Monday, December 13, 2010

Bye-bye credit card

I feel like I'm losing a friend. My husband and I decided it's best if we shred my credit card. It sucks because it's only in my name and it's something that's just mine. However, it sucks when he can't use the credit card to order something on-line without having to rummage through my purse or ask me the number.

Instead, we plan on getting a joint credit card. That's a big step, since we essentially have nothing other than our son in both of our names. All bills are in his name, and we don't share a bank account. Some people see that as a form of control and I agree, it's controlling the money we have so I don't spend it all on crap. Let's face facts here, I am horrible with money. I already have the birthday money I plan on getting half spent in my head, and my birthday's 2 months out. So the plan is to get a joint credit card and see how that goes, and then hopefully getting a joint account where extra money will go into so I don't have to ask for money.

Is it odd that I am almost mourning the loss of the credit card? I have a feeling it is, but if you know me, you know that I'm not a normal person.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holidays and drama

It always seems like family drama comes with the holidays. This year, I may have started it. I made a joke that a lot of the people in the family would have laughed off, but this person just completely flipped out. It was quite ridiculous.

Of course, it became a pity party for her and I became the monster in the situation. It doesn't matter what this person has done, one comment made me the monster. But anyways. Why does it seem like any time family gets together, there's an argument about something? It can't just be my family, I've seen it happen in a lot of other families as well.

On of my aunts brought up that we should just try to get along, since it's the holidays. Makes sense, but you can't just play nice during the holidays and then fight during the rest of the year. I prefer to go with ignoring people unless they insist on talking to me.

What do you do during the holidays when you're forced to be around family members that you'd choose not to see? Do you just resist going to family functions, or how does it work for you?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving and shopping

I was told recently that if you aren't ready to pull your hair out, you aren't doing the holidays properly. I am pretty sure I agree. Most moms spend the day cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and everybody else sits back and relaxes. Don't you agree?

I woke up fairly early on Thanksgiving (early for me anyways, I had baked the day before so my portion of dinner was done) and set out to go shopping. I believe I've mentioned before that I don't drive. So I walked a mile to the store to go shopping. I may have mentioned before that I wouldn't shop Kmart again after my last fiasco with them. Well, I lied. I walked there in 26 degree weather to go shopping at 8am on Thanksgiving morning. I walked out about 45 minutes later with close to 30 pounds of stuff, ready to walk back home. So by 9:30am, my arms and shoulders hurt, great start to the day.

Friday I woke up to a phone call from my mother-in-law, asking if I wanted to go shopping. I don't turn down deals, so I went. The longest line I stood in was about half an hour for children's clothing. That honestly wasn't bad for Black Friday. I've decided people lie about Black Friday to keep other people from joining in the fun. My arms and shoulders were still sore throughout the day, and weren't helped by the bags I was lugging around. About this time I decided they need to have people to carry your bags for you from store to store.

This morning (Saturday) I was again woken up by a phone call about shopping. This time it was my mother, hoping I could give insight on what to get my son, nieces, and nephew. I ended up getting stocking stuffers today, which was a good thing to do. So when I got home, I found the stockings and stuffed them with the things I bought, realizing that my son's stocking was overfilled, my husband's was half-filled, and mine was empty.

How is Christmas (or other holidays based on what you celebrate) shopping going for you? Let me know your favorite Black Friday deal or story, if you ventured out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My trip to Blairsville, GA

Over the weekend, I surprised my best friend for her wedding. We had fallen out of contact as life got in our way; school for her and family life for me. Her mother helped me set the whole thing up, including picking me up at the Atlanta airport and getting me there and back (about 90 minute-2 hour drive each way).

Her mother said something that stuck with me. She asked if it was like we had just seen each other the day before, even though it had been 5 years since the last time we saw each other. That's kind of how it felt, like we knew we hadn't seen each other for a long time but it didn't feel that way.

