Archive | February, 2011

Obviously.

Thirteen.

We had been best friends since we were thirteen years old.  Both new in the same school, thrown into an impossibly smaller class.  An entire grade comprised of 28 kids, and we were the two new ones.  He and I.

We did not stay “new” long.  We learned quickly that a sense of humor and an even bigger sense of humility would get us where we needed to go, and we found allies in eachother.  He was as sarcastic and quick-witted as I was.  Even at thirteen, we began our plots to take over the world.  Well, obviously, we’d decided to start with the school, but the world wouldn’t be far behind.

Thirteen was the end of an age and fourteen brought the beginning of high school.  The odds of us staying best friends through the transition were bleak, in my eyes anyway, and yet it happened.  We would save eachother seats.  We would sneak the other one completed homework assignments.  We looked out for eachother.  It was obvious that we would make it through together.

We spent hours on the phone each night, often discussing our peers in pseudo-intellectual terms that were very amusing at the time.  We reigned from our obviously self-made thrones, I the queen to his king, and we knew it.  We were truly only friends.  We dated other people, once consent was gained from the other party on the choice of partner, but we obviously never looked at eachother as more than our other limb.  Necessary, but not glamorous.

We slept over at eachother’s houses and were extended family.  Our actual families would feel slighted if only half of us attended a dinner or gathering.  Hell, we served as a superlative couple in our high school year book: “Most Polite (aka Most Sarcastic and Bitter but Nice About It)”.

Our senior year of high school, with the fear of the unknown future looming in front of us, we finally looked at eachother.  That way.  And we saw what everyone else had been whispering about behind our backs, that they are obviously going to end up together.

I remember the first time he kissed me, really kissed me, and how complete I felt.  “You’re, like, 98% me,” he told me one time.  “I have 2% that’s just me, but you’re 98% in my head all the time.”  98%, we’d pass in notes to eachother.  It’d become our Jerry Macguire anthem, to remind eachother that obviously we’d been working on this relationship since we were thirteen years old and movies and sitcoms and comics had all proven that the one right in front of you is the one that’s perfect for you.

He left the country shortly after high school for a brief tour, and I sent him care packages while he was away.  We wrote long letters to eachother, speaking deeply about how we couldn’t wait to be reunited.  It was just meant to be.  Obviously.

When he returned, he asked to take me to dinner.  I remember stressing out about what to wear, since it was obviously such an important occasion.  Being that we were young and poor, Olive Garden would constitute a “nice dinner”, and bowling seemed a perfectly quirky but romantic after-dinner activity.  As we sat in his car, shivering in the winter air, he finally told me, “I love you very much.”  And what was obvious came to fruition.

“I love you, too.” I said.

“And I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it work,” he said.  And I still, even as I recall this conversation, feel my heart sink.  “But I know I would get bored with you.”

Suddenly, I realized that things were not as obvious as I’d imagined them.  Much like those same comics and sitcoms and movies, I was overrun by a montage of things that he had said over the years that should have given me the signs.  Condescending things, ranging from the state of my cuticles to the car that I drove, that let me know that I would never be worth his attention.  He finds me boring, I wept.  I’m not worthy of him.

It’s taken me years to realize that I tormented every single man since then by making our relationships “interesting”.  If things got too comfortable, I’d shake them up.  I worried that familiarity would breed infidelity, or worse, that he’d suddenly see me as I really was and he’d be bored.  After all, if someone knew me 98% and found me dull, what chance would anyone have if they knew me entirely?

I actually hesitated to date anyone with light-colored eyes for years, such was the wound.

Tonight, I realized that I’ve led nothing near a boring life.  I’ve traveled, I’ve met amazing people, and my biggest achievement, I’ve written about it for six years now.  I don’t know where he is now although I often see his family (and they are just as lovely as they have ever been), but I wonder what life he’s led and if it’s what he anticipated when we were 18 and sitting in a chilly car and he broke my heart.

I’m so glad that he did.

Obviously.

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I Blog for the Children.

We’re in the BIG SMILE phase.

Which, if you’re wondering, is the same grimmace he makes if he’s trying to go poo-poo, but has lifted the toilet seat up and is pulling an Olympic Iron Cross to keep from falling in the toilet.

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Whole Lotta Nothing

In reference to my last post, I read this interesting little tidbit at Daily Worth, a great blog that offers money tips for women:

  About 30% have hidden a bill or other statement
  16% concealed a major purchase
  15% admitted to having kept a secret bank account
  11% lied about their debt
  Mysteriously, 11% lied about their incomes

Isn’t that insane?!  I know y’all all felt weird talking about your finances on some random blog, but don’t you feel better now?  I know.  Me too.

