Archive for April 2014

Budget? I thought you said fudge it….   30 comments

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When did life get so expensive? Its never been cheap, but lately I have been taking some stock in our day to day expenses and I’m just not sure I can afford to have one much longer. It’s not that we live beyond our means, but I can see us moving into the neighbourhood. And let me tell you – the view from there is not all sunshine and daisies.

The reason for this is simple. We have a lot of kids. We didn’t mean to; it just sort of happened. We lived up North for a while, and I am convinced there was something in our water supply. Nothing else makes any sense.

So now that we have them, they tend to need stuff, constantly. Like, food and clothes and shelter and shoes. Which is fine, we have a budget for that. What I didn’t factor into the financial equation was that the growth of these needs would increase exponentially at the rate of … well I’m no mathematician, so let’s just say … a lot.

For example: in the past month I have bought my two eldest sons a total of twelve new pairs of jeans. Guess how many still fit them? If you said four, you would be correct. They go to bed at night, and in the morning when they get dressed, they appear to be taking the movie NOAH a little too seriously. Now, if a great flood does occur these two are all set, but as for this moment, not so much.

My youngest son goes through shoes like paper napkins. I do literally mean he goes “through” shoes. If he still has the same pair for two months, it’s only because he lost one of them for four of those weeks. Typically, we get about six weeks from the time we buy them until the time we must say goodbye to them. I’ve tried purchasing more expensive shoes to see if it is a quality issue. It’s not. He just wears them and then at some point they resemble Swiss cheese.

My daughter is graduating this year, so we remortgaged our house. At first I thought we’d be okay, but then we went dress shopping, and apparently her gown is going to cost more than my first car. Which is fine, of course. I don’t begrudge her that. The good news is that she will never, ever wear it again, so that will be money well spent.

When I go grocery shopping I usually fill 2 carts to the point where a degree in engineering would be of benefit, especially when I try and get everything back in them after I have paid. Yes, I’m the lady chasing oranges all over the parking lot because I failed to properly secure my produce bag. Don’t judge me; I’m a woman on the edge.

People in line behind me often ask if I’m having a party. I’d love to say yes, but it’s just not in the budget. Also, although I’m not sure if there is an actual test for the locust gene, if there is then I’m pretty certain my kids have it. I say this because I fill the cupboards and both refrigerators (yes, I said both) on Saturday and by Thursday we are typically coasting on fumes and sketchy leftovers.

We also consume so much milk in a week that I have actually looked into purchasing a cow. I’m not sure we are zoned for livestock though, so that idea is still very much in the infancy stage . No need to send the neighbours into a panic just yet.

So what’s the answer? A second job? Maybe. A revised budget? Perhaps. Child labour? I wish. The darn industrial revolution ruined that dream for parents everywhere. So I guess we will just keep on doing the best we can. Paying Peter while borrowing from Paul so we can raise four beautiful children and chase the fruit of our labour through the parking lot of life.

 

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Posted April 23, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

If it doesn’t fit…..you just convict.   16 comments

Last weekend I decided to get a new door for our pantry. The old one and our family had had a parting of the ways. If I were to tell the story I would say that it was poorly crafted and lacked the required opening and closing ability that I require of a door. If it (the door) were to tell it, you would probably hear that the constant slamming and rough housing were responsible for its demise. Regardless I’m not about to play the blame game with a door. So out with the old and in with the new.

Now if you have been following any of my previous columns you might be aware that if there is an easy way to do things we will generally opt to not do it that way. I’m not sure exactly why that is but it does seem like it is a particularly common theme for us and (spoiler alert) this time was no exception.

So off to the home building store we went. I hadn’t done my usual on line pre shop so we were flying a bit blind, but we eventually did decide on one and brought it , home. The salesman had indicated that it was extremely easy to install and we should have it hung in about 15 minutes. Now I’m not saying that was the deciding factor on the one we chose but it definitely did make it one of the more appealing choices.

In the past I have generally chosen to let my husband handle the installations of most household upgrades. But with the wounds still rather fresh from the latest dishwasher escapade I decided to be an active participant this time. Facebook friends would have to wait.

We emptied out the pantry and prepared for the quick and easy hanging of our beautiful new door. It was 11am. The first sign that things were not going well happened about 10 minutes after. Apparently the door was a little too tall. This was all sounding a little too familiar for my taste and I was starting to get a little anxious. Why is it so hard to remember to measure things? Properly. The first time. I cannot answer that… It just is.

So okay next steps. Do we take the door back? No. Do I walk away and contemplate the limited options that are available. NO!! Been there and done that. I stood firmly beside my husband and said the phrase that always comes to mind when my house is being uncooperative.

