Friday, June 25, 2010

Who Needs a Budget Anyway?

I used to be fairly good at math.  Really, I was.  I was never a mathematician, but even now I can still do Algebra.  I can also figure out a tip in about five seconds, and I'm pretty good at sales math too.  What's sales math, you ask.  Well it is just as it sounds.  If a pair of shoes was originally 62.99 and now it is on clearance for 75% off, but you also have a coupon for an extra 10% off, well I can do that math right there while holding the shoes and no calculator.  Obviously, without the motivation of new impractical footwear, I still am no mathematician.  Like I said, I used to be good at math.  Recently, it has been increasingly difficult to keep a budget of any kind. 

Hubby used to physically hand me his receipts every day and expect me to run and balance the checkbook at that very moment. Hahaha, did he not know me at all?  Just to be perfectly clear I have never been, I am not now, nor will I ever be that kinda gal.  It goes along with things like I am much better at folding laundry than putting it away, and I'll clean the house but you clean the van, and I'll keep those stupid cats fed and watered but I will not scoop the poop.   If I made it all my responsibility along with having to keep the kids  and everyone fed, healthy, and peaceful, then I would have a gaping bleeding ulcer instead of just mind-splitting migraines.  So, over time we developed a simple system.  He would put his receipts in an envelope and at the end of the week I would balance the checkbook.  This would work out great until he would bring me receipts that were weeks old and then, well, let's just say it wasn't good.  Recently, I decided to forgo checks wherever possible.  This works out great for me as I am in control of the actual checkbook.  I blurt out spending guidelines periodically as needed, depending on who has to see what doctor when, and how many co-pays we will need per given pay-period.  This is not tough stuff, tedious yes, difficult not at all. 

This routine worked for a long time, sort of.  Unfortunately, Hubby seems to be having some momentary lapses with increasing frequency.  I no longer get receipts.  This doesn't bother me as I check our account almost daily this time of year to keep things running smoothly.  Now, apparently, he is having some doubts concerning my grocery shopping abilities.  He won't come out and just say things.  Nope, he just kind of does things.  

Two days ago I called him on his way home from work to ask him if he could stop by the store.  He said I had to have a list that was no more than four items long.  Really? Fine.  His reasoning was that since he couldn't write it down, it was all he could remember.  Fine. I didn't mention that I actually emailed him a list of seven items fifteen minutes prior and was really calling to see if he got it.  After all he's fused with that Blackberry and could have just checked it once he got to the store. But since he wants four, I chose the necessities; toilet paper, milk, salt, and bread.  

This is where things went a little wonky.  See, on a whim I said "oh, if you remember, I would really like something carbonated".  That made five things, one of which was very vague.  I should have just asked for a Coke, or a Sprite, or anything in particular.  My kids tell me I'm a "coke addict" (this causes stares and sideways glances when blurted out in public, yay me).  It doesn't take much to know that Coke is my favorite soda, then Sprite Zero, followed by Sunkist.  The man knows this very well.  He replied, "anything? and that is more than four items".  Then it started. 

It takes a good forty-five minutes to get home in rush hour.  I called him ten minutes after he was to leave work.  We were on the phone until he got to the store down the street.  Yeah, I wasn't the one driving and talking and he refused to stop talking and hanging up would just have lead to more talking, which is usually my thing, but no (how's that for a run on sentence.)  Our conversation went like this:

Hubby:  "Anything?"

Me:  "No, not anything. You know what I like pick something".

Hubby:  "Does beer count as carbonated?"

Me:  "Really? No, and I didn't ask for beer.  You know I don't like beer"

Hubby:  "Mountain Dew is carbonated". (I think he threw that in there because of my nephew, please see previous post for further explanation)

Me: "What? Ew, no.  You know I don't drink that either. Look, don't bring me any nasty crap that you know I won't drink just because it's carbonated".

Hubby:  "But you said 'something', and Mount Dew is a something.  How about Dr. Pepper?"

Me: sarcastically sweet,  "I'm sorry, but it seems that I might have confused you.  Let me rephrase. Please Darling, if you remember, could you pick up a bottle of Coke"?