I have a feeling I drove her new husband crazy, but that's my job. I had to make sure he could deal with me or the marriage just wouldn't work. OK, that's not true, but he was fun to torture. I let him know before the wedding that I thought he was a good guy and that if I didn't approve of him, I would not have made the trip. I enjoyed meeting his whole family, and spending the weekend with everybody who came to the wedding. It was an intimate wedding, about 25 of us total, including the pastor and photographer. We spent the weekend in the mountains, and woke up to an amazing view every morning (the picture included).

My short version of my thoughts for this post: if you have a friend that you have fallen out of contact with for no real reason, make the effort to catch up with each other. You will not be sorry for making the effort to at least see if your friendship has stood up to everyday life. In my opinion, if you miss out on the chance to catch up, you may not get a second chance and you will spend a lot of time wondering what could have happened.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My 'fun' shopping Kmart on-line

I was chosen through Cafemom to buy things from Kmart and review their services. I bought most of my stuff in the store, and then had a little bit of the gift card left that I used on-line.

The stuff that I bought in the store was for my son's birthday party. I had a hard time finding decent party supplies. He was having a Cars party. There were no napkins and one pack of each design. I had enough cups and party bags for what I needed. I asked an associate and she said that they were re-stocked by a different company, and they come in about once a week. So you would think that a week later, there would be more in the store, right? Nope. Nobody replaced any of the party decorations in over a week. About 30% of the wall was completely bare, and a lot of styles had maybe one pack of each thing. I ended up having to mix the two Cars designs to get enough plates and cups. There were no napkins that had Cars on them and I ended up using plain colored ones I had. No cake plates at all, but they had a ton of invites if you needed them.

So onto my on-line experience. On November 7th, they had a family and friends event, most of the stuff was 5-20% off. I ordered 6 items: a Cars teaching clock for my son, a zhu zhu pet for my niece, a pair of jeans for another niece, and 3 shirts to also go out as gifts. Their site would not let me order so I had to call and do it that way. I talked to a nice woman who barely spoke English. She helped me through the process to order the 6 items and cash out. That was an interesting ordeal, but my stuff all got ordered.

As soon as I get off of the phone, there was an e-mail in my inbox asking about my experience. I answered that and then checked to find another Kmart e-mail. 2 of the shirts I ordered were not in stock. OK, whatever. I can find 2 other shirts or get other gifts for those people. More than 3 days later, I get another e-mail from Kmart. The Cars clock that I really liked for my son was no longer in stock. It took them long enough to figure that out. If I had known, it wouldn't have been such a disappointment, but the clock is supposed to help with learning to tell time, and they didn't have it in the store.

I got 2 more e-mails saying that items had been shipped. On the last one, they had a copy of my order. The zhu zhu pet was also canceled and they didn't let me know. I called the customer service line and the woman asked if I wanted to re-order. I told her that I would just go to Walmart instead and get the same items for cheaper. I was ordering form them to finish out my gift card that I was given. Why should I waste time trying to order from a site that can't seem to figure out how to let people know whether or not things are in stock?

I am not the only person who got a gift card from Cafemom who had issues with the store or website. I read multiple similar accounts of the stores being poorly stocked and dirty or disorganized. I also heard from multiple people who had a hard time trying to order on-line.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Being grateful

Gratitude seems to be a thing of the past. Most people today (especially younger adults or children) don't know how to be grateful about what they have. It always seems to be that people want more. While striving to make yourself and your life better is a good thing, it's also important to recognize what you have.

I have an awesome husband. We have had our ups and downs, but he is trying to be a better person. He's trying to work on things that caused trouble for us in the past, as am I. He's working on showing that he cares, rather than just hoping I know. I am also trying to be a better wife for him, whether it's making his lunch the night before, or just asking him and genuinely listening to how his day was.

I have a wonderful son as well. Sure, he gets on my nerves some days, what toddler doesn't? But he is a caring child. He is smart and funny, and makes my bad days worth trudging though so that I can get to a better day. I have a great house, a semi-soft bed, and many other things to be grateful for, including my health.

