Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Tale of Aunt Zoie- Part I

My daddy (1918-1981) was the baby of his family and had two brothers and one sister. Their daddy, Jacob, died in 1920, leaving their mother, Iva Ruth, to raise the four children all alone. They moved from the country into town where she took in washing, ironing, and sewing, and the family was supported in part by the "brothers" of the Masonic Lodge, who took the business of caring for widows and orphans VERY seriously back in the day.

Daddy's sister, Zoie (1913-1994) was as pampered as I suppose one might have been during that time and in those circumstances, but was by no means what one would consider a great beauty. Lord love her, she was tall and more than a little awkward, with very prominent features, size 11 feet, and QUITE a personality. When Mother gets upset with me, she tends to state emphatically, "I'm sorry but you are JUST like Zoie." I love it when she says that, because Aunt Zoie will go down in history as one of my absolute favorite people in the whole wide world. Quirky to be sure, but with a big heart and generous spirit.


Everybody thought that Zoie was destined to be an old maid, but she surprised them all when she met and became engaged to her future husband, Frank Berry Padgett (1917-1984) in 1959, when she was 46. Zoie had been planning her wedding for 25 years and meant to do it up right. They had a full church wedding and reception with every bell and whistle. She registered two china patterns and one sterling silver pattern and got 12 place settings of each. She wore a traditional wedding dress and veil and most of her bridesmaids were her age or older.

As you might expect, Zoie and Frank had no children...actually, none of Daddy's siblings had any children, so Ned and I were the only grandchildren on that side of the family. Zoie spoiled us rotten...Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Cupid, the Tooth Fairy...none of them could compete with Aunt Zoie. I'll save Frank for another day. As I got older, the spoiling went from toys to clothes and shoes. Zoie make four trips a year (one each season)to Bob Ellis Shoe Store on King Street in Charleston to buy her size 11 shoes. From the time I was in college until she was unable to shop any longer I went along. She would buy herself three to five pairs and at least two for me.

Zoie was smart as a whip, opinionated, and boy howdy could she put on airs. When I was 13, I wanted to go to Washington, DC, worse than anything, so Zoie offered to take my 16 year old cousin Nancy (Mother's niece) and me up for a few days. That suited our parents just fine and they footed the bill for plane tickets and a hotel room at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue. We thought we were SOMETHING and had a glorious time. Zoie was a BIG believer that public officials should do whatever they could for their constituents. I'm sure that the offices of Senators Thurmond and Hollings of South Carolina were happy when we'd come and gone. (Remember this also...constituent services will come up again 20 years later.)


Speaking of putting on airs...I particularly remember a cab ride from our hotel to The White House. I don't really think the driver meant to be sarcastic, but their conversation has stuck with me for all of these years.

Zoie: So and So Gate at The White House please. (I can't remember the gate specifically)

Driver: Well hello ladies...are you going to tea at The White House this afternoon?

Zoie: Not THIS trip!! We just couldn't find the time.

He didn't say anything else. Yep...Zoie could be uppity.

More later...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Giveaway Time

Good Morning...we're back...a little more rested...

The winner of the $50 Target Gift Card is...

Diane Anderson from Mom to Monkeys

Congratulations Diane...please e-mail your mailing address to me at lifeofasouthernbelle@gmail.com.

See everybody tomorrow...I've got blog reading to catch up on tonight so look for a new post Tuesday evening. I've got lots to tell you about...don't think I've introduced you to my Daddy's only sister and my favorite aunt. She's been gone for a while but left a BIG mark on my life. Prepare yourselves for Aunt Zoie...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

Happy Friday! Thanks so much to everybody who commented and entered the giveaway. I will post the winner FIRST THING on Monday morning as I'm going to take a little time away this weekend.

I met with the folks at "Ned's house" yesterday morning to set his goals. It was a very productive meeting and he has already charmed the socks off of all of them. Mr. Herman, who is there in the late afternoon and evening is taking Ned to a Wildlife and Sports Expo on Saturday. They're going to look at fishing rods so that they can spend some time at the pond.

We're going to hunt down a bicycle for him this weekend. Ned used to ride around the yard and so if it's true that we NEVER forget how to ride a bike, he and Mr. Herman will have a nice time riding around the beautiful grounds of Green Grove. Ned looks a little bit tired but that's to be expected...he's had more stimulation in the past six days than in the past six weeks. He's having a little trouble falling asleep but it seems to get a some better each night.

