Friday, November 21, 2008

Face Cream is the Salve for The Economy (and Me)

Hank Paulson and his team of experts can't seem to get it right. No matter what they have been trying, the markets just seem to go down further and further and the words "lay offs" are becoming more and more frequently spoken. So what's next?

Well, I deferred to those experts for a while and like every other consumer, in America judging by the declining sales, made the words "purchase" and "shopping" a dirty word, whether on-line or in person. My only purchase recently other than groceries and things like toilet paper? Face cream. Okay, $52 face cream to be exact. It is from France and with the cost of fuel and translation, well, it could be more expensive.

I decided to go ahead and buy the luxury face cream because well, someone has to save the economy and what the experts have been doing hasn't had any effect yet. Moreover, all of this economic stress is really bringing on the aging process big time. So, of course I am going to need something to counteract that. The fact that it has this yummy and soothing rosemary aroma is an added bonus that soothes my frazzled nerves everytime my husband comes home and tells me his company's stock has hit a new low and that the layoffs have begun. Don't worry, I am using it sparingly, it seems like we are in for the longhaul here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leaf Me Alone!

So, the town finally came around today and sucked up the leaves we had raked to the curb. While we feverishly raked on Sunday afternoon after the torrential rains and high winds finally subsided, I am not sure you can tell that right now by looking at our lawn.

On my way home from walking our puppy Hanna this morning, I noticed that several leaves had remigrated back onto the lawn. Sort of like terrorist sleeper cells on some CNN map of the world. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I could grab hold of a rake and feverishly rerake at least the portion nearest the road, before the leaf suckers came. I say briefly, because as soon as I remembered that the wind was buffeting the dog and I, I realized that the whole effort would be futile (sort of like ironing your blouse and then putting on your seatbelt to drive to work...)

The ambitious side of me says that I might get out there tomorrow if I finish all of my thank you letters for my paid job, and rake the stragglers into the woods. The other side of me figures it is going to snow soon and what you can't see, you can't rake. Which side of me do you think will win out? By the way, they are predicting possible morning snow showers tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome Back Coupons

It has been a long time since I broke off our relationship. Really the fault was all mine, I would put all kinds of effort into our relationship, systematically searching for you and making you mine, then lovingly plunking you into the dark recesses of my pocket book. From these recesses, I rarely remembered to rescue you and so, I maturely decided to end it with you. I didn't want to carry you along anymore. It really wasn't fair to you, feeling useless, and to me, wasting all my time on something that just wasn't working because my effort just wasn't consistent.

So, for years now, I have avoided you, flipping quickly past your kind in magazines and throwing out your special inserts in the Sunday paper. But suddenly, thanks to our plunging economy, I have decided to rekindle the flame, and clip the coupons. So far, you have made it out of the pages and onto the counter. I want to move a bit more slowly this time. I don't want to dissappoint myself or you, but hopefully today I will take the big step (remembering!) and put you into my pocketbook so that you will be poised to save me from the depths of bankruptcy. If only I remember to let you save me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Expanding the definition of Expressholes

I love that term"expresshole" which was coined by Gary Larson of the Farside to define anyone who gets in the express line at the grocery store with more than the specificied number of items to which one is supposed to be limited in order to use said line. The other day while shopping at Whole Foods I encountered a new kind of expresshole.

I don't think that it is a coincidence that I discovered this new type of expresswhole at Whole Foods. In fact, this is probably the best place to spot this kind of expresshole. What kind? The kind that goes through the line with her three year old and allows her three year old to conduct the transaction. I kid you not.

I was standing a few customers down from the expresshole when I heard the syrupy voice of the mom saying "it's okay honey, swipe the card again." Then again, I heard the same thing, only this time I heard after that "okay, you can try it one more time on your own." Three minutes later I heard her say, no honey, you can't sign it, mommy has to sign it but you can color in the 'accept' box."

This irritated me to no end because of course I was in the express line because I actually needed express service and I happened to be buying just a few items. I had exactly 8 minutes before I had to be at my gym class around the corner.

I am all for making everyday transactions learning opportunities for kids. With two caveats. No education in the express lane. If you have time to teach your kid, do it in the regular lane and don't bother teaching kids credit card transactions at that age. It just reinforces the notion that all one has to do is have a plastic card and swipe it in order to magically get groceries, things, etc.

I remember when Thing 1 was about that age we had a discussion of how she was going to go to Disneyland on her own. I asked her how she was going to get there. She replied matter-of-factly that she was going to drive her Cozy Coupe. I asked her how she would get money to put gas in it. Without blinking, she said she was going to go to the bank and get the money. Unfortunately in this day of electronic deposits, it is hard to show a child an actual paycheck that you then deposit into the bank. Thus it becomes even harder for a child to grasp the whole money thing. Never mind credit derivatives and bailouts...

Friday, November 14, 2008


When I was a child, Halloween was my favorite day of celebration. Free candy? Who could pass that up? Even when there was candy that you didn't like in your bag, you were hopeful that at the post-trick-or-treating swap at home, you could unload much of it for something more palatable.

