Find a penny, pick it up!

Everybody’s got the answer on how to save money these days.  The problem with most of these money savings “plans” is that these people had a lot more money than I ever had to begin with, so tightening the belt for them doesn’t run the risk of not paying the electric bill.  Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m dirt poor, living on week old bread and water from the rain barrel out back.  I live pretty well and my family has the things they need, and a lot of the things they want.  But, if I read one more article about how to save money that starts out with something like “Fly coach to Milan instead of first class and save a bundle,” I swear I will puke.  So, how do I plan to save money? Excellent question.

  • Forgo a vacation.  Vacations are money pits.  You spend money that you really didn’t have on things you don’t really need.  Instead, try taking your kid to the local park and playing on the playground.  No, it’s not as glamorous, but you’re certainly going to save money, particularly when gas is around $4/gallon.
  • Wear your old clothes.  We’ve all got clothes we don’t wear.  They’re in the back of the closet; bottom of the drawer.  Pull them out and wear them.  Nobody that you know cares if they’re “out of fashion.”  I wear clothes ’til the holes in them make them indecent for public consumption, and then I use ’em to mow the grass or for painting.  If by some chance you’ve given away all your old clothes to charity, go buy them back.  The Salvation Army and Goodwill will sell you decent clothes and they can use that money as well.
  • Look for free outdoor concerts this year.  Not everything must cost money.  If the music is not worth listening to, at least you’re outside enjoying decent weather (hopefully) and walking away from it is good exercise.  While you’re at it, pack a lunch/dinner.  Nothing says picnic like peanut butter and jelly and a couple cans of root beer.
  • Eating out can be a very expensive habit.  Believe me, I know.  Cooking can be a hassle, too.  So, see if you can’t pair up with some friends and have a potluck barbecue.  That way you’re only footing part of the bill and you’re not likely to be plugged into the TV or the internet later.  Nothing like a couple of beers under the stars and conversation with good friends.
So…those of you who are desperate to save a couple of bucks, use these tips.  Those of you who think that only poor people could possibly conceive of doing any of the above…well, I feel a little bit sorry for you as you’re not living a full life.
See you in the funny papers!

The End of the World (As we know it)

No.  No.  …and NO!  I mean, I don’t know for sure, but I’m gonna go with my own prevailing wisdom and the fact that this farcical “end of days” is based on some weird biblical interpretation and high school math.  If you don’t know by now, the world is supposed to end tomorrow, so if it does turn out to be true, then most of you aren’t gonna read this anyway.  Honestly, I’m sort of rooting for the Mayans to be right, which would buy us all another year and a half.  Truth is, I’ve spent enough of my 36 years in churches to know the verse Matthew 24:36: But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.  So let’s all just calm down, shall we?

Unfortunately, all this hoopla just makes Christians look like a bunch of wacky Chicken Littles who have waaaay too much time on their hands.  I’m not the most devout Christian, but I still claim the title, mostly by default since its what I’ve grown up with.  Still, this makes those of us who aren’t total wingnuts embarrassed to say the least, but it borders on offensive because its obvious that they don’t spend much time reading (or understanding) the book they proclaim to know so much about.

Still, if people disappear tomorrow I’ll certainly be surprised, but not shaken because they’ve been warning us about it for a while now, and we should’ve been ready.  I’m as ready as I’m gonna get, but I’m not likely to be whisked up into the clouds.  The good news, knowing my friends as I do, is that I’ll still have somebody to go drinkin’ with.

See you in the funny papers! (in the morning)

Two, and counting

Two years.  It’s been two years since I slept in.  Two years since I started buying diapers.  For two years, I’ve spent the bulk of my mornings and evenings figuring out how things work, finally getting it, only to have it change without warning.  Two years ago, I held my breath silently as a team of physicians worked quickly and quietly to help my daughter breathe into life.  Two years ago, my own lungs burned as I raced up the hill from work on my bike to take my wife to the hospital.  For two years, I haven’t walked down the hall without thinking that the squeaky floor might wake her up,

even though she sleeps through thunderstorms.  The lamp at the end of the hall hasn’t been turned off in two years. Two years of laughter, crying, joy, and tantrums.  Two years of Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba and a host of other shows (but not Caillou or Barney).  For two years, I wake up in the middle of the night and pray that she’s alright.  Two years ago, my life changed.

IvyCat was born two years ago and as hard as that is to believe, it’s even more difficult to imagine time without her.  She’s such a big girl now, and yet, still a little girl.  She wants to be independent, but still wants to be carried down the stairs sometimes.  She’s stubborn as a mule when she wants her way, but her silly laugh and glance from the corner of her eye will make you melt.  Watching her grow is the most fun I can have as a parent.  And though she tries my patience sometimes, she still is an amazing tiny human.

I knew she was going to be special because she was born on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) and the Red Sox beat the Yankees in their new stadium.  Two years later, I know she is special because I’m her daddy and every moment I spend with her is a good part of my life.  Even the tantrums.

See you in the funny papers!