Friday, July 23, 2010

Spreading the Good Word - of a fashion

There are some things you never discuss in polite conversation, Politics and Religion are usually at the top of that list.

Ironically, I feel I can talk about just about anything with anyone. It's HOW you talk about it that determines the success of the conversation. You can believe whatever you want, and we can share our opinions, but I'm not going to cram anything down your throat and in spite of how hard you may try, you won't be cramming anything down mine! Maybe we'll both learn something.

So when it comes to how a person demonstrates their faith, you could consider me more of a behind the scenes kind of gal, rather than a front and centre with a spotlight.

I absolutely believe in God. And Jesus. And even if you want to argue the validity of the Bible, I would suggest the meaning is there, if the message seems to be a bit handed down.

For me, living my belief is most important. Case in point.

Got my new truck (Santa Fe) back in February. Two weeks later, I bump (literally - a gentle slide) into another vehicle on an icy street when I'm backing out of a driveway. It was parked and unattended. I got out and had a look. I take pictures (because I always seem to have my camera around at the right time - lol!) and go to the house. I give the owner the info - it's a young mother and she's almost in tears, so grateful that I've come in to "confess" and not simply drive off.

I get home. The Big Guy is understandably upset. He says "Why didn't you just drive away if no one saw you?? Do you know how much this is going to cost?!?" (Keep in mind we have JUST bought the truck, taxes are due and both boys have $$ hockey tournaments around the corner - oh, ya and my sister is getting married in two months...) I look him calmly in the eye and say "Because that wasn't the Christian thing to do!"

I told him about the young mom and how I figure we can afford to fix her car easier than she can, and I simply couldn't expect to raise my kids to do the "right" thing, if I couldn't. IMMEDIATELY, he felt SO bad for what he had said, admitted it was likely the proper thing to do, but was still sullen about it.

The upside....(read here - GOD AT WORK) the body man agreed to fix both vehicles at COST! $100 for mine (it's a tank - you can't hurt it) and $500 for hers. It would have EASILY been $3,000 at full price and our insurance would have been impacted if we claimed it. In the end - doing the RIGHT thing was cheaper!!! THAT is my belief. THAT is what I feel I need to do to spread "The Word". My husband, my children, my family will know how to do what God would want us to do - and hopefully others will see what we do and will conduct themselves accordingly.

The Gospel According to where's the Offering Plate?!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In Praise of the Momma Bear

A friend of mine is hurting right now.

Without coming out with an "I told you so", I'm trying to be as supportive as I can. It involves her daughter and a relationship she is just getting out of. The boy she was with is a complex character - he's hurt other people, including First Born Son with his unique talent of bullying and mind games.

When my friend told me last fall they were an "item" she asked me about him. Without hesitation I said "Remember all that stuff I told you happened to FBS and that other kid....HE was the OTHER KID!"

Now there were two options here. She could have said "Dear Gawd, I'll put an end to this at once!" or "Well, let's see how this plays out." She chose the latter since she felt strongly about developing her own opinions and experiences with this teen.

I admitt - I've done this myself. Just because you've had a problem with someone, doesn't mean that I will. Maybe you were hitting him/her the wrong way. Maybe there are other people involved in the problem you are having? Who knows!

But in a more severe case as this, I hope I would be open to listening to someone else's advice. The sad part is, a relationship between these two kids has hurt the friendship between her daughter and FBS as well as strained the friendship the mother and I enjoyed.

Be that as it may - it's over now. The boy in question has now moved into familiar territory, name calling, rallying the troups, poisoning friendships and being hurtful to this girl in particular. Why did things change? Because he found out she was friends with a boy he didn't think she should be friends with! Yes, control issues can be evident before the age of 16!!!

The girl has moved on and is "dating" a boy who is much more stable, low-key and genuinely cares for her. We all know this is supposed to be a carefree time in a kid's life, but the antics of the past few weeks has put a cloud over this girl.

Hopefully she'll learn from the experience and not repeat her mistakes. Because her Ex is bound to repeat them...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dollars and Sense

At times when I'm faced with spending a quantity of cash, and right now that would be for a house, but in the past we're talking; vehicles, Christmas - I get very cranial about people and their relationship with money.

I believe in every relationship there is the "Saver" and there is "Spender". In my marriage, I'm the latter. This is mostly due to the fact that I have the task of buying groceries and household items, clothing for the children and am genuinely interested in consumerism. Note I did not say "consumed". But there are different kinds of Savers like there are different kinds of Spenders.