Now that I am older and am either relegated to handing out the candy or walking behind (i.e., not in eyesight of the candy donors, per Thing1), I consider Halloween to me much more hellish.
You see, from year to year I am constantly caught in what I call the Halloween dilemma. All year you make note of all of the new families who are moving into the neighborhood. As the day draws nearer, you carefully watch the forecast to see if conditions are optimal for Trick-or-Treating (i.e., warm enough so that you don't need to do what your parents did to you, which is commanding the wearing of a coat over the costume so that the costume is quickly rendered useless). Based on these factors, you buy your candy, almost at the last minute (to avoid eating of the candy by either you or other family members, which would necessitate a second trip to the store).

Each year, you think that this will be the year where you are caught unprepared and run out of candy. There were those new families that moved in, the weather is warm, Halloween is on a Friday, etc. So, you err on the side of caution and buy two massive bags of candy which could probably be enough for the troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Then the cute kids in their costumes start ringing the bell. First you start out giving them two pieces of candy, figuring you had better ration the stuff for the dreaded onslaught which is sure to appear, like a hungry pack of middle schoolers. As the hour gets closer to 8:00, you start thinking that maybe, just maybe, you screwed up. Maybe that hoard won't show up at all. Sweat starts to trickle down your forehead as you realize that you might be stuck with four pounds of leftover Halloween candy. This is not to mention the 8 lbs that Thing 1 and Thing 2 will haul home. So, you start giving out three pieces at a time. By 8:40 you know it is time to shut off your light and close shop, but you still have 2 lbs of candy left. Ugh.

At this point, you might as well get the duct tape and strap it to your thighs. Even when you buy the stuff you think you don't like to avoid any pitfalls. In fact the only pitfall you don't take into account is your pathetically low standards-much like many of our family dogs, you will eat it if given the opportunity and the ennui. Rationalization also plays a big part. You figure well, "fun size" what is the harm in that? Then you decide to have more "fun." You rationalize this second dose of fun by the fact that you are pretty sure you read somewhere that these portion sizes are getting smaller so that the manufacturers can make the same amount of money. Suddenly this business-centric practice assuages your lack of willpower and gives it new raison d'etre.

So now, two weeks after Halloween I am battling the bulge of Halloween candy that I would never think about buying or eating at any other time of the year. Like every repentent Halloween candy recovery victim, I have vowed that next year I will buy less candy. Will it really be the end of the world if I have to shut my light off at 7:45? Then I remember what it was like as a kid, walking by that house that wasn't lit, walking by it was the literal definition of empty calories as far as I was concerned. Something tells me I will make the sacrifice again next year so as not to dissappoint the kids that trudge down our street.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back To The Blog!

Okay, so Thing 2 never did end up sick and stayed at school all day. But, you know how that works, it is called Murphy's Law. Had I assumed he was fine and went about my business, he definitely would have been sick and in the nurse's office.

You are probably wondering, why, if he wasn't sick and I wasn't forced to hold my nose and try not to gag while cleaning up his vomit or any of the other possible sundries our kids eject when sick, I did not post to my blog in so long?

The answer: not one but two four-letter words. "work" and "sick." I mean that I have been too consumed by my "part-time" position and that took what energy I had which wasn't much. The low energy came from a general feeling of malaise. I was able to function on the most basic of levels. Yet, it was candidly a struggle. I just haven't felt myself. I thought the lightbox would be a quick cure, and it has definitely helped, but thanks to the change of seasons, IBS and these iron pills I have had to take to counteract heavy periods (thanks to going off the birth control pill and perimenopause, welcome to my world), let's just say my stomach has been off and thus, so have I.

I have been doing really uncharacteristic things, like napping and forgetting to meet a friend for a lunch and museum tour, which I had suggested! Yikes. I was horrified when I woke up to hear her message on my machine and her wondering if she had the date screwed up. Something was screwed up alright, that was me!

Anyway, after I called the doctor's office to complain about the havoc being wrought on my system by the iron pills, the nurse there told me I should stop them for a few days and try another brand. Since I was due for follow blood work 5 days later, I figured I would define "a few days" as "five days" and would just stop them altogether and take my chances. I went for my ritual blood letting at the blood drawing station yesterday and sincerely hope my iron count comes back normal.

This whole slippery slope began when I went off of one pill, the birth control pill, due to fear of breast cancer. My sister, had just been diagnosed with aggressive pre-menopausal breast cancer when I made that decision. I figured I didn't need extra hormones to increase my risk, so out went those pills. And in came the heavy periods. When I say heavy, I mean heavy, and will leave it at that. Pretty soon after that, I was anemic and guess what? Started taking more pills, this time iron pills. The risks and side-effects of the birth control pill were long term and theoretical. The side-effects of the iron pills, at least the brand Target sells, were pretty immediate and concrete (really, no pun intended).

I try to move beyond the irony of this situation, that even when I am not bleeding, some lab tech makes me bleed. Still though, I know that my medical problems are more annoyances than actually problematic. There would have been no real harm in taking a nap every once in a while as long as I had remembered to call my friend ahead of time and told her I was wiped out and down for the count. The struggle of having no energy and my stomach feeling very bad are not pleasant, but not generally debilitating. My sister's struggle through treatment of breast cancer puts my own issues in proper perspective.

In the final analysis it all comes down to one thing, or shall I say a few things: hormones, oh yeah, and getting old.