Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pickle Relish Sandwich

This morning my daughter made a pickle relish and ketchup sandwich for her lunch. I've never seen her do that before.

"Honey, do you want some ham on that?" I said.

"No, I don't like ham."

"but you want a pickle relish sandwich?"

Child rolls her eyes at mother.

"Well, okay," I say, "I get it, I love pickle relish too."

Yeah, I made pickle relish sandwiches in college. Because I was broke. Developed a taste for them. I don't know if the kids have ever caught me still doing that, in the corners of their lives.

Right now I have peanut butter and jam in the house, and ham, and tortellini, salad stuff, ritz crackers, several containers of restaurant leftovers, and sufficient cash for school lunch. But my daughter wants a pickle relish sandwich.

Good think there are no rich people police.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Money leads to character weakness

It's a heat wave, so we have ants in the kitchen. Captain Awesome is out of town at some conference in Tampa, and I'm worn out. So I took the kids out to dinner, why not? There's a little Americana place in town I've always wanted to try, a place the Captain thinks looks bland. The owner/chef was praised in some ten-year-old restaurant review for his Osso Buco, and I still want to know what Osso Buco is.

I think it has something to do with ox, I told my kid. No, that's not quite right.

Anyway, it was lovely. Surprisingly lovely. Dinner at home I'm the full-time conversation and anti-poke police. "Listen to her. Let him have his turn. That wasn't necessary. That was mean. Your space goes from the crack in the table to the corner." Instead, unexpectedly--the meal at the restaurant was like eating out with friends you love, who are shorter than usual. Glad to chat about their various areas of interest and expertise, and no need for me to hub or police the conversation. And one of them colors on her paper placemat a little bit, like that mathematician you know.

Considering what I was expecting, I'm not sure why I took them out. The pleasure of the experience certainly blunted the pain when the $100 bill arrived.

And so much easier to kill ants in an unused kitchen when we got home.

Then somehow it snowballed after that. We're out of bread, let's go out to lunch. I don't want to make sloppy joes, let's go get chinese food. I simply stopped cooking.

It was at the Italian place, hundreds of dollars spent unnecessarily later, that I gracelessly announced tomorrrow was Fast Sunday. The only thing on the back of my mind was my abandoned diet.

"What?" said my teenager, "We shouldn't be eating now!"

Oh. whoops.

I couldn't believe how my stomach growled at church, contracting after too much eggplant parmesan and crusty bread.

That's also when I realized I had also missed, had completely spaced-out forgotten, the week-ahead women's session of General Conference.

I've been so proud of the things I've done, to make this family, this quirky family, work on its own resources and strengths. My cooking family meals was one of my prides. I would have said cooking was a choice and a necessity. But seeing how, at the chance, I repeatedly didn't just didn't bother, I'm concerned about what other choices, weak choices, I'll be letting happen now. Now that I have the option.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mr Gosh-I'm-Bored, shut down this blog.

Okay, so I'm unintentionally not so good at being nice. And several people have figured out who I am, though I was supposed to be doing this anonymously. So, I'll probably be shutting down

Friday, September 26, 2008

A swing in my step.

So, my five-carat friend took me shopping again. To Nordstrom Rack. Since I spend too much on jeans at the Gap and not enough on t-shirts at Target, she's taken me under her wing. What I've been doing is not a grown-up way to dress, and it doesn't hide my paunch.

I did figure out a couple years ago I dress just like the nannies on this side of town. Except the nannies do iron their t-shirts. On the other side of town, the nannies are young glamourous Europeans dressed for a Vogue photo shoot.

What they do have a lot of at Nordstrom Rack, besides shirts with buttons, is shoes. I scored a pair of Bjorn sandals.

Yesterday I wore my new t-shirt dress (fashion baby steps) with the new sandals and carried my Rich Lady Bag. I felt kinda...cute. Or better than cute: a little elegant. And tall--I can't explain that, the sandals are flat.

So, I ended up in this office waiting room, every one who arrived before me having taken the few available chairs. I just stood--the only one standing--and held my fancy bag and felt like Audrey Hepburn, happy with myself. After awhile, one of the guys stood up and moseyed over to another standing place. It took me a few beats to realize he was freeing up a chair. I waited a few beats more to see if he meant it, and then I sat.

Somehow it was a little bit like a hand-off in a spy movie. He could give me his seat, as long as he wasn't, acknowledged to be, you know, giving me his seat. No eye contact.

Fortunately, none of us waited too long after that. I had probably been more comfortable standing in my deceptively cute hiking sandals than he was standing in his dress shoes. I couldn't thank him, since it never happened, but it did make me feel quite lovely.

And quite up to being the wife of Capt. Awesome.

I venture into the electronics store.

