Monday, November 30, 2009

She's Come Undone


Shortened version of this story published in Wasatch Woman Magazine, December 2010 
(click HERE for the link)

I watched my dad open the box on his dresser, looking for the fingernail clippers I had asked to borrow.  It had been strange, his reaction to my request.  He had hesitated - longer than I thought such a simple request warranted - and had agreed only under the condition that the clippers would never leave his sight.  This behavior was out of character for my mild-mannered Dad; I should have heeded the big red flag he was waving and left the room immediately.  But instead, I stayed to observe my dad's temporary undoing. Discovering that the clippers were not in the box, Dad  proceeded to twitch, rant, rave, fume, gesture - and even utter strange noises.
 
Dad had officially fallen off his rocker.

Over a pair of nail clippers?  Give me a break. So juvenile.  So ridiculous.  So unnecessary.  I was twelve, and determined then and there that my children would never be subjected to such displays of parental lunacy.  Ever.

It began subtly, the disappearance of everyday household items.  Scissors.  Tape.  Pens and pencils.   At first, I attributed it to the onset of senility brought on by having five children in rapid succession.  But when the misplaced items were recovered in places such as kids bedrooms and backpacks, my suspicions shifted towards my children.  I forced myself to face the ugly truth that my kids were less than perfect.  Deviant, even.

Like any concerned parent, I took action.  Lovingly, I explained to my children why items needed to be returned to their rightful places after use.  The next week, an entire box of markers disappeared.  Sternly, I laid out the consequences should particular items not be found in their proper places. Soon afterwards, my daughter came in the house wielding a spoon and knife she had found partially buried under a tree in the backyard.  Menacingly, I attached even larger penalties to specific infractions.  A few weeks later, as I opened the hatch of my Suburban in the Target parking lot, something caught my eye.  It was one of our cordless phones, lying on the rear bumper.  How it hadn't fallen off in transit I'll never know.  Regrettably, that particular infraction hadn't been on the list I had presented to my kids.

I started to put items deemed most-likely-to-disappear in hard-to-access places.  Kids moved chairs, boxes -  whatever it took - and accessed them.  I hid things.  The kids organized search parties until all lost items were safely recovered.  I refused to replace things such as Scotch tape - we actually went without it for quite a while until my pride got in the way.  It became a little embarrassing to send kids to birthday parties bearing gifts adorned with wrapping paper and packing tape.  I even offered duplicates.  My teenage daughter received both a hair dryer and straightener for Christmas, so I was puzzled when mine went missing again so quickly.  Turns out I hadn't figured quality into the equation.  If the replacements aren't of equal or greater value to the original items, they are of no practical use to the recipients.

My patience officially disappeared along with my makeup, leaving me desperate for a workable solution.  My daughter's upcoming fourteenth birthday provided me with what would surely solve the problem once and for all.   My Mary-Kay-Consutant-Sister-in-Law could help with the perfect gift - cosmetics infinitely superior to mine.  Blissfully, I watched as my daughter was transformed numerous times in front of the bathroom mirror, testing various makeup shades and application techniques.  Genius, I congratulated myself.

A week later,  my favorite eye shadow was not in its proper drawer.  Or any other drawer in the bathroom. Or in my closet.  Or purse. Twitching, I stepped into the hallway, walking in a trance towards my oldest daughter's room.  I began to rant, rave, fume, guesture, and - yes - even utter strange noises.

I had officially come undone.

Even in my altered state, I remained lucid enough to notice my children's wide eyes as they cautiously peeked out their bedroom doors.   I was suddenly twelve years old again, watching my own dad's unhinging.  Feeling utterly sheepish, I had two startling realizations.

One, I finally understood my dad's nail clipper episode.

Two, I knew exactly what my children were thinking.



Saturday, October 17, 2009

Curiosities

Host Seth Part I:  The Curious Bumps
Seth shows Mom a curious patch of bumps on his stomach.  After determining that they don't hurt, Mom ignores the problem until she guilts herself into taking Seth to the doctor.  Diagnosis: Warts.  Cure: "Beetle Juice," carefully dabbed on every wart with the warning that it will cause blisters, which may be somewhat uncomfortable come nightfall.  Turns out "somewhat uncomfortable" actually means "tortuously painful."  Seth, through his sobs, exclaims, "I wish I'd NEVER gone to the doctor!"  One month later, a few scabs left, Seth prays fervently that the warts never return.  If they do, the only way Mom will ever get Seth back in for more Beetle Juice is if he's rendered completely unconsious.