Mother is confused, as would be expected, but is in the BEST mood. She seems to think that she has been at Green Grove for MUCH longer than six days and goes on and on about how delicious the food is and how nice and friendly the people are. She is very comfortable in her two rooms and has completely forgotten about the "mean girl" issue. Nevertheless, I had a nice chat with the head nurse, Bonnie, during my visit and they are VERY well aware that Mrs. Velma Bucket (the self-proclaimed hall leader) is a first class bossy busybody and whiny whackadoodle. Bonnie assures me that she had a LONG talk with Mrs. Bucket and everything should be fine.

It is such a blessing that Mother and Ned are finally safe and happy...and such a blessing that the weekend is here so that Hank and I can get a little bit of well-deserved rest.

You, my blog readers and friends are also blessings. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for your support over the past several weeks. Next week, I promise a return to a bit of fun and frivolity.

Have a FANTABULOUS weekend...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Geriatric Mean Girls

FIRST...don't forget to read yesterday's post and enter the giveaway...

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who would a thunk it...there are geriatric "mean girls" at Green Grove.

Mother has been doing beautifully. I could hardly believe my ears yesterday when she said, "Well, it isn't home but it surely is nice. I think WE made a good decision." I about choked on my Pepsi at the "we" part but, hey, whatever works.

Somebody...a new "friend" made what mother perceived as a negative remark today about Ned's house. Furthermore...the negative remark was COMPLETELY unfounded....it isn't true...not one word of it. I'm not going to share the remark because in my opinion, even if what the person said was true it wouldn't matter one whit, nevertheless it upset mother. She's called twice in the last half hour.

We pretty much just got past the mean girl thing with Lorelai and her high school friends. I thought about a lot of issues as we moved mother but can honestly say that geriatric mean girls never crossed my mind.

So...we have a new challenge. How will we catapult mother into a position of power on the hall...the Belle of the Hall, so to speak...hmmmm....

I can't believe I just wrote that...the sad thing is that I'm completely serious. Any ideas???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

1 Year Blogaversary AND 201st Post AND Giveaway

Time has gotten away from me. TODAY is my One Year Blogaversary and 201st post. I was so wrapped up in all of my Mama Drama that I completely missed that yesterday's post was number 200!

The anniversary giveaway is a $50 Target gift card. All you have to do is leave a comment for one entry. If you're a follower or become a follower and leave a comment then you'll get three entries. Deadline for entry is 11:59 PM on Thursday, March 26. Let's have some FUN!

I'm loving this blogging thing and all of the wonderful people that I've met in blogland. Here for your reading please is my FIRST ever post from one year ago today. I still stand by every word.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

This Is My Life! Post #1 - March 24, 2008
In no particular order....I am a wife, mother, educator, daughter of the South. I'm conservative yet politically liberal. I have the most wonderful husband in the world and two children, Legare (pronounced "Lagree") and Lorelai, who make their parents look like the best parents in the world. They save "showing out" for when they are at home and behave like a perfect southern gentleman and a perfect southern lady in public (as far as I know).

I have incredibly strong opinions on just about anything you might bring up and don't mind sharing them. I try hard to balance the southern belle thing with "taking care of business." There are some really dimwitted people out there and I kind of feel responsible for setting them straight. Sometimes they appreciate it and sometimes they don't. I'm OK either way.

Life is good from where I'm sitting in the Lowcountry of South Carolina....not that there isn't unpleasantness from time to time. We have elderly parents, demanding professional lives. The children are heading to law school and college in the fall. We're busy!! This blog is going to be interesting....it's a new experience for this ol' gal but we'll see what happens. Stay with me...

Monday, March 23, 2009

A New Day

Well, my friends...I'm praying that we're in the home stretch. Hank and I are moving slowly this morning but I'm going to get dressed and go to work in a little bit. Tomorrow I'll go back to mother's house to try to clean out the refrigerator and pantry and then back next week during spring break to clean out some more. Thankfully we don't have to sell the house immediately.

Saturday is a blur...we got in and out as fast as we could to move the furniture. My aunt Mary, cousin Nancy, Lorelai, and a neighbor and his son helped on the house end. Hank and I hit the road for The Oaks where another set of friends met us to unload. We spent the rest of the day hanging pictures, making beds, setting up the bathrooms and running back and forth to the store for all of the things we forgot.

