An open letter to retailers

An open letter to retailers:

Hello out there – anyone listening to the consumers?  I DO NOT want to buy markers and notebooks and backpacks in July!!!!!  I don’t want to see them in your flyers, littering my mailbox with unwanted thoughts of the back to school madness.  Your one day only sales that pressure me into buying things long before class lists are ready because now I am wondering: if you are doing this in July does that mean it will all be gone by late August and I will be facing isles of Christmas wreaths and Menorahs when instead I need protractors and pencil cases?

Why when teachers and parents and children have just started to dig toes into sand dunes, are busy splashing in pools, and summer camp has just kicked off for the season, do you think for any reason that we want to be lining up for crayons and calendars?
Do you know what I want to buy now?  Bathing suits and flip-flops and fun things that float in the water.  You know – all the things that are harder to find IN THE SUMMER than Jimmy Hoffa’s body. PLEASE  – stop forcing the seasons to change months ahead of time.  Let us, the poor consumers, have a rest.  Let us enjoy the sunshine and saltwater for the brief time it lasts.

Trust me, we will be back – we love your ten-cent pencil cases.   But we don’t love them until school starts.

Sincerely your very tired and in desperate need of a break from your onslaught of marketing gimmicks (and in need of sunscreen and a beach towel) consumer,

Laura E.

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One Bad Fairy

That moment when you know that she knows that you know that she knows.  Confused yet?  Let me try this another way….

Daughter Two: “So, Mom, I’ve been having some trouble with the tooth fairy.”

Me: “What kind of trouble?” (Asked in a sing-song, Mary Poppins voice – ‘cause that’s how I roll)

Daughter Two: “Well I put my tooth under my pillow last night and the tooth fairy didn’t come.  AGAIN.”

Me (feigning surprise): “Oh, you put that under your pillow already? “

I should note that at this point she is glaring at me like something from “Evil Dead” and I am realizing that there is a very good reason that second children have an actual syndrome named after their status in life.  Thank GOD I was a first born.

Daughter Two: “Yes, yes I did.  And once again she is late.  MAYBE she’ll make it tonight.”

Final piercing glare then exit, stage left.

And then I knew.  I knew that she knew that I knew that she KNEW.   We were there – that delicate crossroad in life when the fairy tale ends but no one is ready to say the words.   She knew that the fairy wasn’t delayed because of a volcanic explosion in Iceland that grounded all creatures of flight or late by a couple of days because she had a broken wing.   Uh-huh, before you ask, used them both and few more.  Like I said above – second child syndrome is real for a reason.

So bittersweet is that moment of knowing, for both of us.  Because now I know that she knows that I definitely suck as a fairy.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make some interest payments on an enamel coated dentin blob.

Five Dollar Pizza From Heaven

Every now and again the universe sends you exactly what you need in the seconds before you think all is lost. In my case it was a piping hot $5.00 pizza from Price Chopper. Now you are most likely thinking to yourself right about now that I need to step up my expectations in life if this is my version of Heaven. Just read.

Won’t bore you with the minutia of my endless Friday but here’s the condensed overview: Awake at 5:00am after a couple of hours of sleep, get kids up, ready, out, work, errands, run Girl Scout meeting, pick up rest of the pack from babysitter, home, more errands, and then St. Patrick’s day grocery shopping. That brings us to the moments before my manna from Heaven (if manna comes with tomato sauce and a heavy handed layer of mozzarella).

Picture three tired children along with their cranky mom (insert my face) on their way to the second grocery store because first one did not have all of the necessary Irish accoutrements for our upcoming celebrations. It’s after 8pm; no one has eaten, and trust me when I say that doesn’t make anyone in this family any nicer. The wall of glass slides open and in we walk to be greeted by a woman in a flowing robe and a halo. Okay – the children are saying that she was in a Price Chopper polo shirt and the light over her head was the glare off the donut case but hey, we all see what we want, right?

Anyway…..in we walk to find this angel (a.k.a. underpaid Price Chopper employee) approaching us with a box held regally before her. Angels sang as she asked us, “Would you like a fresh, hot, five dollar pizza tonight?”

And there it was – the one thing I didn’t have to think about taking care of on our never-ending Friday. Dinner. Gifted to us from a woman who had to be Heaven sent. Wasn’t the best pizza we’ve ever had, nor was it the worst, but last night it was the most appreciated pizza I’ve ever eaten.

Pizza

Bring out yer dead…..

Okay, not quite our dead but we are in the midst of a great purge of unessential extras.  A family of five can rack up a lot of extra “stuff” in a very short period of time.  My son can actually accumulate a roomful of items in a matter of minutes.  It’s a gift.  And not a good one.

Purging the worldly goods is cleansing for both house and soul.  For ourselves it is easier to function, work, and create when the clutter is no longer taking up both time and attention.  For our home, it is easier to upkeep when there are not mountains of things to move in order to clean, repair, and maintain.

This year we are doubling our purging efforts due to the combined annual spring cleaning coupled with an upcoming move.  The more we get rid of, the less I have to pack and carry.   It’s simple mathematics really.   Cleaning – accumulated riff raff * stuff + charity =  happy + me

This year we asked ourselves a new clean out question.  How many ways are there to get rid of your stuff while still maintaining sanity and being ecofriendly?  Turns out quite a few.

GARAGE SALE:  Well this one was first for us and I can now tell you it is a great way to meet people, get rid of stuff, make some money, and hang with the neighbors all at one time.   We partnered with a couple of neighbors and held the sale between two driveways.  Garage salers are early birds so we held our sale from 8 to noon and we still had a few people show up by 7:45.  Yes, in the morning.  It’s a lifestyle choice.