Host Seth Part II:  The Curious Lump
In the garage one day, Seth tries to take a small stick away from Caleb, who defends his position by whacking Seth on the head.  Seth's crying is a little out of proportion to the minor blow he has just received, so Dad looks more closely at Seth's forehead and discovers that the skin has broken over a curious lump of unknown origin.  Caleb did not cause this lump, so Dad brings Seth into the bathroom and proceeds to perform investigative surgery - with Tweezers.  Dad discovers a foreign object embedded in Seth's forehead.  The skin has grown over it, and Seth's body is in the process of absorbing the object right into his head.  Dad pulls, twists, struggles, and eventually wins, extracting a chunk of wood about the size of a large tooth - root and all - out of Seth's forehead.

Host Seth Part III:  The Curious Conspiracy
Thanks to Beetle Juice, Tweezers, and Mom and Dad's Astute Mental Prowess, the entire Human Race avoids Certain Destruction.  Having not been born yesterday, Mom and Dad are fooled by the Warts and Wood Chunk not at all.  They recognize the old Alien-Brain-Disguised-as-Warts-and-When-That-Doesn't-Work-a-Wood-Chunk-Implanting-Itself-into-a-Superior-Human-Host-so-Its-Species-Can-Take-Over-the-World Trick when they see it.

The Aliens clearly don't research their victims well.  They have no idea who they're messing with.

Bring it on, Aliens.  Mom, Dad, and Superior Human Host Seth are ready for your next move - whatever that may be.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Serious Problems

The first words that come out of the kids' mouths when they come home from school usually represent the most important/most traumatic/most exciting thing that happened to them that day. So I try to listen carefully and show whatever type of empathy the situation requires. Try is the key word.

This past week I heard something new. Emma, as she plopped herself into the van when I picked her up from 1st grade, with a high degree of emotion, declared,

"I had SERIOUS, SERIOUS problems with the glue bottle today! First it squirted out too much, then I got too little. It was a MAJOR problem!"

I said what I could to show empathy while mentally rolling my eyes at the drama of it all.

When we got home, I looked closely at Emma's face. Both her chin and her cheek had large patches of dried glue on them - the kind that you can peel off like a second skin.

Emma had not been exaggerating (much). Apparently, that glue bottle had given her some serious, serious problems.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost Picture Perfect


In a futile attempt to de-clutter a junk drawer near our computer, I pulled out a picture from far in the back and laughed until I cried.  Eagerly, I placed the picture in a conspicuous spot on the kitchen counter and waited in anticipation.  High drama would in all likelihood occur as soon as my daughter walked in the front door after a long day at junior high school.  I was not disappointed. 
            When I saw my daughter’s best friend come into the kitchen with her, I couldn’t believe my luck; I could not have orchestrated a more perfect scenario!  My daughter’s friend saw the picture first and was a split second faster than her.  She grabbed the picture and dashed through the house, desperately trying to keep it away from my daughter, who was clearly bent on its immediate destruction.  Her friend prevailed.  Defeated and distraught with the prospect of the picture being circulated at school the next day, my daughter stomped into the kitchen ready for a fight.  “Mom,” she demanded, “Why did you ever let me take that picture?  How could you have let me wear those clothes?  My hair looked awful!  I’m so embarrassed!  Why would a mom DO such a thing?!” Since she was a highly-emotional thirteen-year-old, I thought it wise to let her vent for a few minutes and eat a snack as she decompressed.  Then I cautiously took her for a walk down memory lane.
            Once a year, I drag my kids to the picture studio for individual and group pictures.  Since all of the pictures are displayed on the same wall, I naturally prefer that they wear coordinating outfits.  I try to keep things simple, so when my daughter was eleven years old, I had decided that each child would wear a different pastel-colored golf shirt.  It seemed easy enough, and since she was insistent on making her own choices, I was relieved that my daughter had two different shirts from which to choose.  My relief was short-lived.  She regarded those shirts with upmost disdain, adamantly refusing to wear either one of them.  I was determined otherwise, and a heated argument ensued.  The discussion soon morphed into her accusing me of numerous injustices I had allegedly committed against her, most of which revolved around me always telling her what to do and never letting her decide for herself.  It got ugly.  I felt I had the right to tell her what to wear once a year for a picture.  She took exception.
            Half an hour later, I had won the hard-fought battle and was waiting in the car with the rest of my children for Her Highness to arrive, ridiculously late for our scheduled appointment.  I was emotionally exhausted and close to tears when I had an epiphany:  Yes, I had won the battle, but what about the war?  In the long run, my relationship with my daughter was infinitely more important than a picture that would hang on the wall for a year at most.  Fully understanding that our relationship should be top priority, my first instinct was still to hold my ground.  Hadn’t I fought a good fight and emerged victorious?  A perfectly pastel picture was firmly within my grasp!  Reluctantly acknowledging that pride had no place in this situation, I felt a weight lift off of my heart as my golf shirt clad daughter stomped into the car, slammed the door, and I was able to say to her, “Sweetheart, it doesn’t matter what you wear.  Go ahead and change into whatever you want for the picture.  I’ll wait.”  Speechless, she stared at me for several seconds and then asked, “Are you serious?”  I assured her that I was.  Five minutes later, she reemerged wearing boy jeans, a black long-sleeved sport shirt, hair slicked back into a ponytail, bangs held back with a black knit headband - and a smile.  We took the pictures and I hung them on the wall, where they remained for well over a year.
            An hour after the picture-snatching incident, the two best friends came back into the kitchen for another round of snacks.   Intent on her own food preparation, my daughter seemed oblivious to her friend’s no-food status, so her friend eventually had to ask.  Still looking down at her own food, my daughter replied, “Sure, if I can have the picture back.”  Hunger overcame reason, and the picture was returned to its rightful owner – in exchange for a piece of toast.  What I’d love to do is hang that picture on the wall – or at least scrapbook it – but I’ve hit a roadblock.  The picture has mysteriously disappeared.

