Friday, November 30, 2012

I Opted Out of Gifts - to Mixed Reviews

Finance and Frugality Friday

About 10 years ago I realized that I was giving and receiving many gifts that were, well, disappointing. A book of poetry from my sister prompted me to reconsider the whole notion of gift giving (and receiving). My sister doesn't like poetry. I don't like poetry. When I opened my birthday gift I felt my face drop and I felt instantly guilty for being disappointed. My sister read the look on my face and she apologized.

"I went to the bookstore to pick out something for you and then Jack called and I had to bring some important papers to his office right away and I thought the cover was pretty and I had to get you a present -"

That's where I cut her off.

"You had to buy me a present?"

We were both silent a moment, considering how it made gift-giving seem like a teeth cleaning.

Then I suggested, "What if we just skip the gifts from now on and meet for lunch?"

Her face lit up. As a busy wife and mother she agreed that finding time to have lunch together to visit and catch up would be a more mutually beneficial than running an errand to buy a gift for each other.

So I took this idea family- and friend-wide. Over the next few weeks I contacted all the people I would normally exchange gifts with and gave them my speech.

"I hope you understand that I'm feeling overwhelmed financially and I'm suggesting we no longer exchange gifts and just enjoy each other's company as we always have during the holidays."

Sometimes I had to explain a bit more or answer a follow-up question, but the overall reaction was

"That sounds great! You take me off your gift list and I'll take you off mine and I can't wait to see you at (insert our normal gathering here). What a great idea!"

Grandma Grey (whom I named for) was my only stubborn holdout.

"You don't have to get me anything, but I've already made my gift arrangements for this year." She miffed quite shortly.

"I understand and I hope you mean it when you say I don't have to get you anything. Thanks, Grandma and I'll see you next week."

She sent me an Amazon e-gift card. It was very much appreciated and I sent her a very heartfelt, hand-written thank you note on the note paper I bought with the gift card. And you know? The next year all I got from her was a lovely Christmas card with a personal holiday greeting inside. Best present ever.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Every Wife Needs a Wife

Homemaking Thursday

Now that our wonderful friend Mora has moved into our guest suite I am reaping the benefits. I have a list on the side of the frig that lists each day of the week and the associated homemaking chores specific to that day. Mora saw the list and did the Wednesday chores! <gasp> I'm almost speechless with happiness.

Because let's get real. Rob is a great husband. He's kind and generous and he loves me and the dogs and our home. But he has never, ever done a domestic chore without being asked first. Never. So for me to come home after working all day at my boring desk job and have the doggie nose prints cleaned from the back door and the kitchen trash emptied made my heart sing.  I feel like I have a wife. Is this what it's like to have a wife? This is great! I highly recommend everyone have a wife at home.

I wonder how I can get her to make a nice tuna casserole for dinner tonight?



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Magic Number 5

Health and Wellness Wednesday

Yesterday in my The Woman I Want to Be Tuesday post I lamented my large body and how lumbering and uncomfortable I am inside it. I made a goal and I'd like to restate that goal here again, today.

I want my goal to be simple, measureable, and public.

My magic number is 5.

5 hours a week of exercise

5 days a week no booze

There was also a blurb yesterday about three to four small, healthful meals a day, but that doesn't fit nicely into my magic number 5 theme, so I'll disregard it. Hmmm, what if I changed it to 5 tiny meals a day? OK.

5 hours a week of exercise

5 days a week no booze
5 minutes meditation every day

5 tiny meals a day

There it is.

I like this almost as much as I like the 50/30/20 budget.

Happy Health and Wellness Wednesday

p.s. I need a chiropractor.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Forget the Goals?

The Woman I Want to Be Tuesday

I read a blog post about ditching all the goals and just, you know, being. It appealed to me very, very much. Until I went to yoga last night. We were doing table pose (Google it) and the sight of my poochy belly up in the air made me feel… ooky. This is not okay with me. As much as I want to eat, drink, and be merry, I cannot feel good about my body being this big.

So, as part of being the woman I want to be, I want to publicly declare my one and only goal. I will feed and exercise my body for health and in order to reflect my inner self. This is not about a number on a scale, but a desire to look as beautiful on the outside as I feel on the inside.

How can I measure the success of this goal? Good goals must be measureable. Hmmm…

I will abstain from alcohol 5 days a week.

I will exercise for 1 hour, 5 days a week.

I will eat three to four small, healthful meals a day.  

Let's do this.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Mora Moves In

Marriage and Relationship Monday

Happy Monday after my extended holiday break. In the past 2 weeks major changes have happened at our house. Our new master bathroom is complete and fabulous. Big Dog and Little Dog are happy that the workers are gone. But the biggest change is Mora. She's our dear friend we met a few years ago who grew up, went to college, and then lived most of her 20s in the same town. When we relocated away from her we offered to let her move in with us if she'd ever like to try her luck in a new town. And she did it.

After 18 months of thinking about it she quit her go-nowhere job, kissed her college friends goodbye, and loaded her wardrobe and photo albums into her Honda Accord and set off to drive to over 2000 miles all by herself. She arrived on our doorstep exhausted and exhilarated.

A special welcome to our new family member, Mora. How will a new person affect my marriage and relationships? Stay tuned.

My Marriage Gives Me the Freedom to be Selfish

Marriage and Relationships Monday

Because of Rob's very, very stable and lucrative job I have a very annoying freedom. I have the freedom to complain and whine because the safety net that covers our basic needs is always there. When I studied Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs I realized that my marriage to Rob satisfies the top three. My physiological needs (food & clothing), safety needs (shelter), and love/belonging needs (friendship, family, sexual intimacy). 

And while I am responsible for maintaining these relationships that feed these needs, they are essentially taken care of. So where does that leave me? It leaves me complaining. Dreaming, planning, scheming yes, but also lots of complaining.

"I'm not fulfilled and challenged at work."

"We should eat all organic, made-from-scratch meals every night."

"I should be ____________ (thinner or more fit or more flexible or kinder or whatever my current obsession is)."

When I was in my 20s and I had a job that met my basic needs I spent every waking hour searching for the love/belonging needs. I never worried about the environment or how much I weighed. I realize now that once I satisfied that need in my marriage with Rob I find myself floundering and feeling a bit adrift. What now? I'll keep you posted.