Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Black Friday

I grew up in the middle of Phoenix in a low income family with 6 kids.  My mom made the majority of our Christmas presents and only bought a few.  I don't think my parents ever hit Black Friday sales, and if they did then I don't remember them talking about it.  Needless to say, I grew up not knowing what Black Friday was.
  As an early adult I worked jobs where I didn't really encounter such sales (or maybe I just don't remember).  Finally, in my early 20s, I got a job with Sears working in their parts and service department.  My first store was not attached to a retail store, and we didn't offer anything special, so I again had no contact with Black Friday.  Then I transferred to a store that was behind a retail store.  The other employees got so excited over the big sales going on in the store.  I stayed and manned the counter while they went and shopped.  I couldn't care less what these big sales were because I could barely afford my food and rent.  Big, expensive gifts were out of the question.
   After I married we moved overseas and I became really good at shopping online.  We came back stateside and a friend insisted that I go and do these sales with her.  So we got out the ads, made our lists, prioritized our stops, and got up at the crack of dawn.  I think I remember leaving at like 4am or some ridiculous hour.  I don't remember getting home until about noon, we only got a portion of what we went after, and I was completely exhausted.  I was quite content to pass on that Black Friday thing.
   Fast forward a few years.  We're overseas again and stores are putting Black Friday deals online! Now this is something I can go for.  I can stay up late (which the night owl in me loved), I didn't have to fight the crowds (just slow servers), and I could shop in my pajamas without finding my picture on the people of Walmart website later.  And to top it all off, they then ship my items to me, in a box that my kids can't see through, and I don't have to worry about them seeing through the bags as I hide them.  I was in heaven.  I happily soaked up the Black Friday sales from the comfort of my desk for many years.
   Then a few years ago Black Friday moved to Thursday night (Thanksgiving) at midnight.  I was a little bit unsure at first, but we figured we could have thanksgiving day with the family, take our afternoon/evening naps, visit some more, put the kids down for bed time, and then we could go shopping.  Again, the night owl in me was jumping for joy.  I could get my shopping done while my kids were asleep.  I still don't like the crowds in the stores, but if there's something good enough, then it might be worth the trip.  Then the sales started getting earlier.  First 10:00pm, then 8:00pm.
   This year I started seeing friends post on Facebook that they were pledging not to shop on Thanksgiving.  I have to admit that part of me was like, "that just means more for the rest of us!"  This week I did some research to start my shopping list.  I discovered that stores are starting sales much earlier on Thanksgiving day.  There are even stores that are starting at the crack of dawn on Thursday and staying open the entire day.
    What the what?  What happened to everybody is closed on Thanksgiving?  I remember when we would get up to start the feast and discover that we forgot to buy corn, or cranberry sauce, or something like that.  We would have to remember which two stores in town were going to open for a few hours that morning, and then pray that they were still open when you get there.  If they weren't open? Well then you just did without.  This is a holiday when we get together with our families, we get to remember everything that we have and all that we are thankful for.  This is not supposed to be a day when everybody is either working or shopping.  The stores are supposed to be a ghost town so that families can be together.  What's next? Boxing Day sales on Christmas Day? The return lines lining up around the corner on Christmas night?
   So this is where I stand.  The late night sales are ok, but no earlier than 10pm or midnight.  That gives everybody a chance to spend time with family, get a nice nap, put the kids to bed, and then employees can go to work as others line up outside.  Single parents get to teach their kids traditions before they put them to bed and head to work.  There's no reason to be open before the kids go to bed. I now understand why my friends want to boycott the Thanksgiving Black Thursday sales.  Heck, maybe I'll just go back to my slow servers and my online shopping this year.

2 years....

I knew it had been quite awhile since I wrote anything here, but I had no idea that 2 years had passed.  Where has the time gone? Well, I'll tell you.
*My hubby went to start a new job in Arizona and was only home every couple of weekends for 9 months.  I was busy to say the least.  Then we had to pack and move ourselves and make a new home in our new house in Arizona (which I love).
* I started homeschooling my oldest.  It has been a good experience for both of us.  We're using the k-12 curriculum, which works well since the school district here also uses it.  It'll make the transition back to public school a bit easier.  The first year he made honor roll all four quarters (something he never did in the past), and at the end of this year he wants to be done and start 8th grade back in public school again.  I'm trying to help him get to a place where that's feasible, and I think we're nearly there.  I really think he will go back for just a short time and then be begging to come home again.  I guess only time will tell.  My third oldest wants to come home next year though.  I was looking forward to the break, but I think it might be good for her.  I haven't decided for sure yet, and the jury is still undecided as far as prayer goes.  I feel like it would be ok either way.
* I'm really happy with our house and our neighborhood.  We have some great neighbors and the kids are making some good friends.  I'm hoping that we don't have to move ever again, and that the kids can get settled in finally and not feel like they have to move and start all over again.
  I know this probably doesn't sound like much, but life really has been full for us.  I have been thinking more about things I'd like to share here, and I'm hoping to make some time to do so.  Until then, I felt the need to say that I'm still here, and that I'm ready to ramble again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some people

