Archive of ‘Stories from real life’ category

Money Can’t Buy You Love…

Brian closes his computer with a sigh, a worried look on his face.

“My shoes will have to wait,” he says.

“Uh oh. How broke are we?”

“Let’s just say that you shouldn’t buy anything this week. At all.”

Photo credit: Images_of_Money

I sigh heavily and sink lower into the couch, feeling guilty for the tightness of our financial situation.

After all, last year at this time, I was doing massive amounts of freelance work – on top of my  9 to 5.

But it got to be too much. I was, quite frankly, completely miserable.

So I’m not doing any freelance work right now. Or not much, anyway. Add in some of the other financial changes we’ve seen this year, and well, the difference in our circumstances starts feeling rather painful.

But you know what? It’s all a matter of perspective.

After all, I can still spring for organic milk at the grocery store (most of the time). I can usually buy fresh fruit, vegetables, and all the other coupon-less items I love without think too much about it. I can even get the occasional $10 bottle of wine.

It wasn’t always that way.

In the leanest years, every trip to the grocery store was an exercise in extreme budgeting. Bill-paying was a matter of stealing from Peter to pay Paul. Heck, there was a time when I couldn’t even afford to pay my trash company. Instead, I dragged my garbage cans up the block and a half to my friend’s house when they got too overloaded.

And even then, I was lucky. I  never had to rely on food stamps. Never had my home taken away from me. Never had to suffer the pain that is a six-figure medical bill sans health insurance.

I hope I never do.

And this budget crunch we’re under? It’s partly because we had to pay for the registration on our brand new Forester. And also because I took a trip to New York City for a blogging conference.

Talk about your first world problems.

So yeah. Money’s tight.  And probably will be for the foreseeable future.

But you know what? I’m happier than I have been in a long time.

I’ve got a husband whom I love to pieces, and who loves me in equal measure.

A little girl who continues to surprise and delight me, and who I love more than I ever thought possible.

A family who supports me in all that I do – even when they’d rather I didn’t do it.

And a job that I actually enjoy going to every morning. How many people can say that?

In other words, I’m filthy stinking rich.

And I wouldn’t trade my life for all the money in the world.

 

 

 

My New Favorite Phrase.

“Mommy, why do I have to take a bath?”

“Because you’re dirty and we have to wash the gack off.”

“Why am I dirty?”

tori in a puddle

This is why you're dirty, kid.

“Well, because you painted your hands. And put stickers up and down your arms. And then went outside and played in the dirt. And somewhere in there you had some chocolate.”

“Why?”

“I have no idea why. Why did you put stickers all over your arms?”

“They’re my arm necklace. But why can’t I be dirty?”

“Because it’s gross.”

“Why?”

“Because when you stay dirty for a long time, you get stinky and smelly.”

“Why?”

“Because that’s what happens. Kinda like when a dirty diaper sits around, you know?”

“Why can’t I be stinky?”

“Because if you’re stinky, no one will want to be around you.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s no fun to be around someone who smells.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s stinky and icky.”

“Why?”

“Because I said so. Now get in the bathtub.”

That, my friends, was an actual conversation.

It’s why getting anything done in my house now takes ten times longer than it used to (and let’s face it, we were never setting any speed records).

It’s also why “because I’ve said so” has become my favorite phrase. Along with “just do it.” And “go ask your dad.”

But mostly that first one.

I remember when my mom said it. And man, did it infuriate me. I always thought “because I said so” meant she had no real reason for what she said. That she just wanted to make me do stuff for her own benefit.

In fact, I remember vowing that I would never say those words.  I remember thinking that I would never make my daughter do something that didn’t make sense. That I’d always take the time to help her understand what I was asking of her.

Silly, silly me.

Mom, the kid I was owes you an apology. And a big bottle of wine.

Feel free to tell me you told me so.

Sun, Sand and Serious Cash: Memories from Working in the Dot Com Bubble

The year was 1998. I was working as a lowly receptionist, lazing away my days at the front desk of a bustling digital ad agency.

Sunset Beach on Captiva Island

Photo Credit:: Kaitlin M.

Our company had just bought three other web design firms, full of employees not very happy to have been purchased.

To smooth feathers, calm fears and bond us together, our owner decided to take us all to a posh resort on Captiva Island. All 200 of us. For four days.

Even then, I thought it was insane.

Still I wasn’t complaining. Instead, I was buying bikinis, packing sunscreen, and jumping up and down with glee. And honestly? I was waiting for them to come to their senses and realize they didn’t need to drag the receptionist along.

But they never did, and before I knew it, I was on a plane, Florida-bound.

The resort was something out of a movie, full of lush tropical gardens, private villas, and, of course, heart stoppingly beautiful beaches.

I believe we attended some seminars. Did some “trust building” exercises. But that’s not what I remember.

I remember bobbing in the waves under an impossibly blue sky, giggling as I watched my peers cavort drunkenly on the beach.

I remember sitting beneath the canopy of a big white tent, watching the sun set through the palm trees, butter dripping down my chin as I feasted on the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet.

I remember swimming in the moonlit ocean, gazing about me in wonder as the water around me glowed with the light of millions of tiny phytoplankton.

I remember wondering how this could possibly be my life, and when I was going to wake up.

And thinking that if this was what the working world was like, they could go ahead and sign me up for a lifetime sentence.

Now, of course, I know better.

That was not reality.

It was a moment of collective insanity, fueled by ridiculous amounts of cash given to impossibly young CEOs in an economic environment no one really understood.

But it was awesome.

And I feel damn lucky to have been part of it.

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