Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bucking Tradition

I did NOT take my kids school-clothes shopping this year.

That's right. I didn't do it. Did not pack us all off to the nearest mall and spend enormous amounts of money so that they would have just the "right" outfit for the first days of school and would be all up-to-the-minute on the current fashion trends.

I did buy new sneakers. Mark's were holding together by sheer willpower, and Kira had outgrown hers. For the rest: each of those kids has more clothes than anyone I know. And neither one of them takes care of them. I have grown beyond tired and frustrated and furious at seeing clean clothes thrown all over their rooms (and the hallway...and the closet), dirty clothes mixed in with clean clothes, clean clothes rewashed because they figured it was easier to just throw it all in the laundry than actually put things in drawers.

It's not like I ask a lot of them. First off, both of them are perfectly capable of doing their own laundry if they so chose. I don't even demand that. I wash their clothes, fold them, separate them into categories (shirts, pants, socks, underwear, etc), and then just ask them to take their clothes up and put them away. Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly like Becky Home-Ecky, I will bring their clothes up into their bedroom and lay them out on the bed in the categories. At that point all the kid has to do is pick up a pile, walk over to a bureau, open a drawer, and PUT THE CLOTHES IN.

Instead, I'll go in and find all the clothes heaped on the floor all together because they needed to get in the bed to go to sleep. So I told them, several weeks ago: I'm not buying any new clothes until you take care of your old clothes. This includes picking ALL of them up off the floor, sorting out clothes that you don't wear or don't fit, and putting the rest away. And until then, not an iota of unnecessary clothing.

Kira has had a particularly hard time comprehending this. She has had repeated meltdowns because I actually required her to not be a complete pig. She has ignored my repeated reminders that we weren't going school shopping until she had done the above.Then she decided she would GUILT me into buying her new clothes. I heard about the new clothes she got at her father's house. I heard about how she would be the only one without new clothes. I heard about how EVERYONE would make fun of her for having to wear old clothes. I heard about how she's had to wear the same clothes for the last two or three YEARS (ahem: bullshit. bull. fucking. shit.). I heard about how mean I was, how I didn't care about her, etc etc.

She wrote and mailed a letter to one of her best friends complaining about it. She even called my MOTHER (who agreed with me and told Kira so. Kira was not impressed that Gram was not on her side).

Unbelievable meltdown the last day I would have the kids before they went with their dad for the remainder of vacation (they would be with me Sunday night and Monday, so they went on Friday evening with X).

Now, I like buying clothes for the kids. I like having them be fashionable. I love seeing what Kira does with the combinations. Our family finances growing up didn't allow for fashion, and yes, I overcompensate for that.

But I also remember how much my sister and I appreciated new clothes, and how rare it was that we got them. We went on specific shopping trips to get clothes when we needed new ones. It wasn't a constant "oh, look at the cute thing I picked up for you today" event. (This is not to say that we were complete ragamuffins. But fashionable clothes was not a financial priority in the house.)

So, as hard as it was for ME to not take Kira out and get her an adorable little black sharkbite vest and some of the new superskinny jeans and a plaid skirt with a white button-down and tie and oh the most ADORABLE sweater-vest etc etc etc, I held strong.

And you know what? She didn't die. She actually took a look at the clothes she has, found a skirt she's had for a year (A YEAR) that she never once had worn to school, paired it with a v-neck t-shirt that looks like a billion other v-neck t-shirts, put on her new sneakers, looked adorable, and loved her outfit.

Now she's looking at what else she has that people haven't seen. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot. Especially considering that I have gotten her new things periodically in the spring and early summer. Brand stuff, even (Justice, her faaaaaaaavorite store, that is too pricey even on sale, but which you can often find at TJMaxx, and sometimes even on clearance there...guess where she got a cool burnout t-shirt and multicolored zipup this summer?)

Unsurprisingly, Mark didn't care that I wasn't taking him school shopping. He wore a white polo and jeans his first day (today). Of course, guys do have it easier than girls, but even still, he was perfectly aware that he has plenty of stuff that fits & looks good, and that's all he needed.

So, I'm continuing to hold out: no new clothes until the current ones are cared for properly. I'm kinda curious how long until Kira caves. She thinks she's more stubborn than I am.

Oh, so wrong. mk
I will never admit that you are right Mom, I had plenty to wear.

Look at these rags you force me to wear...I look hideous. Turn away your eyes!
Yeah, Mom, I'm rockin' the jean-and-polo thing.
Thank you, thank you, for not spending hundred$ you don't have so I could have clothes that look exactly the same as this. Just newer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

OB/GYN....Men, look away

So I have an appointment this morning with the gynecologist. I've been referred by my primary care physician because they think I need to see a specialist and find out why my period has been so bizarre for, oh, almost TWO YEARS. I've had blood drawn for hormone level testing, and I'll find out those results today, too.

I know, I know...two years and I'm just *now* getting it taken care of? Well, yeah. I'm not really great about staying on top of my own personal health (see: how I managed to grow a ginormous tumor the size of a human head and not know). Also, I just kinda figured it maybe kinda had something to do with either approaching perimenopause or maybe because I had become sexually active (don't ask how I equated occasional sex with messing up my entire menstrual cycle, and no, I don't mean anything related to possible pregnancy), or maybe it was just a delayed reaction to the surgery to remove said ginormous tumor. You know, like seven or eight months delayed.

My PCP *did* arrange for a transvaginal ultrasound to check for cysts that may have formed on or around my one remaining ovary (and sadly, I had actually forgotten which one had been removed. I have since come up with a little mnemonic to remind me: my right is left). Nada. Which is good, but at least if they *had* found a cyst, I would have known what the damn problem was and they could take care of it. Unless they would have put me in surgical menopause, which would have TOTALLY sucked, so I suppose I'm happy they didn't find anything. Yeah. Happy.