Sunday morning...well...Mother called before we could leave here to tell us not to come. She called Hank again twice on his cell phone on the way to say that she wasn't going. She got angry that my cousin John was coming. When we arrived Ann was trying to reason with her, but Ned was all dressed in his khaki pants and Tar Heels shirt ready to roll. He was one excited dude.

The first words mother uttered when I walked in was, "Don't let HER talk to me...tell her NOT to talk to me." Then she saw John, shaped up and sat down to drink a cup of coffee. While he distracted her, Hank and I took the rest of her clothes and so forth right out the front door. Ann was our saving grace once again...she kept whispering come on...you can do this. Mother would say NO I CAN'T...and Ann would say, oh yes you can...you can do this...you know it's the right thing to do.

Around 11:00, mother suddenly picked up her purse and off we went. Ned rode in the truck with Hank, and my intention was that mother would ride in my car with John and me. Still pretending that I wasn't there, she got right in Ann's car for the hour long trip. Is it horrible and or cowardly of me to say that I was relieved?? Well, I WAS RELIEVED! Being invisible isn't the worst thing in the world.

Thankfully, when we arrived at The Oaks, she was pleased with how we'd arranged her rooms. We ate a delicious lunch in the dining room...southern Sunday dinner at its best...fried or baked chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, green beans, fruit salad, a full salad bar, sweet tea and assorted desserts. Lots of people came over to speak and welcome her. Right after lunch, Aunt Mary and Nancy arrived and shortly thereafter, John's wife and kids. It was a regular family reunion and mother ate it up. She took everybody on a tour of her rooms and even sat down at the piano in the sitting area outside of her door and played a chorus or two of What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

At 3:00 we walked over to show everybody Ned's house and room. He played the part of king of the castle beautifully... SO proud and excited. He is the first resident to move in, which is going to put him in the favorable position of big man on campus when the others finally arrive.

About 3:15, my aunt walked over to me and said, "Your mother wants to know why you didn't tell her that they were moving in today..."

I swear I wanted to go BANG MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL. That desire was quickly overcome by an overwhelming desire to sit on the floor and laugh hysterically until the men in little white coats arrived to escort me to my padded room. I didn't do either...just smiled a weary little smile and rolled my eyes.

Hank took mother back to her rooms and Ned changed into his comfortable clothes and settled right in. He went over and ate supper with mother and as he started back across the street for the evening...walked over, gave her a little hug, shook her hand and said..."Good Night Jeanette...see you tomorrow."

We all about fell in the floor laughing. He's never called her by her first name in his entire life. We reckon this was his way of saying...OK...I'm a man now...got my own house...larking out on my own. It was PRICELESS! Ned is going to BLOSSOM and I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself.

Having said all of this...I'm exhausted...both mentally and physically. As we drove in the yard last night Hank mentioned that he hadn't been so weary since his daddy passed away a few years ago. Thank heavens for the best boss in the world...he hasn't made me feel guilty one time for being out of the office and we aren't done yet...lots of little ends to tie up.

Mother made it thorough the night...no phone calls. I checked in with the nurse awhile ago and she tells me that mother is up and moving around. Ned will go over for a visit later this morning and probably again this afternoon. We feel like it's better for him to go to her rather than the other way around. We don't want her to get into the habit of trying to control what goes on at his house...and believe me, she would try if she had the chance.

THANK YOU MY FRIENDS...both the people I see on a regular basis and my friends out in blogland. We couldn't have made it through this with even a shred of sanity left without your prayers, kind words of encouragement, and actual help.

I need to get dressed and go to the office for awhile. But first...here are a few photos of Ned's finished room for your enjoyment. Various friends and family members in the photos also...I don't know what happened to my captions. XOXO


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bizarro World

What is this bizarro world that I find myself in??

We had a good day...everybody was pleasant and cooperative.

We moved mother's bedroom and living room furniture today. Took all the photos and artwork down. Dismantled Ned's room. Moved books and photo albums and all manner of doodads...lots of clothing and shoes too.

Drove an hour and reassembled the rooms in the new location.

As we drove home 12 hours after we started, we got a call from mother. "I'm not ready...I'm not packed. I can't be ready for two weeks. Don't come for me tomorrow. I won't be ready for two weeks. Why didn't you tell me we were going tomorrow?"

