Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did I Look Desperate? Scary?

So this week my babysitters went to Vegas-lucky dogs. I harbor no ill feelings-they deserved to go. However, it meant that I just spent three days in a row (four including to day) spending the day with my children. So the sales person for Verizon comes to the door and thinking it is a grandparent, I open it. It is a young-ish guy asking me why I don't have such and such product. Never start a conversation with a woman who hasn't had a chance to speak a full sentence that doesn't start with "don't do that to your brother..."
I got to talk about Einstien and Edison-2 examples of people who didn't have the latest educational toy to play with and no DHA in their baby food. Look what idiots they grew up to be. No, this had ABSOLUTLY nothing to do with the product being sold. But the sales guy was a living being over the age of 18. I am pretty confident I looked desperate.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why is cheap, cheap?

Ever wonder how I decide what is cheap?
When I worked at a local museum in the mid-90's, a guest complained one day about how expensive it was for admittance fees. I took a non-comittal stance, as an employee, but privately I agree'd with them. This same guest, who must have been desperate to talk to some one. They stood around for a very long time, and started talking about all the movies they had seen recently. Whoa-back the truck up. Movies were, and continue to be, on par with any museum as far as price goes, however when the movie ends you are out while a museum will let you stay all day. Hence, an idea was born.
If people will pay so much to sit in a dark room for 2-2 1/2 hours on average, then they can pay so much to do something more constructive. Current polls bear me out-in a troubled economy, attendance at movies has gone up, inspite of the price to get in. Soooooo, an average family of four is paying about $30 for a 2 hour movie (full price, 2 adults, 2 kids), and many of my ideas (even with my lazy way of buying lunch) come WAY under that for the same number of people. I rock.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheap Treats Part VIII

You may have noticed I am behind in my posting-we have had some speed bumps here lately. A couple early mornings for work (ugh-my night owl is in disarray), one case of pink eye, and lots of yard work can disrupt the best of schedules. However, as always, I have my eye out for great things to do.
A few weekends ago, I went to the local nursery for some plants. If I am getting plain old flowers, I go to Wal-mart. But if I need a plant, AND some good advice, it is worth it to pay more and get the right flower/shrub and advice on how to grow it right. Buying the cheap version, but planting it in the wrong area, is a huge waste of money when it dies.
Anyway, the person I spoke with told me about clinics they have for kids once a month where they do a garden project. Last month they decorated pots. Of course these clinics are free-they hope the parents will spend money, or at the very least creating a future loyal shopper. But lots of stores have them, and if you are looking for a cheap activity (and nothing is cheaper than free), these are a great way to go. I have done arts-n-crafts at book stores, and I know home improvement stores have done wood craft projects. Are these projects creating the next Da Vinci? Probably not. But it is a great way to expsoe kids to different activities, and it fits the criteria of being inexpensive.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Beef Today

So after looking over my post on our health insurance saga, I realize I still have some hard feelings to work out. And really, my beef is with insurance in general.
Anyone out there truly understand how insurance works? In any field? Three word-Don't Use It. Okay, four words-Do Not Use It.
Insurance, according to Wikipedia, has been around since at least since 1750 B.C. Life insurance policies and contracts covering losses in shipping and goods, is old. Most of us though only use insurance in three areas: home, health, and car, and these are obviously much newer.
Anybody know what the world was like when modern insurance policies were written? Cars, the super-duper fast ones, could top out at speeds of 45mph, but the first ones typically never passed 10mph. An apple a day and leeches was a pretty good prescription, and the cure for many health ailments. Some homes were actually made with dirt (think the Sodbusters of the mid-West.)
Technology has changed almost everything, from the way we travel, to the way we take care of ourselves, and yet our models for protecting ourselves are centuries old. I am the first to say that sometimes the old ways are better but in this case, we are trying to pay for safety with a model that was instituted when people drank urine as a tonic and cocaine was a regualr ingredient in medicines. Isn't time we think of something better? Is it socialism? Maybe. Is it time to demand people become educated on the simple things and quit going to the doctor so much? Maybe. Should cars be built better? Limited in some areas? Maybe.
I'll be honest, I am not sure where to start for the answers. But I know there are people out there with ideas, and it is time we asked them to speak up for all us because what is happening is that none of us are getting what we need. $50 dollar asprin in the hospital is not a good thing, and neither is watching your life go down the tubes when your home is destroyed because of an "Act of God", which can cover anything and everything. Families in New Orleans still don't have a home, how many years after Hurricane Katrina?
Insurance needs to change.

