Beware of Free Coupons, Stranger Bearing Gifts

I know one thing about life:  free coupons are not worth it.   Let me explain. In my kitchen, my mother-in-law and I caught up on the lastest gossip.  At the same time, I shuffled through piles of paper in our junk drawer and deep-sixed a stack of coupons.  She jumped up, stunned, and saved them from the recycling bin. Woman, keep your hands out of my trash. “Don’t worry.  It’s just a bunch of free coupons, not worth it,” I said, wiggling my head in disbelief. “I have never found that to be the case,” she said, hands on hips.  “Free is free.” Maybe I should have prefaced my statement. Last summer, neighbor’s family was visiting and she expressed her concerns to me.  “I … [Read more...]

Men Speak 7000 Words Per Day?

Do men speak 7000 words per day and women use 20,000?  Need proof?  Check out my guy’s typical text messages. Let me set the mood.  It’s around 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’m getting hungry. Texting “Are you coming home for dinner?” I texted, carefully spelling out each word with my thumbs. “Ya,” he texted back in a microsecond. “What do you want to eat?” “Anything.” “Okay, see you tonight.” “:)” See what I mean? Actual Words And when it came to using actual words in a live conversation, it was more of the same.  But the moment I turned on a blender, dust buster, hair dryer or hand mixer, he became a human magpie. After breakfast, I asked, “What do you want to do … [Read more...]

I Hate Brussels Sprouts

I hate Brussels sprouts.  My aversion to “The Sprouts” goes back to elementary school days when my parents and grandparents insisted I follow the Clean Plate Club and eat every bite of food placed in front of me and that included Brussels sprouts. As a kid, I wasn’t considered a picky eater.  I choked down chicken liver with onions, Vienna sausages, overcooked vegetables, tuna noodle casserole, fried bologna, and canned ham.  I ate it all.  But disgusting tiny, green, soggy, lettuce balls?  Barf! Even the name alone irked me, “Brussels sprouts. “  What’s with the capital B and the extra ‘s’ at the end?  No other vegetable gets the right to have a capital.  It’s so uppity. For … [Read more...]

Grandparents Return Gifts, Even Plants

My grandparents return gifts, even plants.  Their excuses for returning our gifts ranged from too large, too tight, wrong color, useless, costly, confusing or purchased under the wrong zodiac sign. All our presents had been returned for 40 years. It was good etiquette to accept a gift graciously but my grandparents were the exception.  “Return it, dear.  We don’t need it,” Grandmother said in her girlish voice.  “Save your money.  You keep it,” growled Grandpa, tugging up his baggy trousers. Each year, my mother continued to be disappointed and surprised by their insensitivity.  “Mom, they do this every time,” I said.  “They hate everything we give them.  Stop buying them stuff.  Give gift … [Read more...]

Going Back to My Childhood Home

Nothing was more frustrating than going back to my childhood home and discovering that no matter how much I’ve changed, everything there remained the same.  Floorboards creaked.  Front door squeaked.  Kitchen sink leaked.  And my mother was not bothered in the least. Sleepover Gone Bad Traveling to the Midwest in the winter usually results in flight cancellations and delays.  This trip was no different.  Three schedule changes later, I arrived at my mother’s front door.  She grabbed me by the shoulders and smothered me with hugs and kisses.  After talking with her for hours, I needed to break away and get rid of the airplane grime. “I’m gonna take a fast shower,” I told my … [Read more...]

Waste Not, Want Not

Growing up during the Great Depression, my late grandparents were the original recyclers and frugal beyond measure.  They believed absolutely everything deserved a second chance at a new life, from a piece of string to an old pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s time to learn from an old saying, “waste not, want not.”  Our grandparent’s penny-pinching philosophy may be worth another look in today’s throwaway society. Below is a list of “How To” tips from a booklet I found among my grandmother’s possessions, Household Hints, dated 1950.  Some of the suggestions are worthy of a second look even in 2013.  Others are a funny glimpse into the past.  You decide. How to Be a Wise Housewife Fluff … [Read more...]

House Tried to Kill Me During Move

I’ve moved eight times in twenty-two years of marriage.  That’s a grand total of 3,987 boxes to unpack, 50 pieces of battered furniture, 45 missing cartons, 15 damaged appliances, 2 wrecked cars, and one lost pet.   I’m as unlucky as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. This time my house tried to kill me during the move. Let's Move! For our latest and hopefully final move, we found a perfect house only two miles away.  This time our move would not be dictated by my husband’s job.  “Let’s do this,” I said to my husband after viewing the ideal home at an open house.  “It’s perfect.” Moving day swooped down on my household, as swift and predictable as daylight savings time.  “Oh.  My.  … [Read more...]

Artificial Christmas Tree Attacks Couple

This article was contributed by guest blogger, Camille DeFer Thompson. Revenge of the Faux Fir It took us years to reach this decision.  Our garage already overfloweth with boxes of ornaments, Costco trash bags stuffed with fake garland, its needles protruding through the plastic like some galactic being, struggling to break free, and tangles of multi-colored exterior lights dangling from nails above the workbench.  Where, we wondered, would we store an artificial Christmas tree? But last year, we finally tired of shivering through the Home Depot tree lot to pick out just the right Noble or Douglas, with no more than one bad side that could be camouflaged against the wall, to adorn our … [Read more...]