Monday, February 24, 2014

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention"

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to hang pictures on the wall.  No matter which way I grabbed the nail, as soon as the tip of the nail touched the wall, it fell from my grasp.   There is nothing more frustrating than trying to do something and having it fight you every step of the way.  Trying not to mutter unladylike words under my breath, I heaved a big sigh.  "Necessity is the mother of invention"~Plato (or maybe it's Aesop - it's up for debate).  It's a phrase I find grossly annoying but so very true when it comes to dealing with physical limitations brought on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth, frustration
Ok, to be perfectly honest, losing that ability was frustrating as hell. There is just no other way to describe being able to do something one day and then having that ability stripped away the very next day.  So how do I deal with it?  I do what any normal redhead does.  I stomp my feet, I throw a tizzy, I bite my family's heads off if they offer to perform the task for me, I go and beat the stuffing out of a pillow, and then I get back to the task at hand.

Do I feel sorry for myself?  Not generally.  Maybe it's because I vent my frustration "extraordinarily well" (LOL) at the moment something happens, which makes it easier for me to move on.  It's also because my family and friends have always pushed me with the "in a room full of people, I'll take mine" attitude since this disease reared it's ugly head over 20 years ago. 

For me, I think what keeps me pushing foward most of all, is hanging onto Isaiah 40:29-31
"He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."

In the grand scheme of things, life on earth is short.  One day I will run again and maybe have races with my kids.  One day I will be able to pick up small objects again.  One day I won't have to worry about my arm twitching and causing my food or drink to spill.  One day I won't be self-conscience about how atrophied my hands look.  One day is a day I look forward to.

Until that day of wholeness arrives, I choose to try not to be frustrated at what I can't do and focus on what I can do.  Until that day arrives, I choose to live life by plastering a smile on my face even though it would be easier to fall into a deep well full of griping, moaning, and crying.  Until that day arrives, I choose to improvise and keep moving forward the best way I know how.

I put that nail in the wall  After mumbling and grumbling under my breath when I dropped the nail several times, I realized that while my fingers may not be able to hold that nail anymore, my hand can hold a pair of needle-nose pliers, which can hold that nail long enough for me to pound it into the wall.  Within a minute or two, that picture was hung.......... and it never looked better.

Written by Christie Bielss

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The New Sexy

How do you define sexy?  I used to think sexy was a good looking man, built well, dressed nicely, and being more attentive to me than to his own reflection in any mirrored surface he came in contact with.  I'm not sure when it happened or even why, but as I've gotten older my idea of what is sexy has changed dramatically.

chores, clogged sink, sink repair

Last night our children, in the course of washing the dinner dishes, threw the leftover broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots down the garbage disposal. Our disposal hasn't been working really well lately and we're putting off replacing it until we remodel that side of the kitchen.  Anyway, the sink became so clogged it shot water a good 6-7 feet across the kitchen.  You can read about the whole entertaining incident on The Redhead Sez Facebook page here.

It came to me this morning as my husband tackled disassembling the pipes under the sink to unclog the drain:  muscles and good lucks are no longer a requirement to being thought of as sexy in my book.  Nope.  Pulling nasty, stinky gunk out of the sink drain so I can have a working kitchen sink is the new sexy.  Cleaning the dishes, vacuuming the floors, helping the kids with their homework, doing laundry, and cooking dinner are the new sexy.

Picking up the kids from school, stopping at the grocery store to pick up some needed food item without complaining, making up the bed, and straightening the sofa cushions are the new sexy.  While that well-built physique is nice to begin with, it doesn't hold a candle to the man with a little more meat-on-his-bones physique with a receding and/or graying hairline that is handling household chores and keeping the kids in order so I can have a few minutes, or even an evening off, to rest.  Yes, now that is the new sexy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Finding Grocery Savings

This past Friday, I spent half the morning preparing my taxes for 2013.  I finished them on Saturday morning and e-filed them.  SUCCESS, I thought!  Then, it dawned on me that for 2014 to be a successful year for my family, I needed to work on a project from Dave Ramsey that I vowed I would do this year.  I wanted to see how much of our money was going to groceries, as well as dining out at restaurants and frequenting fast food drive-thru's.

budgeting, finance, home
Public Domain image courtesy of Junior Libby

For this project I took all of our bank statements from last year and would need to highlight each expenditure listed and categorize it so I could see where our money was/is going.  Because Dave Ramsey is a proponent of children being involved in budgetary issues, and because I could see this could easily take me several days if I did it myself, I gave each of my kids a different colored highlighter and a specific category.  I then handed them each half of the statements, and we all got to work.

I have to say that it was quite the eye-opening experience.  We had our successes, like cutting our "eating out" expenses in half, but we also discovered a money-gobbler:  grocery store expenses.  Over $13,000 worth of grocery store expenses.  And yes, we did do a little bit of clothing and Christmas shopping at Walmart and Target, but only to the tune of $138 for 2013 (yes, I keep every single receipt for a period of time).

I haven't figured out yet whether the huge increase in grocery expenses has been because of the increase in the price of groceries, or if I'm having to buy more food because my kids have gotten older and are starting to eat a lot more as they begin growth spurts.  One thing is for sure, it is time to try and cut that expense.  The only problem with this idea is that I'm already shopping at Walmart and Sam's Club, so I'm getting some pretty good prices and am out of ideas.