P.S. As you can see, I eventually found the picture.  Kirsten now laughs about this, or I promise you the picture would NOT be here.  I've invested too much in our relationship!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BeingTutored


Last week, Jeff and I signed closing papers to sell the business that we moved out here a year and a half ago to open.  As I walked into the center right after closing the deal, I looked around at all of the posters we had stayed up well into the night to hang before opening our doors over a year ago. Collectively, the words on those posters tell our story.

DREAMS:  Jeff wanted to spend more time with his family and make a difference in the world.

INDEPENDENCE:  We also wanted financial independence, which, for us, meant stepping away from the corporate world and out into the world of small business ownership.

TRUST:  After much temple attendance and prayer, we trusted in the Lord's assurance to us that things would work out for our good.  Jeff quit his job, we bought a Huntington Learning Center franchise, and we moved to Utah.

SKILLS:  Jeff utilized all of the skills he had and developed many more as he worked to build out the business location, market, hire teachers and assistant directors, and enroll students in the center.  Susie utilized all of the skills she had and developed many more as she navigated herself and the initially unwilling kids through the emotional roller coasters of a move.

ENDURANCE:  Following an off-the-charts beginning for our business, the economy took an unexpected plunge.  As a result, most people stopped spending - at least for a while.  However, our business expenses continued to accrue.   Thus, we learned the true meaning of what it means to endure.  We pressed forward, prayed a lot, watched our bank account dwindle, worked a lot harder, and endured.

COMPREHENSION:  Business finally picked back up.  We enrolled students, had fantastic teachers, and were making a difference in the world.  Grades, ACT and SAT scores were raised dramatically.   Many lives changed, one tutoring session at a time.  This did not change the fact, however, that we had had several months of cash flow negatives before we began to break even and eventually be profitable again.  We had a decision to make:  Do we go into more debt to keep the business going, hoping for the best in the future, or do we make the decision to "unwind" the business?  Comprehending the full implications of this decision was excruciating.  Again, we took it to the Lord, and made the decision to sell - at a colossal loss.

IMAGINATION:  In our wildest imagination, this was the most dreaded, least desired outcome.

SUCCESS:  From a financial perspective, we didn't achieve it.  Clearly, the Lord had another kind of success in mind.

DISCOVERY:  We have discovered that the Lord's plan for us can be the polar opposite of what we anticipate, what we think it should be, what we want.  We have discovered the many blessings that come through adversity and financial difficulty.  These circumstances have brought our family together and strengthened us in ways I never thought possible.