Anyway. This is but one on a long list of bodily screw-ups that I am slowly but surely trying to get straightened out. Next on my list is a referral to an ortho to find out why the hell I have this gross-looking cyst popping out of my left foot on top of my bunion. (yes, I know it's a bursa...but WHY...and can they get rid of it)

Have also been dealing with my Vitamin D deficiency. (Did I tell y'all about that? no?) Well, several months ago my PCP had my Vit-D levels checked, and they were 28. Minimum guideline should be 50, and recent studies show that 80 is a way better indicator of true health. So dr. put me on a mega-dose of D once a week...50,000 IU (daily recommended is oh, around 200-400). After three months, I was re-tested. My levels went up to 37. So I'm still deficient. However, for some reason my doctor has taken me *off* the super-dose and is now recommending that I do a daily supplement of 2000 IU. I went with more recent studies' findings and have bumped that up to 4000 IU, plus am *trying* to get sunlight each day. Which is difficult for me, because it means leaving the safety of my home and going *outside*. Where there are *people*.

Which could segue into how I'm doing with various therapies, but I'm going to take pity on you people and end here. Also, I should probably go up and shower etc to get ready for my appointment. :) Check ya later, people! mk

So. Will keep posted if there are any significant results.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm developing a new hobby: super-couponing. I want to be one of those people who get $1000 worth of groceries for 47 cents or something crazy like that. A couple of my friends, Ginnie & Paula, have been doing it for awhile and they really get some amazing deals.

In the process, I've gotten rather obsessive about sending away for freebies. Through Facebook, I've signed up with four or five freebie sites that do all the hunting for you, and then provide links to these deals. So far I've gotten one-year subscriptions to Seventeen, Cosmo, Taste of Home, Everyday with Racheal Ray, Health, and one or two others I can't remember right now (I think Marie Claire might be one). I've received 3 Atkins bars, an EPA Estuaries poster (that Kira put up in her room), and I have a ton more things on the way, most of which I can't even remember. Health and beauty samples, pens, paper, a stadium cushion, foods...oh, who knows it all. Since I just started this a couple of weeks ago, it's just now that the fruits of my labor will start pouring in. It's fun to go to the mailbox. :)

And I've been collecting coupons, and learning how to really use them. For example, I have multiple copies of a $1 off coupon for Post-It Super Sticky notes. Which are on sale at WalMart for $1. That equals FREE. I currently have more pads of Post-Its than I think I will use in a year. And planning to get more.

It's really fun, it's entertaining me, and hey, saving some money, which is ALWAYS helpful. Even better, it's making me look seriously at each and every purchase I am making: can I get this cheaper? Should I wait on this until it goes on sale and combine it with this coupon? Is the store brand really cheaper, or do I save more money by getting the name brand and using a coupon?

I've spent so long on auto-pilot with so many of my shopping purchases. Get the store brand, stick with this kind of paper towel, buy things as you need them. I'm in the process of changing that thought process, of losing "brand loyalty," of understanding sale cycles and how to create stockpiles.

It's a bit harder to do the huge "save $100's" shopping that people with access to a larger variety of stores can do. For example, we don't have a nearby CVS, Walgreens, or Target. So I'll have to make do with what I can do with WalMart and the local grocery stores. And start shopping at Rite-Aid, which I have always avoided because their stuff is pricier. But apparently not with the various sales and coupon deals I'm learning about.

It's pretty interesting stuff. The kids say I need to get a hobby. I told them this *is* my new hobby.

Does anyone else do this stuff? Tell me some stories, people! mk

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Danger: Man Cooking

My boyfriend can't cook. I mean, the man cannot scramble eggs. I know: I've eaten his attempt.

Now, I'm not a fabulous cook myself, but I do a fairly decent job in the kitchen when I want to. The major exception is grilling. I am really not good at grilling. I probably could be a lot better if I tried, but a) I'm afraid of fire and b) yeah, that's about it. I am getting better, I burn the food less badly now, and occasionally even make the kids' steak they way they like it. Mostly. Kinda. Sometimes.

Anyway. He can't cook. He doesn't even try, really, just eats pre-packaged stuff. Now, since he lives in New Hampshire and I only see him once every two weeks for about 24 hours, this is not really a big problem for me.

But it made me start thinking about men and cooking in general. Men seem to fall into one of two categories: either they don't cook at all, or they are really good. I don't know any guys who say they're middle-of-the-road in the kitchen.

Mark took a cooking class a few years ago as part of an after-school program sponsored by a local community group. He loved it. Got his own personalized apron at the end of it and everything. Since then, he hasn't done a lot of major stuff in the kitchen, but he *has* been doing a bit of grilling this summer at camp, and he does a pretty decent job on the hot dogs and hamburgers that have been entrusted to him.

I keep thinking that I should get him more involved in cooking, perhaps have him responsible for a complete meal every once in awhile. Invariably, however, I come up with this idea just as we are entering the hell-schedule of school-and-soccer. Or school-and-basketball. Then, when we actually have *time* to do it, I completely forget.

He's a sophomore in high school. He's got a few years before he'll have his own place and be required to do his own cooking. I'd like him to be a good cook. He seems to enjoy it when he does it. If he's in the mood. If he's not, there is much whining about not waaaaaaaaanting to cook and does he haaaaaaaaave to. (yes. 15. the re-introduction of the whine)

So. Anyone out there know a man who likes to cook (or *is* a man who likes to cook)? When did you start dabbling? What is it that got you interested? Speak up, peeps. Thanks! mk