopes of a European romance after about a month. The girl from France however, did respond. She asked that I send her a picture and she would do the same. I replied with all kinds of questions for her and my most recent picture. I was completely fascinated with their school system for some reason. A few weeks later, I got her response. Not only did she enthusiastically answer all of my questions, but she told me I was pretty and that she loved my hair.

Enclosed in that foreign envelope, with stationary that looked like purple graph paper, covered in writing that had a slightly different cursive script and ink that looked like it was from a fountain pen, was a photo. She had very thin, mousy brown hair. It was straight, parted in the middle and cut in a bob to her chin. Her face was round with red, full cheeks. She wore glasses with thick brown rims. I stared at that photo for a really long time and the thought that entered my mind was I can’t be pen pals with this girl! She isn’t pretty! In my small, 13 year old, conceited mind, she had ruined my pen pal fantasy. How dare she! I was actually mad! I could have responded and told her that our long distance friendship was over before it even really started, but I did not. Instead, I never responded to the letter. Ever. I got one more letter from her and I must have blocked its contents from my mind because I knew what I did was horrible and I was embarrassed.

Here I sit, over 20 years later, and I still feel like an ass. I have children who I would be mortified if they ever treated another person like I treated the little girl in France. And I’m sure my own parents would be equally disappointed had they known what I did. What I wouldn’t do to be able to find that girl today and apologize. I’m sure she doesn’t even remember the rude American that never responded to her letters and would probably think I was crazy. She obviously moved on – it’s not like she was sending me letter after letter begging for my friendship.

No wonder the French hate us.