YOUR CHILD CAN LEARN:  Many students who have been tutored at our center have made remarkable academic progress despite extreme challenges.  We now understand that we can make remarkable spiritual progress as a result of extreme challenges.    Carefully evaluating our experiences, I realize that the Lord never promised us financial success; in fact, our bank account balance has no correlation to eternal success.  He promised that things would work out for our good.  I humbly acknowledge that struggling financially has been for our good; it has strengthened us and increased our faith.  We have relied on the Lord more than ever before, acknowledging that all we obtain, including any success, is a gift.  Our absolute best efforts alone are truly never enough.  We will always need the help, guidance, and tutelage of the Lord, as well as the healing, renewing, and strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

We are children of God, being tutored.  No matter the circumstance, my prayer is that we'll never stop learning.
 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Facebook Conundrum

Facebook and I have been together now for about six months. We have a love/hate relationship. Really, people, who cares that you ate Cheerios for breakfast? On the other hand, I do care that someone just had a baby, or what their political views are, and I even appreciate good book recommendations. Sometimes, I purposely stay away from Facebook for a few days or even a week, reminding myself that I lived a pretty darn good life before Facebook entered in. And then I think oh no, maybe I've missed the one truly important, meaningful update of the entire week.

When such thoughts encroach, I clear my head and imagine Eliza singing to Professor Higgins:

Art and music will thrive without you
Somehow Keats will survive without you
And there still will be rain on that plain down in Spain
Even that will remain without you!

The song empowers me to stay logged off. For a while. But then I start to wonder . . .

What if one of my Facebook friends moves or becomes famous or makes an amazing casserole? How will I know without logging on?

It's a conundrum.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Backpack Battle

BACKPACK: (1) A convenient method for transporting school books and supplies back and forth between home and school ( - Mom) (2) A social and fashion statement that also transports school books and supplies back and forth between home and school ( - Kirsten)

The discrepancy between the two definitions was what launched the

Angerbauer Backpack Battle of 2009
Kirsten (13 yrs old, energetic assailant) vs.
Mom (40 yrs. old, weary defender)

Mom
1- Has no extra money to buy Kirsten a new backpack
2- Has no desire to buy Kirsten a new backpack since there were more than one available for her use
3 - Has no intention of buying Kirsten a new backpack since doing so would NOT be in keeping with the mantra "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" that the family has, out of financial necessity (plus it's a great idea), been adhering to
4 - Does nothing to prevent Kirsten from spending her own money for a new backpack (it's a free country - sometimes)

Kirsten
1 - Has no extra money to buy herself a new backpack
2 - Has no desire to use any of the backpacks available for her use (they were "ugly" or "for dudes")
3 - Despises the mantra "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" when "IT" doesn't conform to her sense of what's an acceptable fashion statement
4 - Does nothing to try and earn extra money for a backpack after she had spent her hard-earned dollars on clothes

Kirsten's Offensive Strategies:
1 - Ask Mom incessantly to buy her a new backpack
2 - Write "BACKPACK" on Mom's shopping lists
3 - Beg and plead with Mom to buy her a new backpack
4 - Explain how incredibly old or ugly available backpacks are

Mom's Defensive Strategies:
1 - No
2 - Didn't see it on the list - sorry!
3 - No
4 - That's really unfortunate, sweetheart

First Day of School:
- Kirsten goes to school without any sort of bag in which to transport supplies
- Upon returning home, Kirsten writes BACKPACK one last time on mom's shopping list

Second Day of School:
- Kirsten packs up the "dude" backpack with all of her supplies and says "Bye, Mom! I love you!" as she leaves for school
- Kirsten doesn't lose a single friend at school that day

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Big Fat Enormous Lie

Marjorie Sharmat wrote a fantastic picture book by this title, and I can't for the life of me think of a better title for this post, so hopefully Marjorie, if she ever reads this, will agree and grant me post-publishing rights to the title.

We are owners of a Wii. I have been guilty of using it as a babysitter at times, but knowing full well that playing the Wii can rot a child's brain (at least that's what I tell my kids, which scares them not at all), I have established a few WiiRules. I stick to my guns on these despite the enemy's creative, desperate, crazy, yet almost always unsuccessful attempts at battering my defenses. My kids know what they must accomplish before their 30 minute allotment of Wii time. The list is ridiculously long - according to them - and includes READING.

One of my dear children (who will remain unnamed for dignity's sake) was anxious to play the Wii. I had been at home to see this child finish most of the required pre-Wii tasks, but had to run an errand and hadn't witnessed the READING. Having learned a thing of two about parenting over the years, I decided to ask.