So we’ve gotten our SmartyPig account off the ground, and you can watch our progress in the right hand sidebar there.  I’m a fan.  Have to say. 

***

Because I worked over the holiday, we didn’t get to head down to Jasper, Alabama for our annual Christmas get-together.  As a result, we made the trek down this weekend.  The boys were totally stoked.

The boys TOTALLY racked up with their presents, and now we have things that are HUGE and MAKE LOTS OF NOISE.  Perfect holiday!  I love making the trip because Grandmother Comer always makes warm chocolate pudding when I come down.  Also, really and truly, I love Bryan’s family and we don’t see them nearly enough.  Grandmother will be moving into a new house soon, her first move in OVER FIFTY YEARS, and so we went to visit the new house.  The boys approve whole-heartedly, mostly because the backyard lends itself to some epic hide-and-seek.

We did have a scary moment during dinner: while moving on to the chocolate pudding portion of dinner (which, really, is all anyone cares about), a support under the house broke.  We all fell about an inch and the noise was deafening.  I looked at Grandmother, who has been reticent to move, and said, “Yeah, it’s time.”

***

Tony got a kid’s camera for Christmas from Bryan’s parents, and dude, he is loving the photography.  Mostly, he loves posing like a photographer:

And my favorite part is that — regardless of what he’s taking pictures of — he yells, “Say cheese, Momma!”  And if I don’t immediately respond with a resounding CHEESE!, I get reprimanded.  Like my participation may negatively impact his picture of the crack in our driveway.

***

Sunday was another GORGEOUS day, so we explored a new mountain, one closer to our home.  The boys LOVED the trail we took them on, Tony in particular loving the idea of playing Pooh Sticks in the many bridges.

Random shot that I like because he suddenly resembles the chubby baby and those cheeks I used to NOM NOM on for hours at a time:

Also, Tony’s cheeks look nice there too.

***

All in all, it was a lovely (yet tiresome/EXHAUSTING) weekend that made me truly appreciate my little family.  The boys are now old enough to entertain eachother and play well together.  Bryan and I lagged behind them on the trail several times and watched them laugh together as they played games.  He quietly would weave his fingers in mine and we’d all just sigh at the loveliness of it all, our little bit of earth that we’re given to play in.

***

Related to nothing, I’ve read THREE BOOKS since I got my Kindle.  Such is the power.  The last one I finished was Room, by Emma Donoghue, and y’all, it GOT INTO MY HEAD SO HARD.  I don’t even know if I should recommend the book because it messed with my head so badly.  Granted, I was personally invested, being both the mother of a boy and the little boy in the story being named Jack, but .. man, oh man.  What a read.  Page turner for sure, but one you can’t put down out of fear.

Also, for Valentine’s Day, we did the highly romantic act of ordering Jason’s Deli be delivered to our house and we watched Catfish.  I had heard it was quite the mind-blowing film, and we enjoyed it to be sure, but .. I don’t know.  Maybe we are jaded, Bryan and I, but the big twist at the end was something we called within the first half hour of the film.  Because nothing surprises us any more.

***

Our child rose ten minutes before Bryan on Saturday, and when Bryan made his way in, he found this:

He had made “art” in the creamer.  He had also gotten into the Excedrin.  Which, to his credit, he disliked and spit out.  But still.  BIG SURPRISE ABOUT SOMEONE’S CAPABILITY.

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Money May be a Four Letter Word.

I mean, it’s NOT.  Clearly.  Although my financial skills may suck, I can count letters.

First off: The Good.  I am AMAZED at how well Bryan and I got the family through those rough months of 2010.  And, Lord, they were plentiful, those rough months.  From unemployment to no commission, we went without.  A lot.  And miraculously, no one died and no one broke and no one left.  We rarely, rarely even fought about money, which was my biggest fear.

I’ve talked about it before, but I have this horrible reticence to talk about money.  Like, it should all just magically fall into place and it should be budgeted perfectly so no discussion is needed and also?  Part of that budget should include Sarah’s On-a-Whim Shopping, because I do that.  I DO THAT.  It is a horrible weakness I have, this need to comfort myself with shopping.

I’ve EARRRRRNED it, my financial Gollum tells me.  WE’VE earned it.  BUY ITTTTTT.

But, in my defense (sort of, if there is a defense), my shopping is usually stuff we all use.  Food.  Clothes.  Superfluous things for the house.  Necessary?  No.  Not always.  But functional?  Very often, yes.