It's easy to say "well, I wish I had this," but how many people appreciate what they have? Leave a comment with something you're grateful for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A slightly more upbeat post

Tomorrow is my son's 4th birthday. It's a bittersweet day for me, as are most of his birthdays. I am so happy that he's growing big and strong, but every year seems to be more of a reminder that he's not a baby anymore. I will probably be a blubbering mess when he turns 18 and we kick him out on the street. (Just kidding, we wouldn't kick him out.)

I was in labor for 26-27 hours with him. I went into labor Halloween night, 2006, at like 10:30pm. My water broke and my husband freaked out. He was running through the house like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to find the number for the hospital. I ended up waddling out to get it myself. I called, told them what was going on and they had him bring me in. He was so frazzled that he had to stop on the way to get cigarettes (no worries, he wasn't smoking in the car). People always get upset at that part, that he actually stopped on the way. You know what? it's better than him leaving, or me having to deal with him on nicotine withdrawls while I was in labor. Plus, I had a feeling that our son wasn't just going to fall out in the 2 minutes he was in the store.

We tried different things. The jacuzzi tub, walking, the shower, nothing seemed to speed things up. I got a few phone calls from people wondering if I had him yet, and my father-in-law even showed up on his lunch break. Finally, at about 11:30pm November 1st, I got the epidural and it was time to push. At 12:50am November 2nd, my son was born. It was a long labor, but totally worth it. In the past four years, he's brought a lot of happy memories to our family. The pictures posted are of the day he was born, and last night (Halloween).

Feel free to share labor stories about your own children in the comments.

Looking young and the problems it causes

This post may sound like I'm whining, just hear me out.

At the last house, I went to the same place for over 3 years to buy lotto tickets (either for myself or for my mom). Every time I went in, the cashier would ID me. One time I bought tickets out of the machine and she stopped me on the way out to ask for ID. I finally told her that she's IDed me probably 100+ times at that point, and I'm not getting any younger.

On Saturday night, I went to a Halloween party at a bar. At the door, I handed over the cover charge and my ID. The bouncer looked at my ID, back at me, and then back at the ID. He handed it back and told me, very matter-of-factly, that I could not come in. He said that it was not my ID and he would not allow me in. The people I went with were dumbfounded and asked if they could bring me home and then come back, as they already paid.

I went home and my brother picked me up to go back to the same bar and try again. I grabbed a credit card and my birth certificate as well. I handed him my ID and he told me again that I could not come in. I told him that I brought my credit card, and that he said if I had one on me, I could get in. That was a half truth, because he told me that, but also said if I left he wouldn't let me in the next time either, credit card or not. My brother and I requested to see the owner and he called over the other guy taking money. The guy looked at my pile of ID, asked my address and birthday. My brother stepped in with "I'm her brother, here's my ID, my military ID..." and they agreed to let me in finally.

I understand that, on a regular basis, I look to be about 16 years old. But when presented with ID, I haven't been questioned before. I don't really know what was with that particular bouncer, but it was embarrassing to be put through that. The picture I have added was how I looked when I went out. It is my "scary zombie" face.

Other people asked why I didn't just go home and give up the first time. Well, I had plans with people and I knew they would have felt bad if I didn't make it inside (as the ride home with them consisted of them apologizing multiple times for me not getting in). Also, as a wife and mother, I don't really get time out to just be me.

For those who don't know, I am 23 years old. I constantly get asked how old I am though, especially with my son. I ran a race recently with a friend and when we were getting to the end of the race, somebody yelled out to ask if we were a mother/daughter team. I know I will enjoy looking young when I get older, but right now it's a pain right in the butt.

Feel free to share any stories about not looking your age in the comment section.

Friday, October 29, 2010


this blog will probably be more self-reflective than looking for input at the end, but I never truly know how blogs will end when I start them. I just kind of let everything roll off of my fingers.