Hubby:  "Well, that's different.  That time you were specific.  So, if I bring home Coke Zero-

Me: exasperated, "No, Coke Zero is not Coke, Diet Coke is not Coke, Cherry Coke is not coke and Grape Fanta is NOT Coke.
Hubby: laughing, "it's okay Honey, all you had to do was say you wanted a Coke in the first place"

Me:  "Now I need two packs of wine coolers too, and I've already emailed you another list that has both the coke and the coolers on it, and before you ask, each bottle does not count as a separate item, and no I don't want one of every flavor.  I would like one strawberry pack and on screwdriver pack.  If they do not have one or the other please call me from the aisle while looking at the wine coolers and I will tell you if they have something I like.  Please do not, I repeat, do not under any circumstances choose a flavor of wine cooler for me that is not on that list"

Hubby:  "Are you mad at me"?

Huh?  I should have just told him that I emailed the list in the first place.  Perhaps I should mention that it had been a particularly trying day and I was a bit testy to begin with.  A coke would have made it all better.  I wasn't so lucky.  Just so you know, I wasn't yelling at the poor man, I just wanted to smack him a little silly is all.

When Hubby got home, he brought in the wine coolers and came to me with one cold and already opened. Okay, I know wine coolers are lame by way of alcohol, but if I steal away for five minutes to drink one in peace while hiding from my kiddies and my apparently very annoying husband, then I am invariably in a better mood due to the peace not the coolers, which means that I can tolerate my beloveds once again.  While I hid in a dark hole praying that no one would find me for those precious moments, Hubby brought in the rest of the items and was kind enough to put them away.  That was his way of saying, "Sorry, my bad", when he saw that I was really irritated, as evidenced by my glaring look, my rolling eyeballs, and my silence.

The man, in a very misguided effort to appease his angered queen (What? I could be a queen), thought he would save me from having to go shopping for a few more days.  He bought a lot of stuff.  Unfortunately, most of it was stuff that I don't usually buy, especially in the summer when the kids are prone to snacking all day.  I opened the pantry to find every space on every shelf filled with whatever was on sale two for one.  I'm all for a sale, but...can you say MIGRAINE?  In his defense, he did buy a weeks worth of meats.  Unfortunately, he bought four boxes of frozen waffles, ice cream, and eight packages of frozen mashed potatoes.  I have never bought frozen mashed potatoes as I am very particular about my mashed potatoes and nothing tastes like homemade.  So, now we are overflowing in freezer food and sugary snacks, and I still have to go to the store tomorrow because we need some vegetables so our kids don't turn into little tater tots.

All I can do is say, "Thank You", and point out all the good things he bought.  For if I would show anything but gratitude, he would never go shopping for me again and I just can't have that now can I?  I suppose it will be Cocoa Pebbles, and Fruit Loops for breakfast for awhile, interspersed with toaster waffles.  At least I can sleep for an extra half hour with not having to cook in the morning.  Needless to say, I don't have that particular receipt yet, but my shopping budget was just shot out the window.  I don't think I will be getting those shoes after all and we need new lawnmower blades that the store is ordering for him.  Gee Hon, thanks for telling me before you ordered them.  I hope we have a wine cooler left...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Dew" Kids, Veggie What?, and Family Fun

On my to visit my family I pondered how the next generation has grown, and is growing.  I thought of my niece, the first of my parents grandchildren.  She has always been amazing and headstrong.  Unfortunately, the strong will of hers tends to ride the the crest of the waves that accompany the teen years.  At eighteen, she knows everything and can't be told anything.  Her story will be written by her hand.  She has the same sweet heart at her core, but finding her way back to herself will probably be a bumpy ride, even for a great kid, oops...woman, like herself.  Now that she has graduated, and is under her own control instead of the perceived iron thumb of her Mom, life will teach her its lessons and we will be their to watch her rise and pick her up if she should stumble.

My nephew, who recently turned vegetarian bordering on vegan, well, that boy needs some help.  I can understand wanting to be healthy.  I can understand not wanting to assist the progression of animal cruelty by buying the products made with animals in less than ideal conditions.  I had to bring him a bunch of eggs from my wonderful free range chickens.  I had to pack them so they wouldn't get jostled around on a five hour road trip.  I was happy to do it.  After all, he was so excited to get these eggs, and I'd do it again.  Gladly.