Yesterday morning I was driving the kids to school. Mondays are trash day so all the cans were up and down the street. A few houses further down from where I turn I spotted a bike next to the trash can and thought that if it was still there when I came back, then I'd check it out and maybe grab it if it was in ok condition. Sure enough, on the way home it was still there so I turned the other direction to check it out. It looked pretty good, not perfect by any means, but decent, usable and fixable, so I grabbed it and threw it in the van. I couldn't have timed it any better either. We have this guy that drives through the neighborhood in his truck every week picking up stuff people put out with the trash and he was just a few houses down grabbing some other things. He threw me a look of "hey! I was gonna grab that". As I pulled into the driveway a minute later, the garbage man pulled up to my house, which also means that if I hadn't grabbed it or the other guy hadn't, then the trash man would have hauled it off for sure.

Raven has been asking for a bike so this was a good temporary fix until Christmas. I gave it to her last night and she was thrilled. She played with it a little but it was dark so she put it away in the garage with all the other scooters, etc.

Today I took Kora to the Dr, picked her up some antibiotics for an ear infection and then did some much needed grocery shopping. I came home, opened up the garage to put away some stuff in the garage fridge and, since we needed to grab scooters to go get kids about 10 minutes later, I left the garage door open. When I came outside one of the neighbor boys, who I really don't care for, was hovering around my driveway and pointing into my garage while he talked to somebody else. Nothing appeared out of place so I grabbed our scooters, closed the garage and walked to the school to get kids.

As we walked home this same neighbor boy met us about half way up the street and started accosting Raven about the bike. He accused her of stealing it and was saying it belonged to his friend. I told him it was put out with the trash yesterday and perhaps his friend got a new bike. He followed us home and kept trying to get into the garage when we got there (and my kids wonder why I don't let them play with him-but he's a whole other story).

About 10 minutes later I was loading up kids to run a quick errand when a car pulled up to our house. The lady rolls down her window and starts yelling "we lost a bike and my kids say you have it." I told her I had, in fact, picked up a bike yesterday from next to the trash cans around the corner and she yells that "it wasn't even near the trash, it was in the yard!" I told her it was right next to the trash cans and asked her what color the one was she was missing. She confirmed the one I had and I again said "it was right next to the trash can." Her reply, "well, can we have it back?" I said yes (she looked shocked) and I opened the garage to get it out while she mumbled who knows what, probably profanities, while her son was retrieving this girl's bike from me (poor kid, it was really girly) . I walked over to her car and calmly and nicely made sure she knew that if I hadn't grabbed it, it most certainly would have been gone, told her of the other guy and that the trash man was only about 5 minutes from taking it anyway. I apologized and she said "in 7 years we've never had a problem!" and again "it was in the yard." I said "no, it really wasn't, but I'm glad to give it back." And then she drove away.

So now some lady up the street thinks I'm a horrible person who steals children's bicycles and I'm just waiting for her to call the cops or file charges or something. I'm not a thief. I only take that sort of thing if it's in decent condition, we have a use for it and it's been put out by the trash. Besides, who lets their kids leave a bike out on the street on the morning of (or night before) trash day? If it were my kids I would have said "well, you left it out and now it's gone. This is why we don't leave our things out." Also, in the condition it was in, I probably wouldn't even have gone looking for it. I just hope that she and her kids learned something about leaving your stuff next to the trash cans on trash day, I know I did. Next time I'll just leave it and let it be gone forever, then she can go yell at somebody else.

I don't mind giving it back but she could have at least been a bit nicer instead of yelling at me the whole time. Sheesh!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Locked Out

We just returned from Arizona today after being there for a week. We drove and took two days to get there and another 2 days to get back as well as spending 6 nights there. It was really nice. As we were driving there, about half way through the first day, Josh asked if I had a spare key for his car, which I didn't. He's become pretty adept at locking his keys in the car so having a spare is pretty important. I told him he'd have to get one of the spares when he comes back home next week. So we went on with our trip.

