Savin’ Money, Honey!

Whenever I speak to a particular former work colleague (Hi, PC-J!), she always asks: “Have you found a job yet?”  Invariably followed by:  “But you’re saving money now…so maybe you don’t need a job, right?”

Uh.  Ok.  Right!  Sure.  What she said.

But all those Cosmo articles I’ve read over the years about how you save money when you become a stay at home mom always mystified me.  I mean, dry cleaning?  Really??  You have that MUCH dry cleaning that once you start wearing sweats it turns out you never needed a job in the first place?!  Come on!

And COMMUTING costs??!  Where are you LIVING that it costs that much to get to where you are WORKING??

Since I didn’t A)Work for Cosmo and B)Live in NYC – those articles never made sense; And in reality, weren’t really practical.  So…here’s the home-mom-keepin’-it-real, tried-and-true list of how to REALLY save money, honey.

How do I save money now that I don’t have a job?  Let me count the ways (in no particular order):

1.  Don’t buy Girlscout cookies.  And if you have to?  Buy ONE box from the girls-with-the-foldable-table outside Wal-Mart and NOT $180 worth from the Girlscout “supplier” living under your roof.  In fact, don’t have a Girlscout living under your roof.  They’re cute in their green clothes, but they’re expensive

2. USE the coupons you clip.  Don’t just clip them.  And keep your HUGE, disorganized, accordion coupon folder in your CAR.  Not on the desk in the kitchen at home where it won’t do you any good.  ‘Cause there’s never any shopping that happens in your kitchen.  Am I right?  And again, remember to USE the coupons.  DON’T remember to use the coupons AFTER you’ve made your purchase and are back in the car where the coupons are!  Gaaahh

3. Stop eating out.  Eat at home more.  [this is currently under investigation as a money-saving measure because I’m not sure this is working.  I spend a LOT on groceries.  And often forget to use my coupons.  And find them still clutched in my hand as I’M LOADING THE GROCERIES INTO MY CAR!  Gaaahhhhh!].

4.  Color your own hair every 6-8 weeks.   It’ll cost you $10 (ok, maybe $15 if you have to do that in-between-colorings-touch-up-color-kit because for some odd reason the color doesn’t last as long as when you get it done in a salon).  But still, when you compare that to $150 you’d have to spend in the salon?  Holy savings, Batman!

4a.  Don’t get your hair cut.  Enter an I’m-growing-my-hair-out phase.  But if you MUST get a haircut, go to Fantastic Sams.  They usually have a good coupon (See Suggestion #2.  Oy vey.)  And if you don’t want to bother with coupons, then Great Clips has the best deal for a cut WITHOUT coupons.

5.  Organize your spices.  Really, I can’t stress this enough. This is basically about knowing what you have in your pantry and actually using it; NOT throwing it away because you forgot about it and now it’s expired.  And NOT buying more of it because you forgot IT WAS ALREADY IN YOUR PANTRY!!!

6.  Be your own cleaning lady.

7.  Be your own best friend (you don’t have to go out to lunch or coffee that way).

8.  Make the children’s school lunches instead of buying hot lunches.  Admittedly, this is an exercise in creativity for MOM because the children quickly grow bored with their Ramen Noodle cups.

9.  Ooooh!  Buy more Ramen Noodle cups.  They are super CHEAP and easy to make.

10. Knit or hand make every Christmas and birthday gift.  Sure it grows tiresome for the recipients.  But screw ’em!  It’s not about THEM!  It’s about YOU!  It’s ALWAYS ABOUT YOU!

11. Investigate $0.99 Jean Day at your local Good Will.  Just make sure it’s Jean Day and not the day AFTER Jean Day.  That doesn’t do you any good.

12. Everyone appreciates homemade cookies and a card for Valentine’s Day.  And while life is like a box of chocolates, buy that AFTER Valentine’s Day when it’s 75% off.

13. Don’t go to Kohl’s. Don’t even THINK about it.  Not even if you have a Gift Card to Kohl’s.

14. Re-gift your Kohl’s gift cards (see note above).

15. Get books from the library.  Remember Stitch-‘n-Bitch?  Now that’s good times FOR FREE!

16. Make your own juice.  No.  It’s not like making your own milk.  It’s better!  Buy those little frozen juice cans in your grocer’s freezer.  You can add a little variety to your life all while saving money (a can of frozen juice costs AT MOST $1.62.  When you compare it to a jug of orange juice at $5.65?  Cha-ching!  Take THAT to the bank!!!)  In fact, I’m not sure how I EVER forget about this brilliant approach to juice?!

17. Buy all generic store brands (hint: if you look at the manufacturing address on anything, it’s usually the same address Keebler or Lipton or Silk or just about any of the name brands.  An important hint, no?).

18. Stop being such a name-brand snob.  If you can swallow your pride, you can save money.  The only name brand thing I WILL buy?  Is Diet Dr. Pepper and Goldfish crackers.  But I get them from Costco in bulk.  Savin’ money every-which-way.