” we should just move.” This house is too complicated for us. It doesn’t “fit” our needs”. It’s being totally unreasonable.

So after about another 20 minutes of back and forth speculation we came to a decision the flooring would have to come up. No big deal it was laminate easy to reinstall. After we had removed the flooring we tried to hang it again. No luck. So we decided to cut up the floor board. Yes we were now cutting things again.

One more time to no avail. Still not enough variance to hang this thing. My husband was eyeing up my tile with a little too much interest and I saw where this was headed. We were going all in and he was cutting out the tile. It’s 1:30pm and I was about to call that very helpful salesman and share some thoughts with him. Easy install??? I don’t think so.

Tile has now been chewed up and destroyed and I was having some serious flashbacks. The good news is that this time we were successful in hanging my beautiful new door. The bad news….well let’s just say one simple project has given birth to several new projects that will no doubt in time have babies of its own.

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Posted April 20, 2014 by janyceresh in Uncategorized

You can still win….even if you don’t play.   22 comments

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I didn’t win the lottery again this week. I didn’t roll up the rim of my Tim Hortons coffee cup and become the proud new owner of a Toyota Corolla. I also didn’t scratch and win and I didn’t cry out “bingo”. There wasn’t even a knock at my door from the good people at Publishers Clearing House congratulating me and handing over a giant check. (Kind of crazy to give a person a check that big in my opinion. How would you ever get it in the bank machine?) but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking this is another one of my sad woe is me tales, and you’ve already grabbed your tissues and are mentally preparing yourself for a good cry. But fear not friends this is not one of those rants.

You see the reason I didn’t win anything this week is because I didn’t play. And I didn’t play because I don’t get gambling.

It’s not that I can’t grasp the concept, I’m not stupid. I just can’t fathom why people do it. Now before any of you Texas hold ’em fans come at me all guns a blazing. Relax. I’m not judging. If it makes you happy go for it. I’m a closet Trekkie and love blue bubble gum ice cream. So who am I to tell you how to spend your free time?

But here’s the question that begs to be answered…does it make you happy?

Recently I had the pleasure of spending an evening with some friends who love to go to the casino. It is probably one of my least favourite activities and falls somewhere between cleaning out my fridge and grocery shopping with a 2 year old. But not wanting to spoil their fun I slapped a smile on my face and followed them to the ATM.

After paying a ridiculous amount of money ($3 )to take out $20 I was already feeling like this was not going to be my night. That $3 could of bought me one scoop on a waffle cone and would have lasted a whole lot longer than the $20 bucks I was about to hand over to the obnoxiously loud slot machine.

We picked what was sure to be the machine that would lead us all to financial freedom and settled in on our stools. The greedy beast swallowed my 20 bucks like the vacuum it was and so began the fun. I pulled and lost and pulled and won. Sometimes a whole 75 cents. It was a crazy and I was bored.

So I stopped paying attention to my machine and the crazy rows of mining elves that never quite matched up and started watching the people around me. What I saw was quite surprising.

No one appeared to be enjoying themselves. They didn’t smile or laugh or do any of the things people generally do when they are partaking in an activity they enjoy. They just sat transfixed, mindlessly pressing the spin button and waiting for Lady Luck to show up and change their life.

Occasionally there would be a ding ding ding somewhere in the casino which would jolt them back to reality and make them look around to see who had just become the latest big winner of a whopping $274.

I guess that person had a good night. Of course it was not disclosed how much he had fed the giant chrome beast before he hit his jackpot. I guess that’s not really the point. He won.

I won too, but then I lost….it all. At one point I was up $15.35 and then just like that it was all gone. Which was fine. I learned a long time ago that if I was going to make money in life I was going to have to work for it.

And then it hit me. Maybe the reason some of the people didn’t look like they were enjoying themselves was because they weren’t. Maybe this wasn’t them having a fun night out it with friends it was actually them trying to make money. Maybe at some point this had become a job for them and they were just waiting to get paid. Sadly, this boss rarely handed out big bonuses and there were no paid benefits.

Now I’m sure there are lots of people who do go to casinos and enjoy every minute of the experience. They allot themselves a bit of money to gamble and from time to time walk away with a little more than what they came in with. They laugh and joke and at the end of the night they can honestly say they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

As for the others…a piece of advice. The house always wins, so go find the nearest ice cream shop, have yourself a double scoop of your favourite flavour, grab a newspaper and look for a new job. I hear they are hiring at Baskin and Robbins mention my name and you as good as hired!

 

 

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