Yet, after I get the cruelty of commercially grown egg layers speech, the boy eats all kinds of cheese.  Cheese that, potentially, comes from cows that are held in similar cramped and cruel conditions, and he drinks milk without a second thought.  So, through this, I realized a few things.  First, I apparently am an all or nothing kind of gal.  If I'm so against cruelty to animals (I do not condone animal cruelty in any way) that I boycott one item, then I would have to boycott anything associated with it even remotely.  I could not go veggie, I would have to go vegan.  I pointed out the flaws in his theory and he just rolled his eyes and stormed off.  I doubt he'll give it a second thought.  In his eyes, I'm just another silly grown up.  Then again, he could decide that he can give it all up and go back to meat, or my sister could kill me in my sleep for turning him vegan and thus make living with him unbearable.

I love you Sis, please don't duct tape me to a chair blindfolded and force me to eat tofurkey and soy ice cream.  (I am on my knees, hands clasped together and begging for a lighter sentence)

Did I mention that I love you sis?

Then again, this is the same manchild who thinks he's grown.  He is almost seventeen.  He is in full rebellion of authority.  He still loves ME, therefore I must not be an authority figure.  Hmmm, I just realized that I fall into that category of adult that he thinks is docile and useless, not so sure I like that very much.  Well, at least he still talks to me.  What more could I ask for?  Oh, I know!  I could ask for the boy to get clue.

My dear, sweet little nephew, who thinks he's a man.  Has apparently lost all of his marbles.  Wait, how many marbles did he have to start with?  I suppose it doesn't matter, as he still has none now.  To be full of hormones and charisma, the world is his oyster.  Unfortunately, he is high on clams.  Yes, by clams I mean the girlie kind.  My little baby nephew, the one once known as Bubba because he was so chunky and cute, the one who wanted nothing more than to suckle until he practically started kindergaten, has grown into a HO.  Not a wanna be ho, nope, a full on slutty girls calling him in the middle of the night kind of ho, girls screaming his name at his sisters graduation kind of...HO (imagine that last one sung in the 80's 'Hey, Ho, Hey Ho' style).  Oh, he's so proud, the silly boy.

As Hubby and I are taking my sister and niece out for a celebratory dinner, I learned a little something that was disturbing, hysterically funny, and oh so sad all at the same time.  Did you know that Mountain Dew has spermicidal side effects as do skinny jeans?  Apparently, one day as my dear nephew got into the car with his friend and my sister, he had the world's largest Mountain Dew in hand.  When asked why on earth he would get such a gargantuan Mountain Dew, my sister was regaled with this knowledge quite enthusiastically.  Just to be clear, MOUNTAIN DEW AND SKINNY JEANS IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT BIRTH CONTROL!!!

Wait a second...okay.  Sorry, I had to stop laughing.  What on Earth is that?!  Do teenagers today actually believe this nonsense?  Well, in his defense, if he would keep it zipped up in his skinny jeans, well, that would be birth control.  Oh, on the flip side, Dr. Pepper is suppose boost sperm count.  Yeah, fertility by soft drink...someone was very, very high to think this mess up.  I wonder if the high rate of teen pregnancy correlates to this street knowledge of how the body works?  Hmmm...My guess is that years ago some stupid kid really liked Dr. Pepper, and really, really liked sex.  Since, he could only afford either a six pack of Dr. Pepper or a three pack of condoms, decided that his thirst was stronger than his need for a piece.  He must have underestimated his lack of will power.  Anyway, nine months and six kids later, he deduced that his virility was due to the fact he drank so much Dr. Pepper.  At the same moment, one of his friends realized that all he drank was Mountain Dew and he didn't have any kids.  The word spread like wildfire.  Who needs condoms when you can "Do the Dew".  What they failed to realize is that the other kid, the Dew kid, couldn't get piece if he paid for it.  So, was it the Mountain Dew or his virginity that kept him from being a teen Daddy?  Hmmmmm?  Anyway, this theory grew into street fact and years later, there's my nephew, in his skinny jeans with his ginormous Mountain Dew.

Don't worry folks, Hubby and I got him a box of condoms with spermicidal lubricant.  Yeah, now, he can blame it on the Mountain Dew if he wants to.  I can rest easy knowing that STD's and the next generation of "Dew kids" has been prevented, at least in our family.  Unfortunately, I will never look at skinny jeans the same way again.  He wears them, I laugh in his face.  I'm still laughing at the thought.  I'll still be laughing in twenty years when he's married and has kids.  He can always count on me to bring this story up when I meet his girlfriends (if he ever thinks enough of them to bring them home...HO), or when I see his regular friends, or to all of my friends and apparently the whole world.

I put this in cyberspace as a Public Service Announcement.