Last time I looked at big screen TVs, which was a theoretical exercise, they had to have a 18" cube media box attached by wire nearby, to interpret the signal. Capt. Awesome said it wasn't like that anymore, but I didn't believe him. So today I went and looked at TVs that hang on the wall.

They don't have a media box. Yeah, you all already knew that. The clerk who helped me thought I was a little crazy to think so, but he was probably in high school last time I looked at TVs.

They all hang on the wall, they all can be angled to be seen from a couch, they all did whatever I asked about. The clerk was very kind, though you could tell he thought I was just off the boat.

Which I am.

Azucar has good things to say about DVR, so I'm thinking about that too.

I didn't buy a TV today. I'll want one in the new house, so I needed to know what parameters these TVs have. I thanked the clerk and enthused to his manager about how helpful he'd been. Rich people who don't buy things have responsibilities.


In other technology news, my teenagers were sharing an iPod tonight, though in our family now everyone owns their own iPod. Anyhow, they were sharing, each with one of the earbuds, singing along to each other. Drove the rest of us in the car a little crazy, since we couldn't hold a conversation, but the rest of us were younger sibs who still worship the teens, and me who thinks singing teenagers are sweet.

Bad form to be jealous?

I am totally digging the fact that excellent writer/bloggers whom I stalk are commenting on my blog, to console with me on my good fortune, and even leaving comments! I don't want to drop names and further rub in the perks I'm enjoying with my new wealth, but let's just say someone looked up from her navel long enough to look at me.
"This is entertaining, but I don't know if I can read your blog because I'm SO. JEALOUS. Seriously. Is that bad form to say?"
How could it be bad form to say "SO. JEALOUS."? We both know *I* started the bad form by talking about the money AT ALL.

Let's face it: we all know the correct Mormon way to be rich is to be indistinguishable from anyone else in the ward in a quietly conservative way, and more polite, and then to finance secretly other people's missions. Put on your financial burka, sister!

But I won't. Or rather, I won't be properly reserved while anonymous on the internet.

Besides, I'm probably going to drive you all crazy by not doing the things with the money that you would do.

But the real skinny is, and I only tell you this because you might be called to visit teach some poor little rich sister, I do hate it that you're jealous. Totally uncomfortable. Because I am so uncomfortable with myself.

So far I am not fulfilling any of the good-behavior fantasy guidelines I had worked up for rich people. And I am growing mightily uneasy, despite Capt. Awesome's steady assurances, that I am not measuring up for what is expected of a rich man's wife.

Bad form?!! Bad form would be to stop visiting my blog. Come often. Advise me what to do. Ask questions. Though believe me, money has not made me smart.

The Jeans Industrial Complex

I own one pair of jeans. I hate shopping, and until recently I didn't have a lot of money. But I did splurge on the jeans. I went straight to the Gap, where they would have something that fit, that would made me look good, and that would look like it was from the current decade. Whether or not I know what the current decade looks like.

I wear the jeans nearly every day. I wash them once or twice a week.

Yeah, I still haven't gotten around to buying a second pair. Or rather, I did, and my teenage daughter took them. She didn't mean to--they were mixed up in the laundry. So now she's wearing another pair of mid-rise slightly-loose-on-her jeans, bringing her total up to 3. Do you think I want to take her to a store and mess up that?

Also, this amuses me because I have to buy my jeans while she's at school and then hide the bag. Because my daughter disapproves of The Gap. She's concerned (and rightly so) about labor abuse in third world countries. [check out the comments, we have exonerated the Gap, and I am now shopping there guilt free.] Fortunately, she doesn't look at the labels of jeans that just show up in her laundry basket.

Recently I raised all the children's allowances significantly. Now she has to buy her own clothes. She likes clothes, but she's virtuously not shopping. Something to do with the carbon footprint.

I bought a couple t-shirts at Target this week. $6.48 each. I don't know what human suffering that's predicated on. But to solve the problem of clothing myself when I was just out to buy a crockpot was more than I could pass by.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In which I write a check for a whole lotta money, and look like an idiot

Even though I was only moving money from one bank to another, that's definitely the biggest check I've ever written. You'd think such an event would have my undivided attention, licensing neglect of everything else. But no. Mostly my brain is full of how to pick up children from schools on opposite sides of town, and when am I going to make dinner.

Me, to bank clerk: this is my account number. Would you confirm I'm putting this into my own account, an account with my name on it?

Guy in suit: okay, just a minute

Me: I think the account is filed under my financial advisor. (note: the account is NOT in the advisor's name. but they don't treat advisor accounts like normal accounts.)

Guy in suit: What is your advisor's name.

Me: /blink. blink.

I had just come from a meeting with my advisor. Isn't his name Bob? But then the mortgage guy is Bob. The real estate agent tasked with finding our million dollar house is Bob. And the accountant has always been Bob. What is it with all the white guys named Bob?

