Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ms. Moneybags

Turns out one of our local grocery stores has self-serve checkouts where you just toss the coin part of your payment into a little bin, rather than having to feed the coins in.  So I've been having fun gathering up all the loose change from here and there around the house, and using it to buy stuff.

Just a little fun thing to do  - a little amusing distraction- absolutely nothing to do with my being unemployed for the last five months and our current financial situation.  Really!

Today I (well actually "we" but JTM was too mortified to actually participate) thought it would be a bit of a lark to take the contents of the giant penny jar, dump it into a freezer bag and take it to the store to and use buy a turkey for Easter (only .99/pound - one per customer!).  So there I was, as discreetly as possible, reaching into my very heavy purse for handful after handful of pennies (and other copper-coloured currency from many lands) to slip surreptitiously into the bin. For what seemed like hours.

After a while the cashier lady who tends to the self-serve lanes decided to get in there with me, saying encouraging things and helping shovel the rejects back into the hopper.  Which of course, didn't draw any extra attention to what I was doing at all....

Then about halfway into the $70 transaction, in which I had deposited about $15 in paper money and the rest mostly in pennies, the machine gave a little squeal and started flashing some rather obscene error codes.

A manager was called, the various parts of the machine were opened, and inspected - very similar to the process of clearing a paper jam from the photocopier. A big fuss was made. (Oh God, nothing to see here, people.  Really.  Just move along now. You too, sir. I mean it!)

Once the machine was all cleared up and ready to go again, I'd lost my enthusiasm for the whole venture and just paid the rest with my debit card.

 This battle may be over, but the war is not won.  I may have set my sights a little high today trying to score a large piece of meat with my ghetto moneybag, but I am determined to keep spending those pennies, one bottle of pop or can of corn at a time, until they're gone.  And until they are, just call me Ms. Moneybags.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A little update on a bunch of random things

I drafted this update on various things a couple of weeks ago but didn't get around to posting it.  Most of this info is a a little on the stale side, but I expect it to provide really important context for some scintillating posts to come in the very near future.

Pants: Still too tight. Way too tight.
Job: Still none (swear it's like tossing resumes into the abyss - a faint  optimistic whistly, rustly sound as they descend,  and then just an eerie silence.  That pretty much sums up the job search to date.)
Feet: (this is a new topic for the blog but far from new to me) Flat.  Totally flat, as in "Oh God your feet are totally flat," says the foot doctor.  Born that way.  Nothing to be done but throw out all the cute shoes and invest in $500 orthotics that aren't covered by JTM's insurance.  Uh....not this week, thanks.  Managed to convince to do a quick and dirty temporary solution for much less cash.  Hoping against hope that the new insoles will give me some relief cause man, the dogs have been barking louder and louder with each passing day!
Teen Boys: Still totally unqualified to parent teenagers (see Holding Hands), but somehow managing to keep everyone in school and out of rehab.

But the real news is that we are moving next month. MOVEZILLA! YEAH! Bring it on.

Frickin' Housework!

So I've been trying to figure out why it is that I am so obsessed with housework, and why I think that needs to be the focus of my attention while I am not working.  It's kind of making me crazy, because there are clearly so many more entertaining and meaningful things to do right now!

A couple of weeks ago it occurred to me (as I was on my hands and knees unsuccessfully chasing tufts of dog hair and spilled coffee up and down the hallway in filthy pajamas, just like I was the day before vacuuming the basement stairs in pilled fleece pants and a two-day-old t-shirt) that I could probably stand to lighten up just a little on myself. I have such a critical eye; I'm always scanning the background for the thing that's out of place, surreptitiously glancing into the corner for the dust-bunnies, noting whether or not the drapes or the pants are an inch too short or long, checking to see if the shoes, belt and bag match or at least coordinate... It's incredibly distracting. And I am always mortified when someone stops by the house and sees the inevitable dirt and clutter (because it seems no matter how hard I work it still all looks like shite).

I've always thought that the reason my home was less than Martha Stewart perfect was because of my own inefficiency and lack of skill and training in housekeeping. If I could just master the special counter-wiping technique, or train myself and everyone else to follow a routine, develop rituals, find the money to buy the all new everything... 

And so, off and on over the last half-dozen years, I've been following the FlyLady - she's all about routines. Unfortunately she is also all about selling her proprietary FlyLady stuff, and filtering through all her puffy-haired, pantyhose-under-the-jeans, Jesus-lovin' BS, etc... so I tend to fall off the wagon - frequently and hard.  But even if the Flylady is a little too Right for me - she is absolutely right in that clearing out clutter, and developing systems and routines one at a time, will eventually get the desired result. (visit her at if you're interested - just prepare for some cringing and wincing)

But why do I care so much about this housecleaning business? Why am I always feeling ashamed about the state of my domestic affairs (and it's particularly mortifying when I'm not working outside the home)? I don't really understand what this obsession/compulsion is all about (except the accessories thing - that comes from having Margot Clayton as your mom; even at 82 she still puts herself together perfectly 100% of the time, but she is the most devil-may-care housekeeper, and I've never heard her utter much more than a peep about the quality of someone else's housekeeping efforts); all I know is that not only am I just generally distracted and irritated by the dirt and clutter around me, and I must assume that other people are too, and will judge me. Or worse, they'll feel uncomfortable in my home.

Clearly I can't hold Margot accountable for this one (except that maybe she could have trained me just a little bit better in the womanly art of homemaking), so I'm totally blaming Martha Stewart. Clearly she made just a bit too strong of an impression on me during my early household management career.

And this is the part where I'm supposed to commit to finding other priorities.  Or to being a better housekeeper. But I'm not going to.  I'm still determined to do both.