"Have you read today?"

"Yes. "

"For how long?"

"A LONG time, Mom"

Knowing that time perceptions can vary widely, I followed up with this simple request, "Show me what you read."

This sweet, precious child disappeared briefly and reappeared with book in hand, confident look on face. "I read the WHOLE thing!"

There are a few basic Rules of Bearing False Witness which this child apparently forgot (or perhaps had never learned). They go something like this:

If you're going to lie about a book you've read, you may want to glance at the title first and consider the fact that since your mom is a German speaker and teacher, there might be a few German books lying around the house. She may have been duped by you in the past, but telling your mom that you've read a book entitled Das Dchungel Buch is a BAD idea. Not only will you have to double your reading time that day, you will definitely NOT be playing the Wii.

And although you will give your mom a good laugh after this incident, she'll also obsess about where she's gone wrong on the lying front. You'll need to prepare yourself for at least a month's worth of Family Home Evening lessons on HONESTY.

Finally, please give yourself a small break - your lie was pretty lousy, which points to the fact that you're not likely a repeat offender. So maybe your mom will knock the four weeks down to two.

She'll let you know. After she's done laughing.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Perfect Parking Spot


Summer is not complete without swimming lessons; my kids and I all look forward to them for different reasons. The kids because the instructors are fun. Me because the instructors are also very good, and the lessons are held at an outdoor pool, giving me much-needed R&R as I lounge in the shade watching my kids. There is but one downside: Parking. The pool is nestled in the middle of a residential neighborhood, so the only parking options are in front of homes. The swim school makes it very clear not to park anywhere near the orange cones. It seems like orange cones occupy every convenient spot within any reasonable proximity to the pool, so on that day I was ecstatic to see an opening just two doors down from the pool. Feeling triumphant, I watched as the kids ran to the pool, the thought never crossing my mind that something could be amiss - the parking spot was perhaps a bit too perfect.

One hour later, six water-logged kids (four of mine, two neighbors) headed back to the car. The five older kids ran ahead, me lagging behind because my three-year-old was hanging onto my leg, screaming, insisting that I carry him. I was holding my ground. It wasn't pretty. As I limped my way towards our car, thinking how happy I was that I only had to drag my son a distance of two houses instead of two blocks, I noticed a woman standing in the shade near our car. More dragging. More screaming. I was resolute, so when the woman approached me and asked if that was my car, I distractedly answered yes, intent on winning the battle.

My son let go of my leg and stood in the middle of the sidewalk, screaming. The woman held up a piece of paper - was that a picture of my van printed on it? Wisely, I decided to give my full attention to the woman standing in front of me.

"You parked right in front of my mailbox. I missed my mail delivery this morning because of you. In fact, I'm on my way over to show this to Jessica [the owner of the swim school] right now. I missed my mail delivery because of you. What's your name?" This woman was upset. To say the least.

My immediate thoughts: Overreact much? This is so not a big deal. How long has she been standing here, waiting to ambush me? Can't she see that I''m in the middle of a war with a three-year-old? It's one day's worth of mail. One day. Sheesh.

My next thoughts: Breathe. Think. Put yourself in her shoes. This swim school has been operating since 1978. How many times has this happened to her? Probably too many to count. I very well could be the proverbial straw. Breathe again.

I had to raise my voice so she could hear me over my son's screams, "My name is Susie. I am so, so sorry. I was in a hurry, and didn't even think about it."

"It looks like someone moved the cone, but I still missed my mail delivery."

I reluctantly ceded victory to my son and picked him up. "If the cone had been there, I definitely wouldn't have parked there, but it's still completely my fault and I'm so sorry. This must happen to you all the time." I wasn't sure what else to say.

The woman turned slightly and began weeding, "Yeah, it does." We were now both at a loss for words. At a final attempt at reconciliation, I added, "Can I go pick up your mail for you at the post office later this afternoon?"

"No, you're fine. You're fine."

But I wasn't. Tears fell as I drove home. Why hadn't I realized that the cones were in front of mailboxes? What an idiot. I didn't feel like my apology had been enough, but what would be? It bothered me most of the day. Finally, at the grocery store later in the afternoon, I had an idea.