I know you think I'm making this stuff up. I WISH I was making this stuff up.

We're picking them up at 10:00 in the morning. Pray more!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

We're Almost There...

Thank goodness that moving day is almost here for Mother and Ned. We move furniture tomorrow....them on Sunday. She was difficult early this week, was happy yesterday, and in the past several hours has been all over the place. About 5:00 PM, we called her and she was sobbing.

Right after that I ate three quarters of a medium pan pizza. Pizza delivery is a wonderful thing.

About 8:00 PM she called us. She and Ned were in disagreement about what day of the week it is. Ned was trying to tell her that it is Friday and she was insistant that it was Thursday. Ned wins.


Right after that I found a box of cake mix and a tin of cocoa in the pantry, baked a sheet cake with homemade chocolate frosting and ate a 5 by 5 square right out of the middle.

9:45...Ring Ring...Yes, mother...it is Friday.


I looked through the cabinets and refrigerator but honestly, I don't think I can eat another thing...

On a more upbeat note, Lorelai and I had a shopping day yesterday and were joined about midway through by her roommate Nancy. They LOVE to have their pictures taken. Needless to say, it will be a few weeks before I do any spring clothes shopping. I have to "lose" the pizza and cake!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cool...

I was looking around on Lorelai's Facebook page the other day and came across this exchange that she had with a friend. I thought it was just precious...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelai...
oh thanks... (I assume that Joe had just complemented her gorgeous hair)
i dont like my red hair sometimes

Joe ...
oh boo
thats lame
so few ppl have red hair
u should be psyched that God thought u were cool enough

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Doesn't that just make you SMILE?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Randomness

I love having my kids at home. I read a blog post recently (and my apologies to the author...I can't remember which blog it was) about making our homes into havens. Too often I get busy and forget how important that is...not just for the children or visitors, but also for Hank and me as we're usually the only ones here. I pray that our kids will always WANT to come back home because they feel happy and loved...NOT just out of obligation.

Still LOVING my Saturn Vue, by the way.

Watching American Idol...not sure about this version of "Ring of Fire" by Adam Lambert. He's a great performer but I'm betting that Johnny Cash is spinning in his grave about now.

If we don't get my mother and Ned settled soon I'm going to weigh a ton. Thank goodness I'm not a big drinker or I'd be SLOSHED all the time.

I'm taking a day off on Thursday to take care of some things for mother and to spend a little bit of quality time with Lorelai. I think that means that we'll be shopping for a new outfit for her Friday night date with our Citadel cadet!! He wanted to "friend" me on Facebook and she wouldn't let him. She NEVER lets me have any fun!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Making a run for it...

Mother is thinking of making a run for it...

She called on Saturday afternoon...


Mother: I guess there's nothing I can do about this moving thing. You've made all the decisions and plans.


Me: Yes ma'am. Everything is planned. We're moving furniture next Saturday and you and Ned will spend your first night in your new places on Sunday night.


Mother: I don't like it...


Me: I know and I'm sorry but waiting longer won't make it any easier. Ned is SO happy and excited about his new house.


Mother: No he's NOT!


(watch how I just let that one go...)


Me: OK then...(and even though we'll talk to her at least 25 times between now and then I say...) We'll see you about 10:00 next Saturday morning.


Mother: Not if we're not HERE you WON'T!


...and Thursday was SUCH a good day...

I'd like to make a run for it too...Tahiti is probably really nice right now...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Corps Day Formal at the Citadel

Lorelai and her roommate Nancy got here late Thursday night so that they could have Friday to get ready for their dates with a couple of handsome cadets from The Citadel. They were in a rush to get out of the house so I only got a few quick snapshots.

Lor showed me a few that they took with her camera during the event and it looks like they had a lot of fun. I'll have to get copies. She says that she's never before been out with such a gentleman as this young man. He must have been raised by a southern belle.

The boys would have come to pick up the girls but they had an afternoon parade and there wasn't enough time to drive the 45 minutes out to our house between the parade and dinner reservations.