19. When you go to Costco to buy your Diet Dr. Pepper and Goldfish – DON’T BUY ANYTHING ELSE!!!  You do NOT need 10 pounds of salt-n-pepper pistachios.  Nor do you need frozen pizzas in 12-packs.  Ditto room-sized bags of chips.  And don’t feel obligated to purchase the Borghese face lotion which the nice lady squirted on your hand.  And if someone is wearing a microphone, do NOT act like a zombie and wander over there.  There is NOTHING for you over there.  In fact, as you’re walking into the store, mumble to yourself that all you need is Diet Dr. Pepper and Goldfish.  And maybe bananas.  Unless they’re green.  I hate it when they’re green.  That’s annoying.  Now, keep mumbling to yourself all the way through the store and out the other end.  People with samples and microphones don’t bother you if you’re mumbling.


Field Trip

Don’t hate me but…yes – I’m one of the “lucky” moms who got to chaperone the 5th grade field trip today.  To the Museum of Nature and Science.  To see the IMAX movie about the Ice Age.  Boo-ya!!  Doesn’t get any better than that.

True.  It wasn’t a multi-million dollar software deal.  But it did result in the same level of utter exhaustion.  So that’s something.

Plus – it didn’t take me six months of work weeks and week-ends to prepare.  So that’s something as well.

See?  It’s coming up roses on this end.  But like I said, don’t be a hater.

Doin’ the field trip thANG is a rite of passage for us new stay at homers.  Just trying to earn our place in the world.

And that need for a nap at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Friday?  That, my friends, is the sign of a life well-lived.  Now don’t bother me.  I gotta close my eyes for a bit.

Teddy Bear

We have a new puppy dog!  Or as I like to call him – a poopy dog.  Get it?  Ha ha ha.  POOPY??!

That’s because he poops ALL the time.  In ALL the wrong places.  Turns out not so ha ha ha.  I mean…it’s a LOT of poop.  How does all that poop fit in there?!  Is it just our luck to get a dog with a malfunctioning poop device??

The Eightball says:  Signs point to yes!

The dog’s name is Teddy Bear, we’re on Day 3 of his life with us, and I had forgotten how much work puppies are.  But I remember now!  No…now!  NOW!!!  And it’s a good thing I don’t have a job so I can spend all day hovering over him and anxiously letting him out every three seconds only to find I should have let him out two seconds ago!  Gaaaaahhhhh!!!

Anyway, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, I’m sending him an open letter about the rules of this house…

Dear Teddy Bear,

You are as cute as the stuffed animal you’re named after, but cute is only gonna get you so far.  Trust me.  I know what I’m talking about.  So here are some rules you need to remember:

1. Don’t eat the rabbit poop in the back yard.

2. Ditto your OWN poop (grody to the max!!) [No grody is NOT just limited to the 80’s or things that gag you with a spoon.  It’s appropriate for all decades.  It never goes out of style – especially when combined with “to the max.”  And it totally applies here.]

3. The rose bush has prickers on it.  You WILL get stuck.  I’d understand the confusion the first few times.  But we’re up to a dozen plus times now.  Clue in.

4. And stop acting like I’m doing something mean to you in the backyard.  It’s the ROSEBUSH!  See comment above.

5. That switch that changes you from sleepy puppy into racing-around-the-house-freakshow-on-wheels?  We gotta locate that switch and permanently turn it OFF!

6. The bird whistling in the back yard is not your new father calling for you from the computer room.  So you can look through the glass doors of that room all you want.  But he STILL won’t be there.  BECAUSE IT’S A BIRD!!

7. I’ll file all those needle teeth down if I have to.  I’ll do it.  I’m not joking.  (ok, I’m seriously, SERIOUSLY tempted.  But I’m only joking.  So those of you who can actually read this, please don’t call the animal cops, ‘k?  I know who you are.  YOU know who you are.  I’m looking right at ya.  Can you see me?  I can see you.  Get your hand off the phone.)

8. Stop all the itching.  You don’t think it has anything to do with that first bath I gave you, does it??  Btw – sorry about that.  I still feel bad about sending you out to play in the snow afterwards.  HEY-I SAID I WAS SORRY!  Now please stop itching.

9. All boots, mittens, hats, socks, Legos, American Girl dolls, feathers and….uh…HUMAN FINGERS…are OFF LIMITS!!!  In fact, anything that’s not in your food bowl – or is not a sanctioned toy – is off limits.

10. We don’t have to re-enact the After School Special titled “Puppy Finds Girl After Long Separation” EVERY time I go to the bathroom, do we?!  (Hey!  I drink a LOT of coffee.  So sue me!!).  It makes me feel loved and all, but you know what would REALLY make me feel loved?!?  IS IF YOU FOLLOWED ALL THE RULES AND STOPPED POOPING EVERYWHERE!!!!

Love & kisses,

(Mean) Mommy

How do you make a tissue dance?

Put a little boogie in it!

With that in mind, let’s review…

Where do boogers belong?

On the wall in the bathroom??!!