I have noticed lately, my own lack of self-confidence. I make grand plans of things I want to do and then get nervous and full of doubt and end up letting the things I want to do pass me by. I said awhile back that I want to start my own photo studio. At this point in my life, I would want a photo job to get experience and feel more confident about opening my own studio. I want to open a studio by my 30th birthday, but I haven't really gotten much accomplished towards my goal, and I start to doubt that I can actually do it and be successful.

And then there's my running. At the beginning of 2010, I made a goal of running a 5K. I did my first in May and got a time around 45 minutes. I added to my goal, saying that I wanted to finish a 5K in under 40 minutes. If I had trained, I probably could have done it. Doubt got in my way a lot. My own paranoia made me believe that random people who lived around me would see me out running and point and laugh. It sounds stupid when I write it out, but that's what I honestly believed, and it makes it harder for me to get out and run. I finished my final 5K of the year with a time of 41:14, so I got close, but not close enough to make myself happy.

Next year I want to run a half marathon. 13.1 miles. My goal time? Under 3 hours. I looked into a race I really want to do in April. I have told people it's a race I want to do, but I have not yet done anything in the way of training. And a NY winter isn't really the best time to be out running, but if I truly want to run this race, it's something I'll need to cope with (or get a gym membership). I keep just imagining myself, passing out at mile 5.

I guess in order to meet my goals, I need to truly take a hard look in the mirror. I say that I can't do things a lot of the time, and I don't think it's true. I can do things if I truly put the effort in and stop with the excuses. I need to make sacrifices to achieve the goals I have set for myself. Yet I feel like there's nobody pushing me to do things, I have to push myself but I've never really had to before. It's a new thing for me to have to totally be in charge of my own goals.

Ok, I think I've rambled enough, I hope that I will remember this next time I'm sitting here, wondering why I am not getting any better mileage or pacing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

When a parent gets hurt

Somebody I know recently broke a bone, and they found out that they are going to have to have surgery to fix the bone. I thought that their children would know, or should know, so I e-mailed one of their children to update them. Well, that totally backfired. The child in question, called and freaked out on them for not calling them as soon as they found out.

I don't get it. I would be concerned and call my parent and see if they were ok, not scream at them. I would want to know and would also thank the person who let me know.

What would you do if one of your parents got hurt and you weren't the first person they called?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Traveling, and an update

I wrote my last post about winning big with the lotto. My mom and I cashed in her winning ticket, and later that day we headed to the casino. We lost, but a woman who sat next to me won a little. She told me that the game we were playing (a nickel slot machine) hated her and that she never wins. I finished my money on my card and went to find my mom. A little while later, my mom was playing another machine, and I hear a bonus on the game I was playing earlier go off. I turn around to see the woman who told me she never wins. She ended up winning about $400 on that bonus. She laughed when she turned around to see me cheering her on, hoping she'd make the right choices when it came to winning. A few minutes later, she got another bonus, this time winning $700. She made me wish I wasn't done playing and could win a piece of the action too.

On to today's topic, traveling. I am planning to take a trip soon, and looked on-line at ticket prices. The place I wanted to go went down in price from the last time I checked, which was great. I booked my tickets and the husband reminded me that the plane leaves at 5:50, and I would need to get there 2 hours in advance. Being that early in the morning, I may be able to get there just one hour in advance, especially with only a carry-on and no baggage to be checked.

I haven't been on a plane since 2005. I would love to say that I will someday travel the world, but I will be happy just to travel to a lot of the United States. I am hoping to run a race in every state, whether it be a 5K or a 100-mile ultra. OK, I probably will never run 100 miles, but it's a possibility for a race.

Anybody reading this want to share a travel story? Whether it's about meeting 'the one', getting your luggage lost, or anything in between.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winning big

Last week was a lucky week for my family members. My brother told us that he won at the nearby casino, enough where he should have paid the taxes before he left. If he was supposed to pay taxes, that means it was over a thousand dollars. The very next day, my mom called me and said that she won on a scratch-off ticket. She said "I scratched it off and won $100, and then found out it was times ten." So she won a thousand dollars on a scratch-off ticket.