About four PM, I knocked on the woman's door with a gift bag in hand. She didn't answer, so I left it on the porch. The card in the bag said something like this:

I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to have an insensitive idiot such as myself park in front of your mailbox, preventing your mail delivery.
To ease the sting of my actions, please accept:
The Plant: You can look at it to block out the image of my car in front of your mailbox.
The Chocolate: You can eat it to get the bad taste out of your mouth when you think of me.
The Magazine: You can read it until your real mail is delivered tomorrow, and it will be, because I WON'T be parked in front of your mailbox!
I Am Truly Sorry. Susie Angerbauer

It wasn't much, but it was more than nothing, and the knot I had had in my stomach all day finally relaxed.

A few hours later, I heard the following voice mail message, "This is Lorraine, the crazy swimming pool neighbor. You are too sweet and nice. I was thinking after you left how hard and stressful it was for me when my kids were little. And your gift was just too much. I want to make sure you always have a good place to park, so please park in my driveway behind the Subaru until your swim lessons are over."

And that is how I obtained The Perfect Parking Spot.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Holy Boxers!

The two tall, gangly teenage boys were walking a dog at a park. Harmless enough, to be sure, but I couldn’t stop staring on account of their underwear. The first boy had a slight discrepancy between his actual waist and where the waist of his low-riding jeans happened to fall, resulting in about two inches of his black boxers showing. I had seen this before. I had never understood it, but I had seen it. The second boy’s discrepancy was so pronounced, so blatant, so wrong, that I literally gasped. Holy Boxers! His gap was at least eight inches, and the belt holding up those jeans actually rested below his – um - buttocks. His boxers were gray. I couldn’t imagine where that belt rested in front – or maybe I could – which is why, when I passed the boys in my car, I resisted the urge to turn my head to see how accurate my instincts were.

I had a few reactions.

First: Does the kid have a screw loose? Is he drunk? Does he think it’s cool? Has this attire proved effective at attracting girls?

Second: If any of my children ever walk down the street exposing their entire underwear-clad backside, I will never, ever, let them leave the house again.

Third: It is almost a guarantee that one or more of my children will do something equally (or more) shocking in their lifetimes. In all likelihood, I will remain blissfully unaware of said behavior - at least while it’s occurring.

Fourth: This gray-boxer-clad kid has a mom somewhere. In all likelihood, she is blissfully unaware that her son is walking down a busy street flashing his boxer-covered buttocks.

Fifth: How do I want strangers to react when they encounter one of my children doing or saying something outrageous, scandalous, or outright weird?

Sixth: I would want them to give my kids a break and remember that that kid, too, has a mom somewhere, a mom who has done her best to discourage such behavior. And would it be too much to ask that they not think that my kids are crazy or delinquent – that they’re just being teenagers, who can often be found with one screw temporarily loose?

Seventh: This kid is just being a teenager with a loving mom who is doing everything she can to help him tighten his loose screws.

Finally: A bit of fear. A touch of panic. For me and my children. When will it start? Has it already begun, me being blissfully unaware? Will I ever find out? Do I want to find out? Help.

On the way home from picking up my almost-twelve-year-old son, we passed the same boys, this time a few blocks further down the road. I kept one eye on the road and one on my son to see what kind of a reaction, if any, he would have upon seeing the gray boxers (honestly, that’s all you saw when you looked at the boy, and, yes, my instincts were right on target as to where his belt rested in front). My son glanced out the window and then whipped his head around as we passed, watching the kid for as long as he could.

Nonchalantly, I asked, “Is that weird that he’s wearing his jeans like that, or is it just me?”

“It’s definitely weird, Mom.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I just might have some time. At least when it comes to boxers and buttocks and ultra low-riding jeans.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shoestring Budgeting


It's no secret that we've been pinching pennies since we've moved here to start a business. Pinching pennies may be putting it mildly, in fact. This hasn't been lost on our children, who have reluctantly accepted our new reality. The older the child, the slower this acceptance has occurred. I knew that Emma (age 6) had arrived at this acceptance the other day in the car. She had slipped on a pair of tennis shoes that had lost its laces to go on a quick errand with me. As I was driving, I heard a tentative voice from the backseat. "Mom, I know that you try to not spend any money, so do you think that maybe we could hot glue these shoes so they'll stay on my feet?" I should have felt triumphant, but I wanted to cry. On the day that Kirsten (age 13) makes a similar suggestion, my triumph will be complete. I have the feeling I'll be waiting a long time.