Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Frugal Girls Fail

This is a pre-Tessie post. Pre-Blake and Ellie. Hell, even pre-being a grown up in a way.

I was married and had moved into the house that my hubby had built with his own two hands, which, as fate would have it, was right next door to my best friend and her husband.

We thought were so grown up. So married. So ready to have kids. So going to have the perfect houses, cars and lives. So everything that comes with twenty-one year olds getting married.

In other words, so delusional.

But I digress. When my best friend struggled to conceive a baby which eventually led to adoption, I was there cheering her on. And when the day finally came that she brought her daughter home, I was so thrilled for her.

I also may have made a few "prank" phone calls to her house that summer when the breeze was just right and I could hear her baby crying through the open windows. Something along the lines of, "Can't you shut that kid up" then hanging up the phone and laughing at my own hilarity comes to mind but who really remembers the minutia from so many years ago?

It was also around this time that my bestie and I concocted the brilliant plan of becoming the best housewives, and for her, mother, in the world because we had decided together, without the hubbies even being made privy to it, that we needed to tighten the old purse straps. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses (which was really each other), live within our means, become the frugal girls we knew in our hearts we were destined to be. How happy we would make our hubbies! How proud would they be to tell other men of their frugal little wives when other's cried out in distress at their wive's frivolous spending habits. The plan had no downside! What could go wrong?

The day the bubblegum pink stroller arrived it was as if the angels had descended from Heaven and were singing especially for us. There even seemed to be a special glow surrounding that fabulous pink stroller. It was probably God smiling down in all His infinite Glory and letting us know how awesome that  stroller was and how awesome my friend was for not falling into the trap of buying a quality expensive item like the Emmaljunga carriages all the other women were wasting their money on for their babies. No sir. She was a good wife. A frugal wife. And her little baby would do just fine in a stroller that cost three hundred dollars less than those fancy schmancy ones.

This isn't the exact one but imagine some swivel wheels on it and it's pretty dang close


We decided to take the little bundle of joy in the bubblegum pink stroller out for a nice walk. It was a gorgeous spring day and we were in high spirits as we set off from the driveway of my house.

We got about fifteen feet when something seemed a bit amiss with the stroller. It wasn't going straight.  It kept wanting to veer off to the left. We reasoned that it was because those cheesy small, plastic wheels could not get good traction on the bumpy, gravelly road.

We went about another ten feet when I realized the problem was not the tires. Well it was, but one that could be very easily and quickly remedied. You just had to push down on the tire lock so they would stay straight and not swivel all around thus making pushing the stroller an act of total frustration and anguish.

I did not tell the bestie of my discovery. No...I let her struggle with that stroller for about another fifty feet before I became alarmed that she might actually flip the baby out of it. By this point she had the stroller facing in the opposite direction of the wheels so that it was sort of crab walking sideways as she tried with all her strength not to let it slip off into the ditch. And she might have been swearing. And sweating. Profusely on both counts.

For my part, I was laughing like a loon. We are talking hysterical, bend-over-hold-your-knees-and-cry kind of laughter. Until one wheel started to lurch off into said ditch and I thought for a split second, "I may have let this go on a little too long for my own amusement."

I quickly grabbed the stroller and bent down and locked in the wheels. She was overjoyed and I was pretty much her hero until I confessed that I had discovered that little secret trick a ways back. To her credit, she let me continue walking with them and even laughed herself once she stopped being mad at me.

She stuck with that piece of shit longer than any person could reasonably be expected. The stroller too. *badumbum*

The pretty, forest green Emmaljunga carriage arrived about a month later.



The hubbies were none the wiser at our failed attempts at being frugal.

Monday, August 13, 2012

TV Connoisseur

I love television.

 Love. It.

I love the distraction it provides, the entertainment, heck, sometimes I have it on simply for background noise as I read a book. It runs constantly in my house. Silence is definitely not considered golden around here.

Except for the hubby. He dislikes the TV. Really dislikes it in fact. He would very happily live without a TV in the house and has even gone so far as to hint at getting rid of it. And by hint, I mean loudly state how sick he is of it and if it were up to him, it would be gone.

It's like he is speaking in tongues. I just don't understand him.

I mean, NOT watch reruns of Friends, Will& Grace, The King of Queens, Wings or my beloved Little House on the Prairie?!?!?



No Real Housewives of....(pick a city; for me it's New Jersey and New York), no The Voice, Glee, Barefoot Contessa, or Dance Moms?!?!?

No movies that you have seen a hundred times already but are much more exciting and special because they are airing on television?!?!?

You're talking crazy!

I cannot even begin to fathom a world without my "precious", um, I mean TV.

Then there is the fact that I am literally stuck home when I am alone with Tessie. Which, let's face it, is often and while you may be thinking, "There are plenty of things she can do at home other than watch TV.", hear me out.

I am not a crafty girl. I can knit a scarf as long as you don't want any semblance of a design in it or I can whip out a mighty fine dishrag, though again, it is literally a knitted square with no hint of  style. And holes, you must overlook the inevitable holes that will end up somewhere in there. I cannot sew. I do own a sewing machine because I had really great intentions of learning how to sew but alas, not for me. I don't paint, scrapbook or take amazing photographs. I do buy all the necessary equipment to be able to do all of these things because in my heart I am an awesome crafter just bursting with creativity but the reality is, the money would have been better spent on, oh, I don't know, food or bills or something not very fun or crafty such as that.

And thanks to chronic back pain, I don't tend to go all crazy with the house cleaning as it only ends up leaving me in miserable pain. Besides, that's why I have Blake and Ellie. *snicker*

I'm a pretty good cook, that is when I can get to the store to buy the groceries, but it is hard to go into the kitchen and leave Tess is in the other room where I can't see her. Tess must be watched constantly. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" (see, a handy dandy quote from a little movie called Harry Potter which was on TV all weekend). As in, barely able to leave her to go to the bathroom. And showers? If I am home alone with Tessie, forget it. Too big a risk to leave her alone so I wait for someone else to be in the house to sit with her. Sometimes I am forced to risk it and leave her alone in order to shower but as a general rule, the anxiety this gives me just isn't worth it.

Also, I need the distraction that these shows provide in order to get out of my head and the constant worries over all things Tessie related. And trust me when I tell you, in the dead quiet is when those worries start to really take root. Nobody benefits if that happens.

So that leaves reading and television. In truth I tend to prefer a good book but don't always have one on hand so TV it is.

Plus, when you watch a lot of TV, you are always ready with a kick ass comeback line for any situation that may befall you. Like the line I used above from Harry Potter. But wait, there's more...

Ran out of gas on the freeway? Perfect response might be from Oh Brother Where Art Thou: "Damn, we're in a tight spot!"

                                                  damn, they're in a tight spot!

Dropping in on friends for the night but don't want to appear to be too needy? You could always come up with that winning line from Christmas Vacation: "We didn't come to impose."

                                               They didn't come to impose.....


Sick of someone always butting into your business with their unsolicited advice? "Get a hobby!" spoken to Jill by Bethenny on Real Housewives of New York would shut them up in a hurry.

                                                  She needs to get a hobby!


Or when something unexpected happens you can whip out, "Oh for Heaven's sakes!" in the same voice as Harriet Olson on Little House on the Prairie. (You totally just did that in her voice, didn't you?)

                                                       Oh for Heaven's sakes!



So, really, TV is helpful on many levels.

Yes, I could be called a couch potato. I prefer to call it a TV Connoisseur.