It isn't unusual for young ladies to drive themselves to campus. Citadel rules and curfews can cause glitches sometimes. Once we drove my best friend's boyfriend out after curfew in the trunk of Hank's car. LORELAI...don't you EVER do something like that!
A Friday afternoon parade is something to see, especially in the springtime when pretty girls are sitting in the stands in their preppy best to watch the young men (and now women). I guess there are some preppy boys sitting in the stands too. Sometimes I forget that there are female cadets also.

Frugal Friday...Week 4

Week 1- Bundled phone, internet, cable to save $50 per month

Week 2- Turned in leased car and bought new car. Save $200 per month on car payment plus savings on gasoline.

Week 3- Whole family puts away the credit cards...cash basis only. Children not happy but have been convinced to comply. Rest assured that neither of them is going to suffer. They will just have to THINK a little bit, because the days of whipping out the American Express card for any and all manner of food and merchandise is over. They can get the same thrill from whipping out the debit card...they just have to make sure there's enough money in the checking account beforehand. OK...so I guess that isn't EXACTLY the same thrill but anyhow...
Week 4

I must be the last one to understand that stores actually SUBTRACT money from the bottom line of your purchase when you give them those coupons that come in the newspaper or in the mail... OK...so I KNEW it but never took the time to read the sale paper or clip the coupons. Between the CVS card and coupons, I saved $10 the other day on regular things that we routinely buy. Another $15 in one grocery store and $10 in another.

I could kick myself for not taking time to do this YEARS ago

I feel like I've been reckless!

So...what am I going to do next week? Any ideas??

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today=Victory

Today was the ribbon cutting at the Aldersgate House for Ned. When Hank arrived to collect everybody this morning Ned met him at the door and said, "My day as FINALLY arrived!"

A caravan from Hometown traveled up to Orangeburg...Hank and Ned in his truck. Mother, Hank's mother and our angel Ann in mother's car. Ann was able to get mother to take an ativan to take the edge off and it worked beautifully. She came without complaint and seemed to enjoy herself. She even posed for a photo with Hank and Ned.

After the ribbon cutting, where people just made ALL over Ned and mother, we went across the street to see mother's rooms and the doctor and nurse at The Oaks. A reporter from the local newspaper even talked with us. Many folks are finding mother and Ned's story interesting. All in all she had a very good day. Legare was with us every step of the way so mother was less likely to show out.

Our Angel Ann with Ned in his soon to be new room

Uncle Ned loved that Legare came to see his house.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If It Could Only Be This Simple...



Thanks to nikkicrumpet at Blah, Blah, Blah Blog for letting me borrow this photo!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We knew this would happen but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with...

Hank and I went to see Mother and Ned on Sunday afternoon to try to get a few things in order for their move.

She doesn't want to move now.

She is angry that we keep trying to tell her what to do and make decisions for her.

She doesn't want us to come to her house EVER again.


She says that we don't know her...we don't know Ned. WHO do we think we are???

Okey dokey then...As Chris Matthews would say..."it's time to play hardball!" Moving day has just moved up...furniture on the 21st and them on the 22nd. Friends and cousins are on standby to be there with us as we load things up and help with the transition.

Hank (who has recently lost his charm with Mother...he could always reason with her while I've been the ungrateful hardhearted wicked witch) and I will continue in the roles of "bad cops" while friends and family will be on hand as decoys and distractions.

I'm beyond knowing what else to do to make this easier for them. The hatefulness is new and I have to say, I'm having trouble knowing how to respond.

I'm so sorry for posting these whiney things lately...bear with me for the next couple of weeks...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Computerized


I love my job as a school administrator at the district level. I manage innovative instructional programs and we're really begin to delve into public school choice models. One program that will begin its second year in the fall is an acceleration program for overage students. These at-risk kids have an opportunity to complete their eighth and ninth grade work in one year with the help of a fabulous group of teachers using a very unique software package that differientiates instruction. This puts most back on track graduate with the original cohort that they started kindergarten with.

Here's the issue...we can only take 80 students and we choose them by placing the names of all of the qualified students into a random lottery. The families receiving invitations to apply are always thrilled and often call just to let me know they got the letter. Some of them will be really DISAPPOINTED when their kids' names aren't pulled and will call me to tell me how I've ruined their lives. It's human nature to be disappointed, so I just listen and say how sorry I am and take whatever they dish out. They're almost always calm by the end of the conversation.

Anyhow...the other day an overjoyed mother called to let me know that she had mailed her "intent to apply" card back. We had a nice chat which ended with her saying...