Fast forward a week. We'd had such a good visit with family and friends and were packing up on Thursday night so we could check out of the hotel on Friday morning. I had packed most of the stuff in the hotel room and we were ready to carry it all down to the cars and grabbed our keys, only Josh couldn't find his keys. He thought one of the kids had taken them but after looking and all the kids denying taking them, we decided to go look on and around the cars to see if he had put them down when we were coming in earlier. Sure enough, we got down to the parking lot to discover that they were in his ignition with the doors locked. The front desk found us a couple of wire hangers and we proceeded to try and break into the car again. As we were working on it, Kora was playing with the room card and dropped it into the engine. Now our kids were fast asleep in the hotel room, oblivious to knocking and we were locked out of the car and couldn't get the room key or car keys. An hour and a half later, I had gone to the front desk for a new room key, Josh finally got the car open, we finished loading his things and went to bed. Talk about a pain in the butt. But, it was Josh's fault, not mine, right?

Fast forward to Friday. The kids and I were driving home and stopped at a truck stop for gas, toilet and stretch break. As we're walking through the store to the restroom I found a kit with a slim-jim and all the tools for breaking in when you lock yourself out and it was only $12.99. It's the perfect gift for my husband and one we can both laugh about as well as being useful, so I bought it and put it in the back of the van.

Fast forward to Saturday. We stopped at a gas station, filled up and then parked to go in for a restroom break. We all got some drinks, I got a 5 hour energy, because I was totally exhausted and needed help to stay awake and drive, and we went to load back up. As we're walking out to the car I start getting out my keys only to discover that I didn't have them. I retraced my steps to figure out when I had them last and looked in the window to see them in one of the booster seats in the back and all the doors locked. Dang it, I put them down to get Kora out of her seat and now it's my fault. We're at a gas station in a very small town and 6 kids and I are locked out of the car. At least I had my wallet and I had actually bought all the kids drinks. The van isn't as easy to break into as the mustang-we have power nothing. So I had the guy at the counter call somebody to come and bail me out. 20 minutes and $45 later we were finally on our way.

So this story has three morals. First, don't laugh at your husband when he locks his keys in the car and think that he's the only one that does it, or you might just have it thrown in your face two days later. Second, check to make sure you have your keys every time you get out of the car or it might take you an hour and a half or cost you all the cash in your wallet to get back into your car. And third, when you buy a slim-jim, don't store it in your car. It does absolutely no good when your keys are locked inside with it.

The end.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What's been happening lately

* Josh gave all the kids dried prunes tonight and told then they were giant raisins. They all loved them. As a bonus, we'll have some really "regular" children tomorrow.

*Kora finally cut her first tooth. She's been teething for awhile, but any mom who's been through teething can tell you that it lasts for months and you never really know when it'll come through. She was fussy last night, woke up about 8 times during the night and then was fussy all morning. I didn't even think about it being teeth until my husband said something. Sure enough, one broke through and I'm pretty sure the other bottom one is right behind the first. This is the part of babies that isn't much fun. Oh well, at least it usually passes relatively quickly-I can't wait to get my happy baby back without the use of infant Tylenol and ibuprofen.

* My 18 year old cat suddenly started using my house as her litter box instead of her litter box. She doesn't do it when we're around, only at night or while we're gone someplace. It's not like the litter box was dirty or too far away either. Yesterday it was a towel that was on the floor 3 ft from the litter box-we were only gone for 2 hours. Last week she started going out of her way, climbing through the box of shoes and back behind to use my front room carpet to poop and any paper that was on the floor there to pee on-3 days in a row. I don't like locking up my cats but she has made it so that we have to shut them both in the laundry room at night and any time we go anywhere in order for the litter box to be used. I'm sure she's trying to tell me something but I wish that she would just open her mouth and spit it out already.

*My house is so dirty all the time and it's frustrating. I just swept all the floors in my kitchen, dining room and living room 2 nights ago. I went in there this morning to find crumbs spread from one end to the other and covering the whole floor. I don't understand how my kids can make so much mess so quickly. If you come over to my house, I'm sorry for the mess but the front door has a sign to warn you. It says "My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it" and I stand behind the fact that you've now been double warned.

