Sunday, March 23, 2014

Not exactly productive (but maybe it depends on the perspective/perception)

For about four years, J and I would visit my mom approximately every other week (not counting that bad/sad/dark period when my mom was ill and living many states away). Since I worked only sporadically and am close to my mom, it was pretty easy to have frequent visits. During that same four-year period, I would also go to multiple grocery stores most weeks, to get the best price on things. Particularly during the school year, when I had many hours most weekdays to myself, it just made sense. Plus, for some odd reason, I get a rush when I combine double coupons with a sale at one store and then price match with two or three different circulars at another store.

When I went back to work full time last April, I tried to continue to do those very things. But eventually I realized that I cannot live my life as if I am home many hours during the week when I am typically out of the house at just after 7:30 a.m. and I do not return until close to 6 p.m.

My mom has not taken my fewer visits (every three to four weeks) very well. And neither have I. Neither of us is getting any younger, so I appreciate our time together. As notable is that I appreciate the time away from home. I know that some people love to be with their spouses all the time. Me? I need space!

Saying good bye to the multiple grocery trips a week has been equally challenging, but that is more financial. I try to remind myself that when I worked five years ago, I did not do it, and I worked four days a week, not five as I do now. Yet I still feel bad, and it still bothers me, so I try to do it one or two weeks a month. Mostly the saving-money part outweighs the crankiness at giving up a couple of hours a weekend. Mostly.

This weekend was a weekend at home. Earlish Saturday morning, I grocery shopped at two different stores and managed to get stocked up on enough stuff that I should be able to skip the store next week, when we head back to my mom's. I also had a to-do list that involved some other errands (return things, gather up and drop off stuff at Goodwill, buy the Frozen DVD, visit Phipps, something else). But unfortunately, the kid's stomach had different plans, one that would involve her lying in bed the entire day and keeping nothing down. So there went my plans. I will spare you the details. But even when the sickness was gone by bedtime, I slept horribly because every time my kid moved (she slept with me just in case), I sat up in a panic. I don't think I slept more than an hour or so at a time.

Now it is after 5 p.m. on Sunday night, and the weekend is just about over. Although I am disappointed that I did not get too much accomplished, today I did manage to get three loads of laundry done, a bathroom cleaned, a book report typed, and my checkbook balanced (and by balanced, I mean I wrote in the amounts that were on my online banking statement). Friday night, before the sickness overtook our house, J and I watched The Princess Bride, which was every bit as good as I remember from many years ago. And I even managed to get to level 3 of French in Duolingo in about 1.5 hours after that (I started Spanish about two weeks ago, but it is not going well, so I needed to feel some sort of accomoplishment).

I am hopeful I can learn to balance things better, particularly since I lead such a boring life. And I am cautiously optimistic I can learn to forgive myself when I don't live up to my expectations as well as the expectations of others.But I am also realistic enough to know that within a few weeks I will probably be complaining about not having enough time to do X and disappointing Y.

But until then...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"You've aged well."

Yesterday, I met with about 15 former coworkers from the job I was at the longest (almost 13 years). About once every year or two, someone sends out an email and tries to gather together as many people as possible for an afternoon or evening on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Although I could not tell you how many coworkers I had at that job (in 13 years, a lot of people come and go), I am lucky to say that I worked with a lot of great people over the years. And even though I keep in touch with a only a handful of them on a regular basis, it sure is nice to see some "old" faces every now and again.

And speaking of old...

I missed the gathering that was held in 2012. So the last time I saw most of these people was in the summer of 2011. And it could have even been 2010, as the years seem to run into each other. A few people I had not seen since I left that job (five years ago Thursday!), and one person I had not seen in probably several years before that.

Most everyone looked good. Some of us are a little grayer. Some of us are a little bigger. One person was considerable smaller (as in 200 pounds!). Me? Well, I am definitely grayer, though I try to get highlights to hide some of it. And although I weigh what I weighed when I left that job, I am about eight pounds heavier that I had been since the spring of 2009. Oddly, one of my former work boyfriends, whom I had not seen in probably two years, asked if I had lost weight. Being the forthright person I am, I told him that, no, I was, in fact, heavier. Maybe I just dress better now! :-)

And then one guy said to me, "You've aged well."