This got me thinking. What would you do if you won $1000? What if you won millions? How would you spend it?

I would like to think if I won big (like millions) I would donate some to a charity of some sort. I would like to donate some to the youth center that I spent a lot of time at when I was growing up. I remember promising when I was 16 or 17 that I would buy an air conditioning unit for the soup kitchen I visited with the youth center. It got far too hot in the summer, serving food behind the counter.

In the way of spending it, I would like to put some away for my son's future, as well as a lot of it in the bank for me to spend as I please. I would get more driving lessons and get my license, and then a car as well. A bigger house would be nice too.

So what do you think? What would you want to do if you won millions of dollars?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meeting Superman

It's a beautiful fall day today. Other than some crazy wind, it's a great day. Sweatshirt and pants weather, if you will. So Tristan and I went to the park. It's only a little walk for us, through the "woods path" and to an elementary school that has recently been closed.

Playing on the playground was none other than Superman. Not the best disguise, he wasn't wearing glasses, or anything other than a sweatshirt to cover his Superman outfit, cape, and huge muscles. Ok, so he was a little boy in costume, but he was Superman. And that is all that Tristan would call him. "Hey Superman, let's play!"

His mother was half-watching as she sat at the picnic table, and appeared to either be working or studying. She would look up every few minutes to make sure he was still there, but otherwise just kept doing what she was doing. At least she was smart and wore a hat, to keep her hair from blowing all over, unlike my hair that was covering my eyes, more so than usual.

Tristan was enthralled with Superman. He chased that little boy around; and made sure if he was going to a different part of the playground, he was going to tell Superman where he would be. They spent probably 15 minutes taking turns climbing up the little slide. As soon as one would get to the top, the other would slide down and then climb up again.

And then it happened, Superman pretended to hit his head and roll down the slide. I could tell he was fine, but Tristan thought it was hysterical. The laughter kept Superman running up the slide and rolling down into the mulch. His mother finally spoke, to tell me that he's a stunt double in the making. I could see this kid going far in the movie business, or as a professional 'wrestler' like The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin.

I think my favorite part of playing alongside this boy was when he ran behind a tree, ripped off his sweatshirt, and became Superman. He seemed so confident and fun. I hope that Tristan can play with him again, if we meet up at the playground. I love little children in costumes, especially when it isn't yet Halloween.

For the parents reading, or children at heart, what is your favorite costume that you have worn or that your children have worn? Tristan is insisting on being a tiger, his costume is already finished. My only worry is that he will eat too much between now and then, and his costume won't fit very well. In that case, he'd be a ghost, which is the alternative costume he requested I make for him.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Credit cards

I got my credit card bill in the mail today, and was kind of surprised. I forget how fast everything adds up. We put a lot of stuff for the new house on there, and wow.

I won't get into exact numbers, but let's say that this month's bill is over $2000. I looked at the handy dandy thing on the side, that tells you how long it will take to pay off that bill, paying only the minimum. It says 21 years. What? How do people get by, making only minimum payments? I could not imagine paying off my washer and dryer for 21 years, as well as the new shades in the house. In all honesty, I probably won't even own them in 21 years. So I would be continuing to pay on things I no longer own.

I try to be financially responsible, as well as a stay-at-home mom with a credit card can be. I may be a little ignorant when it comes to finances, I admit that. I have never really had any bills of my own to take care of. My husband handles all of the bills that we have. He has a lot of them go straight to him, so I don't even know what we really pay on all of it.

Not knowing where money is going out (or rather, how much is going in and out of our account) is kind of frustrating. You never learn about finances if you don't get put in charge of them, at least in my opinion. Before I met my husband I had a pre-paid cell phone, and lived with my father. I had the credit card, but knew not to rack up more than I made at my part-time job. I vaguely know the importance of credit cards, they're a great way to build your credit, in case you ever need a loan.