I need some fresh ideas on what you, or someone you know, does to save money.  I used to live debt-free before I got married and after 24+ years of marriage, I'm sick of owing people money.  Being in debt restricts my ability to do things for my family and for other people, and that drives me batty.  Not to mention the strangle-hold it feels like it places on me when my children want to participate in a sport or activity.

As a first step, we have decided to build our own vegetable garden this year in an effort to save money on the produce aisle.  We eat a lot of vegetables and my kids like to garden, so I'm hoping to make this a win-win proposition.  My debt snowball will hopefully get reduced while my children learn about growing their own food and being self-sufficient.

While this is a good start, we need to find additional ways to save money.  So, if you have a way you grocery shop which helps save your family money, even if it's just how you organize or meal plan, I'd be thrilled if you'd share your successes with me.  If you have a favorite grocery store that you've found has great prices, or if you have a great way to get grocery coupons or bargains, please share.  Thank you in advance to everyone who shares their advice, tips, bargain places, and any other information which will be of help!

Written by:  Christie Bielss

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shooting Cupid

Are you a man-made, store-created-holiday hater?  Do you despise Valentine's Day and wish you could shoot Cupid in the derriere' with his little bow and "love" arrows?  I know many people who really don't care for this holiday.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate these holidays, they do get me to thinking..... which is almost always dangerous.  The more I have thought about it, the more I think these for-profit store-created holidays could be used to do a lot of good.

What if  we turned the tables on this greeting card industry marketing ploy and took this day to not only show some love to our family and friends, but to neighbors and strangers as well?  What if we all did one thing out of the ordinary for a stranger on this one day?  Would this then still be day to enrich the coffers of industry, or a day to enrich the hearts of people who would cherish and remember that one kind act for a lifetime?

What if we all did something on this day which didn't involve whipping out our credit cards?  What if you scraped the ice off of a stranger's (or even a neighbor's) windshield?  What if you helped out at your child's school?  What if you brought a plate of cookies to share with co-workers or neighbors (FYI:  I like peanut-free chocolate chip)?  What if you made a bouquet out of holly and other evergreens you clip from your own yard and gave it to a stranger?  What if you took some note paper and handed out handcrafted cards to strangers wishing them a happy day?

WHAT IF we all took a moment to do this for someone outside of our inner circle?  What if we made Valentine's Day a for-profit venture of the heart and soul?  What could you do for someone else? Please share some of your ideas of ways to show others some kindness on Valentine's Day and let's see if we can truly spread some love on this day.

Christie Bielss

Sunday, February 9, 2014

10 Interesting Valentine's Day Gifts

Valentine's Day is in a few days and I've been looking for something a little less traditional to give my husband this year.  As I've searched high and low for the perfect non-traditional gift, I thought I'd share with you some of the more interesting Valentine's Day gifts which truly say "I Love You".

1.  A back wax in the shape of a heart.  This is a viable option for all those wanting to get tattoos for their loved ones but are afraid of needles.  Also good for those who want eligible Sasquatches to know this Sasquatch is taken.

2. His and Her dental floss.  The family that flosses together doesn't have to share dentures together.  Also great for the bacon lover in your life.

3. The Inflatable Husband.  The ideal gift for those who like companionship but have husbands that get in the way of their shopping or for the woman who likes having her man watch chick-flicks with her without complaint.

4. The Inflatable Wife.  The perfect gift for the husband who likes to watch televised sports without female interruption.  This version also comes without the dreaded Honey-Do list.
5. A Bacon Scarf.  The quickest way to the love of your life's heart is by putting bacon around their neck???  Well, you'd certainly have a lot of people following your light-of-love ......... as well as all the neighborhood dogs.

6. Farting Mug.  A coffee cup that farts every time you pick it up.  The best way to wake your loved one up on Valentine's morning is with breakfast in bed and a cup of farts to go with that cup of joe.

7. Brief Jerky.  For the survivalist in the family.  Great for those long outdoor hikes or multi-day hunting expeditions.  It can feed you and clothe you at the same time.  And, for the ladies, they have the blinged out version.

8. Dynamic Life T-Shirts.  T-shirts that measure your proximity to your loved one and display it by the number of hearts that light up.  You'll be the talk of the town dressed as this dynamic duo!

9. His/Hers Control Your Spouse Talking Remote. Features 18 phrases and sounds at the touch of a button so you don't have to interrupt your reading or tv watching to respond.

10. A Pre-Planned Funeral.  Ummmm............ a great gift if you want to meet your maker.......... earlier than expected.  If you are thinking of giving this gift, you may want to consider a gift with a plug from the housewares department instead....... 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pardon the Interruption

Please pardon the interruption on The Redhead Sez blog.  My son came down with strep throat and bronchitis last week.  Unfortunately, the bacteria mutated and has now become mycoplasma pneumoniae.  All of my energy and brain cells are currently being used for round the clock nebulizer treatments and measuring out more prescriptions than the local pharmacy.  It didn't help that I ran out of chocolate in the middle of all this.  Hoping to be back on Friday for some Valentine's Day laughs.

Wishing you all good health and many blessings!