Mean Mom had a battle with Lenten Promise Mom today over this very topic.  We’re still not sure who won.  See the evidence (picture below).  You decide.  (If your response was Mean Mom, do you really blame her?!?)

As a side note, it turns out that the color of my bathroom walls can be called “masking tape.”  Who knew.

Booger in the Bathroom

Booger in the Bathroom

How to go on?

Does there come a time in everyone’s life where the decisions you’ve made seem like bad ones?  Where you question what you’re doing here?  And why??  You wonder whether He really cares if you’re on this path or not?  And where will it all end??

Well…that time has come for me.  And Tony Horton.  And this Dark Night of the P90X Soul he’s subjecting me to.

I don’t think I’m getting anything out of this.  I mean, the stomach pooch (ok, blub) is maybe slightly smaller.  Maybe.

But I’m not sure it’s worth the increased visits to the chiropractor, the most recent of which was yesterday.  I didn’t even TALK about my back at that visit.  Instead we spent the time talking about this pain ON my knee.  Not INSIDE my knee.  ON my knee.  I explained that it hurts when you touch it (or kneel on it.  As in – I can’t do any of your b.s. push-ups the “right” way, Tony, so I gotta support myself on my knees and now they hurt, Jackdaw!).

At which point I dutifully rolled up my pant leg so the doctor could take a closer look (My Advice: in addition to wearing cute underwear when you visit the chiropractor, make sure you shave your legs!).

“How about when I press here?”  Owww!

“Mmm hmmm.  And how about here?”  OWWWWWW!!!  What IS that?  What are you PRESSING on??

“Well…it’s called a Gertie’s Carbuncle and everyone has one.  Yours seems to be swollen and surrounded by fluid.”

Ok, the doctor may not have called it a carbuncle, but it was definitely a Gertie’s something.  And it hurts like HE## when you press on it.  So the resolution?  Is to rake over it with a Pampered Chef pan scraper device.  RAKE, RAKE, RAKE!!!  Then rake UP the leg where the sciatic nerve descends and throw in a nipple tweak for good measure.  Kidding about the nipple tweak.  But really.  Would that have made it any WORSE?  Or BETTER?!?


Then the doctor put K-Tape on my Gertie’s Carbuncle with strict instructions to “rub the tape” periodically throughout the day to disburse the fluid.  And to ice the leg because there might be some bruising.

SOME bruising?  Yeah – ya think??!

I’ve had K-Tape once before.  A long time ago.  On my forearm.   Back when I had a job and all the tappity, tap, tapping  I did on my keyboard in the name of software marketing brought out a Gertie’s Carbuncle on my elbow.  When I got back to work after that K-Tape maiden voyage, a guy in the elevator asked me in hushed tones if I had a mixed martial arts injury.  To which I promptly replied “Yes!” and acted all intimidating and Judo-y before I got off on my floor.

K-Tape is really pretty nifty.  And it DOES work (albeit in an obscure, needles-stuck-in-a-d0ll-resembling-me sort of way).  But this time around you can’t even SEE the K-Tape so what’s the point?  No one’s gonna know what a bada$$ I am.  Me and my bada$$, mixed martial arts, Home Mom, P90X New Year’s Resolution self.  So what’s the POINT?!?

Tony?  I ask you.  Is it worth it??  Is ANY OF THIS WORTH IT?!?  How can I even go on??  I’ve got a whole ‘nother month of this crap.  WHEN IS MY STOMACH GONNA GET FLAT?!??!

Oh.  And for your information, Tone-ster?  I “found the burn.”  It’s over here in the armchair, by the fireplace as I eat homemade cookies and watch Real Housewives while ICING MY GERTIE’S CARBUNCLE.  Ya Effer.  Hope you’re happy.

The Morning After

It’s the morning AFTER Sonny’s 9th birthday slumber party.  And for some reason that old  Stephen Sondheim/Judy Collins song is in my head:

Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns
[Uh – no.  It’s NOT an 80’s song; It’s late 70’s I believe.  Even so, it’s close enough to prove my “80’s song for every moment of life” theory.  So screw you!  AND the horse you rode in on.  But thanks for asking.]
Ok, ok.  Sorry about that.  I’m a little short on sleep and therefore long on cranky.  So cranky in fact that I’m 100% sure all of the slumber party boys will go home and report that Sonny’s mom is the MEANEST mom.  Ever!   
Which is fine.  I own it.  I recognize that at some point in the evening, I decided to go the “instill fear” route.  And the good cop/bad cop routine devolved into all bad cop, all the time – with the good cop bound and gagged and shoved in the back of the closet, struggling futilely against its duct-tape bonds.
Whatever.  As long as we all know where we stand.  And don’t make me come down there AGAIN to tell you to go to bed.  ‘Cause if I do, I’m gonna call all your mothers to come get you AND make you start walking home!!!!
Too far?  Naw!  It’s important to set expectations and give children some structure.
And also?  Remind me to NEVER do this again.  EVER!  I mean it this time.  NO.  I’m serious.  I REALLY, REALLY MEAN IT!!!  NEVER.  EVER.  AGAIN.
Now I gotta go take a nap.