I am SO excited that my boy Mike might have an opportunity to be in this program...He's shy and I think he'll do better in a smaller environment. We really like the idea of him being able to work at his own pace on the computer too...you know, my Mike...he's COMPUTERIZED!

I know she meant that he knows his way around the computer but for some reason I'm half expecting WALL-E to come rolling into the family interview...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

People Not From Around Here...

I was in Bi Lo this morning doing some grocery shopping and picked up a reusable grocery bag that had a Cooper River Bridge Run logo on it.

As I checked out, the young girl bagging the groceries said, Do you know that people from 'round here NEVER win the Bridge Run?
I replied that I was aware that the top prizes often went to runners from other countries, particularly Kenya.

She replied that she didn't think that was fair and that there should be a rule that people "not from 'round here" should only be allowed to win maybe once every five years.

I said, Well...since people from all over the world are encouraged (even invited) to enter and they come all this way, it's only fair that they have the chance to win everytime.

The checkout girl asked, Where is Kenya? Is it one of those running states?

The girl doing the bagging didn't seem sure where it was (except that it wasn't 'round here!)

I'm not certain why, but I suppose it was the teacher in me that felt compelled to explain to her that Kenya is NOT one of the United States (and I don't know which states we apparently consider to be "running states") but is a country in Africa. She did seem to have heard of Africa, but unfortunately agreed with her colleague that people who aren't from around here shouldn't always be allowed to win the Bridge Run.

I'm tired now...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Frugal Friday...Week 3

Week 1- Bundled phone, cable, internet to save $50 per month

Week 2- Turned in leased car and bought Saturn Vue (for those wondering, it's a sand color)...will save $200 per month in payment, gets better gas mileage, uses less expensive gasoline.



Week 3

The children aren't going to like this...not one bit. Both of them have a credit card hooked to a card in my name. Both have been known to use the credit card liberally. I get the bill and some months I am STUNNED! Last month the bill was $1000.00 which was DOWN from the month before. I love my children very very much. Because I love them very very much, we are getting rid of all credit cards...almost. They will be sad...very very sad.

Legare and Lorelai have debit cards and check books! My office is less than a block from the bank...All they have to do is call if there is an emergency that they can't cover and I can be at the bank in five minutes.

I am keeping the card that I've had since the beginning of time because it earns points. I put all the routine things that we purchase on the card and pay the balance in full at the end of the month...the money to pay the card is figured into our budget and we enjoy the gift cards that we get with the points. Hank is keeping his also...We consider using our cards "cash." We're accountable and we pay the bills in full every month.

I should have known this was going to be a problem when Legare was 17 years old and at the summer Governor's School. I gave him the credit card then for emergencies. When I got the bill, he had charged $1.67 at Starbucks 21 times.

Legare...I said...did you not ever have a couple of dollar bills in your pocket when you went in Starbucks? Starbucks was NOT on our list of emergencies. Well...he replied...it just felt so GOOD to hand them the Visa card!

Like I said, I should have known we were going to have problems. Not that the child didn't speak the truth. It DOES feel good to hand that card over...it's like getting something for free...until you get the bill. Since Legare and Lorelai never even SEE the bill, I think perhaps we've done them a disservice. They are NOT going to like the new cash only philosophy, but in a few years they'll understand.

ATTENTION Children of Belle--Cash Only, my sweet little darlings...I love you but I mean it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Finer Things in Life


I admit it....I become obsessed with things. Sometimes I settle down and moderate the obsession and it becomes a normal part of my life (like blogging) and sometimes my family just has to ride it out until I drop the obsession altogether (like wanting to become a caterer...one job...REALLY hard work).

I'm really really really obsessed with the Frugal Friday thing right now. Hank rolls his eyes at me and that's fine...I'll spend my savings on me. Wait...no...I can't spend my savings because then it won't be savings. (I never said I had a COMPLETE grasp of the concept...give me some time.)

Anyhow...I e-mailed Legare and Lorelai the other day and told them to send me a list of their favorite brands of toothpaste, shampoo, etc. and if I see those items on sale or have coupons I'll buy them.

I received this from Legare:
I don't suppose there are coupons for Kiehl's in the Sunday paper?