Apparently “multi-family sale” is a hot ticket on the garage sale circuit so if you can join forces I highly recommend this approach.  This is recycling at it’s best.  Our sold items are now “new to you” items for our customers and we get to know that things like the baby stroller and toddler toys are going to receive more love.

If you want to make a party of it, along with bringing in some extra coin, I would recommend having the kids set up a coffee/lemonade/muffin stand to address your customers potential snack needs.  And definitely a pitcher of mimosa for you and the neighbors.

DONATION CENTERS:     Super ecofriendly and charitable way to rotate goods.  There are oodles of organizations that would love to take your unwanted items off your hands.   Our extra clothes, toys, household items, and furniture made their way to the Salvation Army via the back of my truck but if you don’t have the means to get your stuff up and out many places will come and get it for you.   Make sure that the things you are donating are in fair to excellent condition.  Some things really do need to go in the garbage.

Along with feeling good about giving our items to a good cause comes the added bonus of a tax write off.   If you donate don’t forget to get a receipt!   Here is a quick tip-of-the-iceberg list of places you can contact to donate your own household items:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • American Legion
  • Local churches and religious organizations.

You can do an online search or check the phonebook (yes, some people still use them) for local branches and other non-profit organizations.   FYI – you can also donate cars, boats, and even houses if you are in a really big purge mode!

FREE:  We had a couple of big items that we didn’t want to keep, didn’t want to pack, and didn’t want to donate.   Right…..so what did we do with them?  We opted for a “if you can move it you can have it” approach with friends and neighbors.   Everyone wins and we can still “visit” our stuff.

RECYCLE CENTER:  Some items have been used to death, literally, so we had no choice but to throw them out.   Instead of tossing them in the trash can we separated by plastic, paper, etc. for disposal at the local recycling center.  Less waste for everyone. Plus who knows?  Maybe in the not too distant future we will be driving a car made from my old planters.

SWAP PARTY:  While we didn’t go this route it is definitely something I want to try in the future.   Get a group of friends and their stuff together and everyone can switch out their old items for “new” toys, clothes, and gadgets.   When we try this it will be a potluck and swap.   Hmmmm, maybe a nice way to get some new serving dishes….

So, now we have cleared our stuff to let creativity flow and floor space appear.  Take a look around your own place and see what’s needed and what’s holding back your happy.  Then find a fun, easy way to get it out of your home!

p.s. – If you don’t recognize the quote from the post heading you need to download Monty Python’s Holy Grail immediately.  Your life has been missing something. Go.  Do it.  Now.

Oh the things we will find….

Sun dappled water rippled in the pond.  Lilting laughter drifted over grassy fields while city dwellers took in the warmth, perched comfortably on blanket islands spread across the green slopes.  Camera in hand, a wandering we went…….

The purple puffs of Dr. Seuss dreams.

Can you hear Horton hearing a Who?

Long hop to nowhere….

Fish out of water.

P is for Panda

Bonus quick joke post courtesy of my offspring (in keeping with the potty theme of the day):

Why should you never invite a Panda for dinner?

Because all it does is eat, shoots, and leaves.

i is for interrupt

I’m interrupting my regular A to Z Challenge post with some exciting news.  Well – it’s exciting for me and anyone eating at our place.  For the rest of you it’s really just an interesting FYI and possibly a reason to turn down a dinner invitation.   I won a contest on another blog I follow!  YEAH!!!!!

The Family Dinner Project is a great blog with a mission to bring people together over the dining table.  It’s not a revolutionary concept – just one that needs some revisiting in today’s hectic world.

Below is a copy of today’s post from their site:

Embarrassing Dinner Habit Contest: We Have a Winner!

Posted on: April 10th, 2012 by Allissa

In response to our “Most Embarrassing Dinner Habit” contest, we received some wonderfully funny and honest submissions. They ranged from watching movies while eating, to serving-up fast food, to finding wads of meat beneath your children’s plates.

Thank you so much for sharing your stories! We thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and could definitely sympathize with many of these habits. In fact, we’ve even examined similar habits in our recent blog posts. For example, in her post about picky eaters, Dr. Anne Fishel gives advice on how to encourage kids to try new foods. And this Family Blog post by a reader named Kim contains several interesting meal-planning ideas.

But now for the contest winner! (Drum roll, please!) After careful deliberation, we decided that an entry about “gross-out” dinner conversation took the contest cake. As Laura describes, during dinner, each member of her family shares the grossest story from their day.

Embarrassing? Sure. But it’s a great example of how using unique conversation starters can get kids talking. Congratulations to Laura, who will be receiving a $100 supermarket gift card!

We’ll be announcing our next contest next week, so definitely be on the look out. In the meantime, please enjoy Laura’s winning entry:

“I would like to preface this entry by noting that our embarrassing dinner habit started out with really good intentions.  To encourage family communication a few years back, we started having our children tell us something interesting about their day at dinner time. 

We used a round table format and each of us (hubby and I included) would mention something that happened or something we saw/read/etc.  Somehow, this has morphed into telling the grossest story you can.  Topics range from school friends who can get milk through their nose on command (okay—truth moment—so can my oldest daughter) to someone’s gory injury to anything my husband has seen at work (he works in the wastewater industry – enough said). 

The kids love it, and occasionally someone from the “under 12” friend pool is allowed to participate…but we don’t really talk about family dinner with any friends we want to keep.”

http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/project-team/#