Was that supposed to be a compliment? I certainly don't think he was insulting me, but it just is not the same as saying, "You look great."

In fact, that sounds like something you would say to (or think about) someone who is in their 60s or 70s, in my opinion.

I am 42, people!

In any event, it was a great few hours. I only wish I had had more time to spend with many of the people. Time marches on, and too many of us get wrapped up into our own lives. It is good to try to reconnect with people when you have the chance and while you still can. And, let's face it: it is better to age then it is not to age.

So I will take aging well, thank you very much!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Great Expectations (or Lowering the Bar)

Do you expect a lot from people? I do. Unfortunately I am let down a lot...

  1. I expect that when I buy donuts from Giant Eagle that turn out to be bad, that I will be offered a replacement in addition to my lousy $2.
  2. I expect that when I buy tires warranted for 60,000 miles, that I won't get fewer than 30,000 miles.
  3. I expect that when my child's school is delayed for cold when it is in the low teens, that it will also be delayed when it is in the single digits (or that if won't be delayed for either).
  4. I expect that when I call or email someone with a question or request, that that person won't wait weeks to get back to me.
  5. I expect that when the bus is supposed to arrive at a certain time in the morning, that if it gets there early, it won't leave until the designated time, particularly when the temps are in the single digits and the next bus is close to 10 minutes away.
  6. I expect people who use public transportation to bathe and use deodorant on a regular basis.
  7. I expect that when I spend $25 for a fog-free mirror, that the mirror will not fog in the shower within 60 seconds. 
  8. I expect when I am earning pretty much no interest in my savings accounts, that I won't be stuck paying $50 in interest on a truck payment every month.
  9. I expect that when I get a decent-sized tax refund when I did not pay any federal taxes in 2012 (the full-time-working husband did), that this year I won't get a refund that is about the same, considering I actually paid federal taxes.
  10. I expect the person who does my taxes not to lose the papers I include and to pay attention to my notes.
  11. I expect people to be willing to admit their mistakes and apologize for them.
  12. I expect when someone loses her phone, that the person who finds it won't keep it and/or sell it.
  13. I expect the weather people to be right more than they are wrong.


  1. It is nice when you write a terse email to GE, to get a return phone call and email, and the promise of a gift card (have not seen it, but still)
  2. It is somewhat appreciated when you get a deep discount off your replacement tires and when Goodyear also steps up with a check.
  3. Perhaps the school administrators thinks the kids are heartier now in the cold temps!
  4. I have to understand that people are busy and forgetful; in other words, human, so they may not always remember or be able to get back to me (but if they never do, then it might be time to move on).
  5. I should probably accept the bus situation and be glad I can ride it for free.
  6. I need to remember that some people cannot smell themselves (I am immune to my bad coffee breath!) and maybe they have bigger things on their mind. But, still, being next to smelly people for even a minute is really an assault to my nose!
  7. They just don't make things like they used to. And there is not a lot of truth in advertising. What else can I say about that?
  8. I need to keep reminding myself that I do have money in savings, and, at least as of today, I can pay my bills. A lot of people cannot say that. 
  9. I need to be glad that I got a tax refund at all, and that I am able to put that refund, even if it is nowhere near what I had hoped, on that interest-sucking truck.
  10. Still not sure what to do about my tax people. But I suppose I should be glad they pick up my taxes and they are cheaper than going to one of those tax "stores." You get what you pay for!
  11. I guess some people just cannot admit when they are wrong. I know it is hard for me, but I am the kind of person who says, "I may have misunderstood you" or "Sorry, if I did this wrong" even though I am pretty sure I was not in the wrong. Oh, well.
  12. I am reminded that there is good in the world and am glad whoever found my mom's phone in a parking lot took it into the nearest store. 
  13. I pretty much need to give up on the weather people being right even half the time. Now if only they would stop hyping every single, potential occurrence of snow. And by occurrence, I sometimes mean a coating.
Stay tuned to see what the big snowstorms ends up being. My money is on 3".