So it’s this fine line I walk: Almost Hoarder vs. Loving Mother.

Anyway, so truth be told, whenever Bryan calls me midday or sends me a text message, I am stifled by the hypothetical The card was declined message waiting for me.  Seriously, it is always looming in the back of my mind.

And what’s really weird is that we didn’t have that happen all that often when we were in the rough patch.  (Of course, bills went unpaid for us to eat and whatnot.)  And while it happened a bit after Christmas (like much of America), we’ve gotten it under control and are surviving. ::feverishly knocking on all wood around her::

We’re finally catching up on the backed-up bills of 2010, and that is REALLY, REALLY awesome.  Say what you want about bill collectors or even customer service for those agencies: they’ve been a pleasure for us to work with.  Agreeable payment plans and lots of reassurance that we’re okay.  Chances are that by the end of this month, we’ll be current in all bills (and even ahead in some!).

::big, happy, relieved sigh::

As did 56% of Americans (according to this made-up study I think I read), I got on the financial train and made a budget for the year.  I did it through the almighty Mint.com – and I recommend them to ANYONE needing an online software – and I was fastidious about checking it every morning and keeping on top of it.  For about a month.  Then, you know, whatever, we were fine.  Bryan and I would sit down every Sunday evening to look at the week ahead financially and then plan accordingly.  For about three Sundays.  Then, you know, whatever, it would be okay without it.

GAH, WHY DO I DO THAT?  Why do I start something with such fervor and then let it fall away?  Because I’m American, damnit.  That’s what we DO. 

Anyway, this month, we’re starting a small savings account to pay for our anniversary travel to New Orleans.  I read about a new savings option called SmartyPig.com, and that’s what we’re doing.  It’s a “set-it and forget-it” type of savings, which is what I need.  Especially when it’s not connected to any other accounts.  Especially when I can’t just pull it over to accomodate for a sudden shopping urge.  At the schedule I chose, we should be fully saved up by the end of September.  Which is an awesome thought, since we shouldn’t feel deprived in saving this way.

You can set Goals on SmartyPig for just about anything – big ticket items like electronics or small-ticket items like new shoes.  You can set Goals for a down payment on a house or to get out of debt.  It’s all pretty awesome – I recommend checking them out. (I haven’t been compensated for any links in this post, bee tee dubs.)

Which brings me to my question: how do you handle finances in your house?  Is one person in charge of all the finances, or do you spread the responsibility (and therefore, THE BLAME) equally?  Do you have sit-downs to talk about it, and if so, how often?  Any hints or words of encouragement?  Also, you wanna go to New Orleans with us?

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So.. um.. I didn’t think this through.

Per my last post – WOO HOO!! – I got a Kindle.  I think I dropped enough hints that even Jason Robert Brown knew I wanted one. 

So, yeah!  Awesome!  And really, it is the COOLEST little gadget!  That’s saying something in our house; we are tech geeks who own an iPad, a PS3, a Wii, and a various assortment of other electronics and we find them ALL cool.  But this?  Is pretty awesome.

It’s incredibly lightweight.  I looked at The Nook (latest generation) at Barnes & Noble, and although the screen was backlit and in color, the weight of the thing turned me off.  What can I say?  Am a delicate flower.  This weighs less than a paperback, closer to the weight of a cell phone.  FOR SERIOUS.

The contrast is oh-my-gosh sharp.  It’s sharper than the printed page, which is something that I have only read and cannot wrap my head around as a concept.  But it is incredibly sharp.  You can read for long stretches without eye strain or fatigue, which is always a huge plus for me.

It’s itty bitty.  Again, The Nook was larger in a side-by-side comparison, and I knew I wanted something small enough to easily transport.  I carry a small purse, and this fits easily inside of it.  I also have small(ish) hands, think Burger King commercial tiny hands, and this is easy for me to maneuver.

All in all, I’m totally smitten.

Except.

WHAT DO I READ?

I’m suddenly inundated with choices – instant gratification, “push a button and it’s right there!” choices.  They are listed on pages, and the pages number something in the TENS-OF-THOUSANDS and I’m just kind of lost.  Swimming. 

So you can help!

My likes:

  • Young Adult fiction (think Hunger Games, I Am Number Four) I have read those both, though, so think along those lines.
  • Humor (think David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs)
  • Chick Lit (think Jen Lancaster)

My dislikes:

  • ANYTHING TO DO WITH TWILIGHT.

Okay … go!  What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Comments { 13 }