My reply:
Daddy and I thought that we were being good parents by exposing you to the finer things in life. We screwed up!
Love, Mama

(I know that "screwed up" isn't a very belle-ish thing to say, but it just seemed to fit...)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Duggars and their almost 18 kids...


Do y'all know who I'm talking about...the people on TLC who have all of the kids whose names start with "J" and who live in Arkansas in a house they pretty much built themselves? They are very devout Baptists (not Southern, I don't think...a lot more "serious" and that's saying something) and are completely debt free even with all of those kids. That's REALLY saying something. As soon as I save up enough empty laundry detergent bottles, I'm going to try their homemade laundry detergent for a Frugal Friday post. It's supposed to make ten gallons and only cost a couple of dollars. SERIOUSLY...I am!

If you don't know who I'm talking about then you aren't going to be amused...heck, you might not be amused if you DO know.

I was just thinking about how conservative they are. Nothing wrong with that. It's just unusual to me because I know a lot of good, strong, people of faith (and am a person of faith myself) but I don't know anybody THAT conservative. The oldest just got married and didn't even kiss his fiance until their wedding ceremony (although the way that they held hands between the engagement and wedding was almost obscene...hard to explain...you'd have to watch "A Very Duggar Wedding.") Eventually, though, the odds are that at least one of those kids is going to rebel in one way or another.

I wonder how Jim Bob and Michelle will react when one of the girls insists on wearing pants or heaven forbid BERMUDA SHORTS? What if one of the boys brings home a Presbyterian or...GASP...an EPISCOPALIAN??

I'm just saying...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just when you think she's calmed down...

Mother called last Friday night quite late...we were just brushing our teeth and getting ready to turn on the sound machine and go to sleep.

You'll need a little background information to help you get through the post. Ann, a lovely ANGEL of a lady, has been helping us with mother and Ned since January of 2008. If we had not found Ann, we would have had to separate them at that time. They had to have help at home...Ned had practically become the responsible one in the house and that was not going to work. So...along comes our angel of mercy, who has become and will always be considered a member of our family. I think it does bother mother some though, that Ned seems to like Ann the best. Ann is fun...mother is generally not all that much fun.

I manage all financial matters for mother and Ned. For some odd reason, she has three checking accounts...Ned has one. Mother still receives her bank statements but rarely looks at them. I pay Ann $325 a week, which I think is a bargain considering she lives just five minutes away and will come running anytime mother calls, even after hours. I'd pay her more if she asked for it! I rotate the accounts I pay her from, so one check gets written from each account each month. I gave her a generous Christmas bonus from my own funds...thank goodness...you'll understand why I say that as you read on.

Back to Friday night...PHONE RINGS...I answer...

Mother: Belle, I'm looking at my December bank statement. What is this check for $325?

Me: That's where I paid Ann.

Mother: You are KIDDING me? She makes $325 a MONTH?

Me: (stupid stupid me): No, she makes $325 a week.

Mother: A WEEK....YOU ARE JOKING!!! I'm getting rid of her. That is ridiculous. People don't make that kind of money. I bet she's just LAUGHING at you when she takes that check to the bank. She is taking you for RIDE!!!!

Me: She's not taking me for a ride and she isn't laughing...It isn't ridiculous and you can't get rid of her. (Hank is listening...shaking his head) She's worth every penny...you're moving in a month and you need her to help you get ready.

Mother: I know I'm moving in a month....golly doodlebugs...now what did I call you for?

Me: (getting smarter) To ask about a $325 check on your bank statement

Mother: Oh yes...what was that for?

Me: (brilliant me) It's what we pay Ann every month. (Forgive me for "storying" but I'm in survival mode here. Even if she looks at the other bank statements she won't make a connection...I don't think...)

Mother: Every month?

Me: Yes ma'am. I know that seems like a lot to you but it really isn't. Some people make that much or more per HOUR. When Legare gets out of law school he'll probably bill quite a bit more that than per hour. (See what I did here...the old switcharoo...redirect to the grandchildren, who can do NO evil!)

Mother: I guess I'm just out of touch with how much things cost...How ARE Legare and Lorelai?

We chatted for a few minutes about the kids...then mother said...

Golly doodlebugs (This "golly doodlebugs" thing is new) Now why did I call you?

Me: Just to say hello and ask about the kids...

Mother: Oh...OK...well...good night.

Me: Good night...

I ask you...is it any wonder that I didn't sleep well?