A woman I know is currently not in the workforce, mostly by her own choosing. Her husband has taken ill and in spite of the fact that they have a very comfortable lifestyle in suburban T.O., they are now starting to feel the crunch. He can't earn the coin and she's chosen not to. She prefers to shop. This is a Toxic Spender. I would classify myself more in the Gathering Spender category. I can go days without even thinking about buying something - including groceries, but when we run out of something, it is inherently my job to acquire or "Gather" it.

Because The Big Guy and I work FREAKIN' hard at more than one job, we have evolved in our relationships with money. For me, when it comes time to make a larger purchase, such as our truck earlier this year, I'm all about doing the research. I will scour the Internet, magazines, ask others for input and general become a Private Investigator, looking for any and all information relating to the item I'm looking to buy. Did it with my camera, the fridge, dishwasher, get the idea.

But when it comes time to seal the deal, lay down the cash TBG and I have very different reactions. Because he works so hard for his money, he feels a certain frustration - could be in how much he feels the item is actually worth, how long it has taken him to earn that much cash or just the fact that he'd rather see it come in than go out. In short, he's not the kind of guy you want to have around when you go Christmas shopping.

I've chosen a different path. I knew how expensive my camera was going to be before I bought it. I could have chosen a more moderately priced model, but the reviews were better for the one I selected and the price tag was justified. I knew I was going to be able to make money with the camera and had the entire thing paid for in just over a year. The day I bought that camera I was like a kid in a candy store.

When I signed the paperwork to take ownership of my new truck, I was positively giddy - not because I was being immature, but because I work for every dime I earn and if I don't get enjoyment out of spending that dime, the the time I spent earning it was wasted.

Now I'm not giving the "all clear" for people to spend what they don't have. The hole gets deep quick when you are going in, and even more challenging when you have to try and get out! I'm talking about the natural progression of ones lifestyle and the needs and demands we all have.

Most of us work because we HAVE to. While if I won the lottery, I must admit, I would likely take some time away from the 9 to 5, I would still volunteer. But the reward of work is not just the satisfaction of a job well done. Cash is the great motivator. What do you use that cash for? To acquire things, be it food, shelter or "other".

To work 3/4 of your life and not enjoy the spoils of what that toil affords you is indeed a waste of an existence.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The only part of my life that can relate to The Bachelor

I admit, I'm not the best at being in "limbo".

Actually, I really suck at it. I'm a "take charge" kind of personality. Not that I have to be the one at the head of the pack - although I have been. I'm totally ok with adding my pull to someone else's lead.

So waiting for an offer on the house is a bit of a bummer. I remain rather objective about the entire thing - again - what will be, will be. But harping after the kids on summer holidays about keeping the house at roughly 80% cleanliness is tough on the family dynamic. Not to mention, the a/c conked out in the midst of a FREAKIN' heat wave. Not good for showings - or our dispositions.

We have had two viewings in two weeks - both out of town agents, and neither of whom bothered to "report back". Apparently this is very bad form in Real Estate etiquette. We had a near-miss on a bidding war with another buyer who moved in on the house we were looking at. And suddenly, I had a revelation.... This is what it's like to be on The Bachelor.

All these women are vying for the attention of one man. You can tell by the numbers that the odds aren't great - BUT, they are in it for the chance it COULD be them. At some point during the process, it stops being about falling "in luv" and more about being the winner. That's where these experiences are the same.

The sense of entitlement one gets when faced with the prospect of losing out on an opportunity to someone else is rather powerful. The Big Guy and I discussed what our ceiling was, what the value of the property was, what the potential for the property and the neighborhood was. We put in our offer. So did the other couple.

Both offers were returned - apparently they were virtually the same and the vendor is looking to see how far he can take this. We discuss adding to the pot, the fact that we can't remove our condition. We agree to resubmit our last offer and if it ain't good enough, then that's all she wrote.

I chastise myself for getting ahead of the game. You shouldn't covet what isn't yours - and in this case - AND THE BACHELOR - it can result in frustration and even heartache. Don't imagine what Christmas would look like in the living room. Don't fantasize about him proposing - you are still in the "group" phase.

Yesterday our agent called - we got the house. The 30 second happy dance was quickly replaced with - holy shit - we've got to sell THIS house! Ironically, the office called this morning, another showing is booked for this week - that's three shows in three weeks, in case you are keeping track. It's probably asking too much to hope there would be a decent offer....

But after all - there is one girl who gets the ring at the end!

DISCLAIMER - I don't watch The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette - I just pick up enough of what I need to know from the commercials and non-stop crap that is out there on the Internet. I can't afford to lose the few brain cells I have left by actually watching it!!!!