Archive for Family

Wal-Mart worker trampled to death on Black Friday

Posted in 1, Family, Ranting with tags , , , , on November 28, 2008 by bloggingmom67

Black Friday has gotten out of hand. It’s sick. It’s insane. An Associated Press report says that a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by throngs of frantic shoppers. Yes, I said trampled to death. A person actually lost his or her life because people were too eager, too greedy, too thoughtless.

The same report says that a Wal-Mart in Arkansas had to be closed because of a stampede, although the store wouldn’t confirm that. Another news report I read interviewed a woman who says she usually spends $2,000 for her two kids — ages 3 and 6 — but she’s cutting back this year to half that.

Does anyone else see something wrong with this excess? I’m no Scrooge. I love to holiday shop for my loved ones, and I get into the spirit of it all, too. It’s fun to see my little ones’ delighted faces on Christmas morning when they get a toy they really wanted.

But Black Friday and its sidekick, Thanksgiving Day, have turned into a zoo.  People wait all night for a store to open to get bargain. They get up in the middle of the night. They shop before the sun is up. And, yes, there are some good bargains to be had. But much of the merchandise isn’t even on sale. And certainly nothing is cheap enough to warrant stampeding and shopping so frantically that you cause another’s death.

Here’s my solution for Black Friday shoppers: Buy less. You’ll save money that way. Don’t spend $1,000 per kid; spend $100 or $50, depending on the age of the kid. I’m not even sure how that mom who usually spends $1,000 on a 3-year-old does it. Toddler toys are pretty inexpensive, so that kid must get a truckload. A bonus: You won’t start the new year in debt.

I don’t mean to pick on anyone. I realize most Black Friday shoppers aren’t involved in stampedes. But I do object to the commercialization of Christmas and the perpetuation of excess that Black Friday represents. Does it really help your kids to get a mountain of toys at Christmas? Does that really mean they are more loved than the kids who get a handful?

Maybe people wouldn’t be in a such a frenzy to get bargains if they were spending within their means. If you really can’t afford a big-screen TV, don’t buy one. Then you won’t have to beat another shopper to get the last one that’s half off, but still more than you can really afford.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that we I mean Santa are buying our two kids, ages 8 and 6, a Wii this Christmas. We thought about it lot, we budgeted for it, and that will be pretty much all they’ll get, along with some games to go with it and stocking stuffers. So I understand that sometimes holidays are worth a splurge. (We bought it last week, by the way, and we got it for the same price that Black Friday shoppers are getting it today.)

And I understand it’s fun to open presents. I understand some love the thrill of the chase. But wouldn’t it make more sense to spread the so-called “Black Friday” sales out over a week, so people weren’t going nuts? I bet that Wal-Mart employee  who died would have wished that’s the way it was.

What do you think?

bitchy mommy

I think I’m going to like Michelle Obama

Posted in 1, Family, Politics, relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by bloggingmom67
Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

Obviously, I don’t know Michelle Obama, and I never will. But from what I read and see of her in the media, I continue to be impressed.

What impresses me? I like her comfort level with Barack Obama. They appear connected and, quite frankly, like they know each other very well and love each other. I hope that’s true. It’s good to see it in a married couple. I saw an interview with them after the election, and I just loved how Michelle gently jumped in when she felt Barack wasn’t quite making his point as well as he could. They came across as a team, a real partnership, and she didn’t come across as subservient to him, as so many wives of the powerful do.

I love how she is trying to raise her children as normally as possible. It must be an impossible situation to try to be a good mom in the midst of a media frenzy, but I think she’s up to the challenge. I think she’ll be a good role model for American moms because she has balanced work and family firsthand. She’s been a mom who works outside the home and one who doesn’t. Granted, her income level is higher than most Americans, and she has access to help in a way most working moms don’t. But I think she gets it. Deep down inside, she gets it. 

I know she got criticized during the campaign for complaining about Barack’s smelly morning breath. Some felt it was too personal. Perhaps. It didn’t bother me. I’ve been know to complain about my own husband’s morning breath. To me, it humanized her. It made her seem like one of us. And it made me think their relationship is real — not a candied version of a marriage — but a real one.

I think she’s smart, and I admire her for not hiding her intelligence as so many women do to not get labeled a know-it-all fit in.

I love that while she’s healthy and in shape, she doesn’t try to hide the fact that she’s got curves. Good for her!

And I like how she dresses, despite all the controversy about her red-and-black dress on Election Night. I like that she wears form-fitting clothing that’s feminine. She doesn’t try to turn herself into a man in a power suit. I like that she wears vivid colors. I think they match her bold personality, which I can’t wait to see more of.

You go girl!

bitchy mommy

The ‘Great Pumpkin’ that wasn’t

Posted in Family, Ranting with tags , , , on October 18, 2008 by bloggingmom67

My poor kids. They both went to pumpkin patches for field trips this week at school. My son came home with a puny pumpkin — the biggest he could find. His sister came home with a big one, but it’s already rotting, so there’s not much hope it will last until Halloween.

So when grocery shopping at Wegmans today, I promised them we’d buy a “great pumpkin.” We found it. It was huge. I could barely pick it up high enough to put it in the shopping cart. So we finished shopping, brought it home, and as I took it out of the car, pumpkin guts squirted all over my leg. Ugh.

I realized in horror: The pumpkin looked fantastic outside, but was rotten inside. My poor kids; they were so bummed. And so was I. Plus, we wasted $6. I could have brought it back, but the hassle wasn’t worth the $6 to me.

We’ll try again in a week. Hopefully, our pumpkin karma will improve.

I’m usually so organized, but I really screwed up

Posted in Family, Ranting, relationships with tags , , on October 16, 2008 by bloggingmom67

So the hubby takes me to lunch today — Indian food, my favorite. We go to pay, and our debit card gets declined. This raises an eyebrow because it’s payday, so our account should be flush. And I’m the super organized, anal retentive, neurotic type who budgets her checkbook down to the penny.

Everything we spend – a withdrawal from the ATM, a $3 latte at the grocery store, a $60 fill up of gas — gets recorded and deducted.

So I call the bank, reach a customer service rep in, you guessed it, India (my bank outsources) who is very sweet and explains I’m overdrawn $800. That’s not possible, I think.

That’s not just a mathematical error. That’s a spouse with a hidden — but sudden — gambling addiction or who just started feathering a new love nest. Or we’re get ripped off by someone who stole our bank card number.

So I rush off to visit my local branch and ask for a recent statement. Then I discover my problem — it’s me. I screwed up. Yes, me — the type-A perfect person who never screws up.

We have two checking accounts: One is for the major bills (mortgage, car payment, child care); the other is for the rest, smaller bills, everyday expenses. We do this so we always know the big bills are taken care.

What happened was this: I was out of checks for the “big bill account,” so I got a new set of checks from our box of checks and put it in my checkbook. But I mistakenly grabbed checks from the other account. So for the past two months, I’ve been writing checks, thinking they were from account A, but they were really from account B.

At first, we had enough money in account B to cover all this, so I didn’t notice. Until it got up to $4,000 in bills I had paid with account B, thinking it was A.  So we had the money, just in a different account.

Totally confused? Doesn’t matter. I figured out the mess and moved money around to make it all better. But it makes wonder: What’s the point of being a fastidious crazy, neurotic if I’m still going to screw up? 

The bright side: My hubby, the sweetheart, wasn’t fazed. “Oh, OK,” he says. Got to love that.

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