I don't know, it's just frustrating when I see on the news about credit cards charging above 30% interest. I know that's how they make their money, but a lot of young adults are falling into the trap of getting credit cards and overusing them. I know people who were $10,000 or more in debt, just through credit cards. They got in the cycle of spending just a little bit more than they are taking in, hoping that this would be the last time they did it. Add in the interest and things spiral out of control quickly.

On the opposite side, you have people who don't have any credit. They are financially responsible enough to not find credit cards attractive, and maybe have various bills in somebody else's name. Not that they are committing identity fraud, but more like people who have their parents paying for things like their cell phone and car. So they go through life and don't build up any credit to speak of. When it comes time to settle down and buy a home, they don't have the credit to get a good loan, even though they would be able to make the payments that go with it. I even know a guy who paid for a house in cash because he had the money to do so and couldn't get approved for a mortgage to pay the house off over time.

I sort of forgot where I was going with this post. I started out talking about my credit card and am now discussing other people's credit. Overall, I think they should teach finances as a mandatory class in high school, rather than a small section throughout different math classes. New parents and newlyweds should also have to take a financing course, as those two events are a great time to re-evaluate your credit and finance knowledge. I know that, when I had my son, money was flying out faster than it was coming in. Diapers, wipes, clothing, furniture, and everything that went along with having a baby. Not to mention hospital bills that would have to come out. I was lucky that we had help, and that I was able to utilize Medicaid to pay for hospital costs. I know that other people do not have those options and end up paying a lot of money out of pocket, or using the credit card to pay things off over time.

While I think credit cards are great tools to have, especially in case of emergency, I also think they are very easy to obtain and misuse. Have any good credit card tips, or stories about misusing one? Feel free to add a comment and tell us about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Say what you need to say

This post is inspired by a post I found on (I believe that's the correct website, it's the Single Dad Laughing blog).

How many times have you lied about yourself or your family to appear more perfect? Have you hidden things about yourself so that you don't have the bear the shame of being.... well, normal?

I guess we can call this post, a cleansing. If you wish, leave a post (with your name, or anonymous) and fess up to something. The writer of that blog owned up to a lot of things, some more serious than others. It would only be write for me to own up to some things, since I am asking all of you to do the same.

I used to go through a period of time where I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to end my life, and looking back, most of it was trivial stuff. I had a bad day at school, or my boyfriend dumped me. When you're a teenager, that seems like such life-altering stuff. And it is, but instead of ending your life, it makes you part of who you will be in your adult life.

I am jealous of a family member's relationship. They seem truly perfect, never fighting or really even disagreeing. I feel horrible for almost hoping that their marriage isn't as perfect as it seems. I am NOT saying I hope there's major issues, just regular everyday stuff.... like he comes home and walks on the clean floor with muddy shoes. I had somebody else tell me that they look at the marriage I mentioned and wish their marriage was the same. I told them that they can't compare themselves to somebody else because the grass isn't always greener, but I wish I could have it easy like their marriage appears.

I yell at my son sometimes and don't even know why I am yelling. I feel like a horrible parent, but it sort of slips out. I think if I worked, even part time, I would be a better parent. Being with a toddler from the time they wake up, until they go to bed... well, it's a tough job. It is much tougher than I thought it would be.

So, what do you want to own up to?

My first post

I know this is the lamest title for a blog post, but I don't really know where to start. So I guess this will mostly be a "getting to know me" post, for those who don't already know me.

So let's start with the basics. My name is Mary. I am married and have one child, a little boy who is almost 4. I am a stay-at-home mom and I live in NY. Not the city, the state. I really am not fond of people who assume NYC because I say I live in New York. If it were up to me (and a few others I know) New York City would become it's own state.

Also, if it were up to me, I think a lot of things would be different. Same sex marriage would be legal in all 50 states, with all of the benefits of marriage. I see no reason that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt, or be miserable like a lot of heterosexual married couples.

Marijuana would be legalized and taxed. Think of how much money the government could make off of potheads. Those with medical conditions would be able to get the prescription-grade pot like they are now in states where it's legal, and there would be less potent pot for recreational smokers.

OK, I think that's enough for now.