*Josh got a new job this week and we're moving. Rincon is the name of the company and we tried to get on with them a year and a half ago. At that time they wanted him but couldn't hire anybody so they lost out. His contract here is about to run out and they contacted him a few weeks ago asking for his resume. Within a week and a half they called him for an interview, flew him to Arizona, put him up in a hotel and gave him a rental car. They all loved him. The offer finally came through a couple days ago and it's nice. As well as a substantial raise, they're also giving us enough money to pay back the new home buyers tax credit, they pay for our medical and dental insurance each month and they have some other excellent incentives with 401k and the like. They'll pay for half our closing costs on this end, all the closing costs on the other end and will pay for movers to pack, move and unpack our things. I couldn't ask for much more.
Our plan is for Josh to go and start working while we start house hunting and the kids will finish this school year here. Josh will come home weekends as often as he can and then we aim to move mid-June of next year. We also plan to rent out this house rather than selling-just a feeling we have (if you know anybody who wants to rent a really nice house in SE Aurora starting next summer, let me know). I'm not looking forward to being a semi-single parent and I'm not looking forward to leaving our friends here, but I'm really excited to finally be back in the same state as the rest of my family again.

The Ten Virgins

I've recently come to love and appreciate the story of the ten virgins. It's one of those stories that, if you go to church as you grow up, no matter which religion, you're taught it time and time again. It's a parable taught by the savior to the people of the bible, ,and to us. The basics are that there are ten virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come so that they could go into his wedding. They each have a lamp that is powered by oil. There were 5 who had extra oil and 5 who only had what was in their lamps. They all waited a very long time and the 5 without extra started running out of light and asked the others to share. The ones with extra could not share what they had without running out too early so the others ran to buy more oil and returned too late to enter the wedding.
As most of you know, the oil is supposed to be what is within each of us, the bridegroom is Jesus Christ and his wedding is the second coming. If we aren't prepared and ready with enough "oil" within, then we will be left behind when Christ comes and gathers those who are ready.
I can only hope to be one of those who has enough within me to be able to power my light until the day and time arrives that I will need it. I know so many who were once on the right path and then decided that it just didn't matter enough anymore, and it makes me sad. I can only imagine being one who has enough and not being able to share with family and friends who don't. I can imagine the sorrow that those 5 felt when they were unable to share and then had to go in and celebrate without the others. I'm sure some of those who weren't prepared were their sisters, best friends and maybe even their mothers, daughters or aunts. I wish that I could share my desire with everybody around me.
We've all been given our free agency to choose what we want to do and how we want to live our lives. I hope that in the day we need it, myself, my family and each and every one of those I care about, will have chosen the right path to have enough to all go in. Can you imagine the celebration we would all have in there together? I imagine it would be quite the shindig, especially with the family and friends that I have. May we each strive to be the best we can be and live our lives so that we can all get into that party and bring the house down.

Friday, August 19, 2011

So much for that idea

A couple days ago I was sitting out front and watching the kids while they played. We live on a relatively busy street and, while most people drive slowly and watch when kids are in the road, there are still many that don't. Some of these kids are out in the street all the time and the other day one of them turned and rode his bike right in front of a car driving up the street and nearly got hit (Good think Karen was watching).

Anyway, as we were sitting outside, I was nursing Kora and heard a great big "pop" sound and turned just as the rock bounced off Josh's mustang. I was pretty sure it hit the glass but it was on the side and very well could have hit the door or side panel. As I was reprimanding Caleb for it (yes, my 3 year old was the culprit and thought he was pretty cool until I started yelling at him) Noah informed me that he had thrown 2 rocks at the neighbor's car sitting in front of their house. I looked over and could see a rock sitting on top of their car. This isn't a car they drive, this is one they picked up cheap from auction, have fixed up and are now in the process of trying to sell it to make a profit. I meant to go over and see if it had done any damage to our car or theirs, but couldn't jump up while I was nursing and forgot by the time I finished. The neighbor's mom was pulling her car out and I was pretty sure she had seen Caleb do it (which is probably why she was moving her car now that I think of it) and I actually expected her to come say something, but she didn't.

Fast forward to today. We're sitting and eating dinner when the doorbell rings and the kids tell Josh the neighbor wants to talk to him. He took a few minutes and hadn't come back to the table yet so I went to see what was up. I opened the door and saw them standing next to the car examining the front window. Turns out Caleb put a big enough ding in the windshield that it isn't something they can fix without replacing the windshield now.

So, I now have the year, make and model of their car and I get to spend the money we had set aside to replace Josh's windshield to replace theirs instead. At least I have the money but dang it, now I have to start saving all over again to replace the one on our car. Thank you Caleb.