Cheap Entertainment-Part VII

This is starting to look like a horror movie series-how high can I go?!?! Cheap Stuff Part MM? (That's 2,000.)
I missed my deadline this week because I took the kids to visit a friend in Central Washington. We had a great time seeing new sights, and new sites, visiting friends, and watching cows and horses. Hey, I have city kids-we don't see those animals on a daily basis.
So once again, I am going to pull from personal experience and talk about traveling-on the cheap.
Our three-day jaunt costs us under $100 for myself and 2 kids. If daddy had been able to come, we still would have been under $100 as gas was our primary expense. Granted, it takes loving and understanding friends to travel this way-staying at someone else's home is the cheapest way to travel period. But if you have such a connection, use it. My kids saw different eco-systems, animals, and people. We went to Ft. Simcoe, which made my geeky side very happy, and it didn't cost us anything but gas. Plus, Ft. Simcoe had a playground, which made Asa the Rambunctious very happy too. We watched tractors, another cheap activity not always available in our hometown, and we got to play with the family dog, yet another cheap activity my young kids loved. And I got to talk with a friend-a cheap activity for mommy.
Note the repeated use of the word "cheap". And note the use of simple activities. Most human beings are happy just doing something different. Especially with young kids, and older kids too, not every experience has to be on par with Disneyland or Las Vegas. Think outside the box-playgrounds, hiking trails, and other outdoor ativities are great in a new place.


I received a few e-mails regarding my last blog, and I should clarify that Nick and I have Health Insurance. We pay almost triple what the kids cost, and our deductible went up as well so basically only use our insurance in an emergency, but we do have something. But i stand by my parting comment-the US needs to cahnge the way it does Health Care.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Use At Your Own Risk

So blogging is about sharing your feeelings right?
Nick and I have been shopping for new health insurance. So why were we denied health insurance from one company? They listed the reasons and basically it was every doctor's appt. I have had in the last year or so. I twisted my ankle and went in to be sure it was broken-they lsited that as a reason denied. The benign cyst I had checked out on my shoulder-they listed that too. So the medical community urges us to get these things checked out to be safe, and then when we do, the health insurance companies ding us and refuse to accept us because we are a bad risk. Can we say "Catch-22"? What the hell are we suppose to do now?
I guess we should be grateful that at least the kids got accepted but now I am leery of letting them go to the doctor's-will their appointments and check-ups now be held against them in the future?
What a bitch this is and as far as I am concerned, changes to the way the United States does Helath Care can't come soon enough.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Is This Equality?

I just read a snippet that Courtney Parks, a basketball player from the Oklahoma Sooners, was drafted into the WNBA at a starting salary of $41,000. That is a good starting pay for a new job, but I ask you: what is the starting pay for a man draftd into the NBA?
According to Information pulled off of, which has information on the WNBA, the base salary of a starting rookie for the NBA was over $300,000 in 2007.
I guess the argument could be made that the NBA attracts more views, ergo more money via advertisment and ticket sales. Still, $41,000 versus $300,000 plus tells me that women play sports for the love of the game, not for personal fortunes. So why do we call the men of the game the hero's? Or should women be happy that they are jsut allowed to touch the ball without wearing a skirt?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cheap Tip-Part VI

For those of you living in a rural area, this is a no-brainer but for us suburbanites, with a multitude of choices, people look at me in a surprised sort of way.
A great way to expose young kids to sports and/or the theater is to take them to a high school game/production. For older kids, take them to a community college.
Seriously, football/basketball/baseball tickets to the local teams will be far cheaper than anything professional. Same with plays, orchestra concerts, and singing shows.
I remember going to see "Oklahoma" at the local community college when I was 13-I thought it was practically professional and everyone seemed old to me.

Beep Beep Beep

I wasn't going to blog about this, because I already wrote it on Facebook, but my friend Katie said I should and we all know what a follower I am so here goes...

And by the way, I swear I am not making this up...

Last night I was making dinner (a miracle in itself) and of course when I opened up the oven, all the steam makes the fire alarm go off. In my defense, the previous owners put the fire alarm in a very lousy place. The fire alarm almost always goes off when I cook. However, last night when the alarm went off, Asa ran by and went "alright, dinner's ready." Crap.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Is This Love or Annoyance?

The other day, with the warmth of the sun on my back, I just sat and gazed at my beautiful baby boy. Noah just lights up when he sees me and there is so much trust and love in his face it just makes my heart sing. He looks at me like I am queen of the world, and as I coo'd and awe'd at him, I just couldn't imagine ever being angry at him.
Then his 3 year old brother walked by and I am yelling "Asa, get finger out of your brother's nose! Asa, why did you poke Noah in the eye?! Asa, did you toot or poop?"
Oh yeah, sweet little babies turn into stinky little boys. I love both my sons with all my heart but the singing heart stuff doesn't happen everyday.