Guy in suit: Well, what company is your advisor with?

Me: uh. uh. Fidiciarysomething?

Guy in suit: Ah, Famous Fiduciary Empire that owns the big building in the city?

Me, miserable, and horrified by the thought of Empire touching my money: No, this is a smaller company. Fidush, Fidush, Fidush...

it's not coming back to me.

Guy in suit: well where is your advisor's office?

Me: uh, outside of town, one of the suburbs...

Dang, which suburb was it? It was one of those nice suburbs--was it the one to the east, or the north? Dang, if I could remember which direction I would know. But I've never been there.

I think about telling Guy I just came from a meeting with my advisor, in the coffee house down the street. But I'm feeling like too much an idiot. At the moment I don't know the name of the person I have investing my money. From what I know, I can't prove he even has an office--I've certainly never been there. Add to this the fact that my husband, my advisor, and etc., are all Mormon, this is starting to look like a classic Utah con job, without the actual Utah. But my husband has known Bob, or whatever his name is, for years, since back in college, and chose him to be our advisor back when I was still cooking up with 47 ways to eat our food storage.

Guy in suit, glancing at change his computer screen: Ah, here is your account. Yes, your name and Capt. Awesome's name are on it. And your advisor, Bob of Fiduciary Twoguys.

Me: Thank you. May I have a receipt?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Education Specialist Today.

Today I'm taking my son to an education specialist. He's struggled in school. Looked like dyslexia sometimes to me. Teacher thought it was ADD. That was miserable--she has me convinced now that everyone in the family has ADD.

My son seems so bright to us. But it doesn't show up in his work. He could pass third grade if it were an oral defense. He hates, however, to write anything down.

I couldn't afford an intervention before. Yeah, I know that supposedly you can get one in any economic bracket. I'm not good at arranging things like that. In this case, I'm grateful to be rescued by the money.

Edited to add: The office called and the doctor had an emergency to attend to. So, hope and anticipation for another day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How I didn't lose any money in the stock market

Dumb Luck

More money than I care to admit, and none of it in the stock market.

Since we're shopping for a house, we have all our money in money market funds, through Fidelity and Charles Schwab. We wanted the money to be pretty liquid, so when we find a house, we can bid on it immediately.

We haven't found the house yet. So the money's just been parked. The money was "not working," as they say. And that's why we didn't lose 10% to 15% of it like everyone else.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ikea lets me down

Today, while my children were at school, I decided to drive out to Ikea. We have broken too many of our plates, and now I can't set a matching table unless I get out my grandmother's dishes. Which I do every Sunday, but I don't want to break them with ordinary use.

I love my Ikea plates. White with a blue-gray rim. $3.00 a plate. And Pokal 12-ounce glasses, less than a dollar each.

Ikea discontinued my plates.

They're making the plates in new colors, a lovely robin's egg blue that clashes with what I have. And the new plates are bigger instead—13" across.  We'll all get fat filling plates that large.  And they cost more than twice as much.

And Ikea hasn't, according to the helpful clerk, had my Pokal in stock for months.  So we're still drinking out of mason jars.

I'm going to have to start all over again, with new everyday dishes.

Edited to add: Dishes acquired! 12 Fitz & Floyd white porcelain dinner plates, under $50. We can use them with the bowls, etc. I already have. I was proud of myself for not letting the teens bully me again out of all-white plates.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What the Riche learn at the Health Club

I'm keeping up with my daily cable television goals by going to the health club. I started going in the morning because that's when the music videos play, and I'm still kind of a dope with my new iPod. I've got two albums in there: the first Killers, and Weird Al. Guess which one I want to replace with ten hours of J-Pop. Sorry Al.

So my video news for the day is that Pink has a new Word of Wisdom commercial out called Sober. The video includes a European landmark, which I recognized from my Grand Tour this summer. I am so trés cosmopolitan! Though I've never barfed in a toilet like Pink does.

I am now resolved, not only to wear the magic girly brown t-shirt for workouts, but also the push-up bra I accidently wore this morning. Because thinking it is possible that I look good in one of those unavoidable mirrors is much more motivating than free cable music videos.

And hey, at least I'm not wearing make-up.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I thought I'd be thinner.

One of the first things I thought, was, that now I could lose weight. I'm carrying an extra 30 pounds in the last five years: my faux pregnancy, my stress weight.

And why not lose the weight? I can buy strawberries out of season. I can join the gym. My stress should be gone. No reason for me to still be so not myself.

It would just drop off, right?

Four months, and I can't seem to make it to the gym. Or even on a daily walk. I keep eating stuff. I can't concentrate. And my weight, of course, hasn't changed an ounce.