say cheese!

I admit it. Some days, I hate everyone in my family.

OK, some weeks.

OK, some months.

I'm sure, deep down, they don't mean to irritate me. They don't mean to touch my stuff, insult my cooking (or lack thereof) or taste in fashion. They don't mean to track stuff on my clean floor. They don't mean to change the radio station six times in ten seconds. I'm sure they don't mean to have all the good computers while I try to type a blog entry on a prehistoric iBook with a keyboard that skips around. I'm sure they are completely innocent.

But they still annoy me.

This doesn't just cost me emotionally, it robs me monetarily too. I actually had to buy a new camera today, just like the camera I bought last year. (Calm down, Pastor. It was $80). Oh how I remember last year. I was so excited. My very own camera. It was even pink. It was my birthday/mother's day present.

Then the Pastor used it and I haven't seen it since.

When I bought my camera today, the clerk asked me if I wanted the 2 year warranty. Yes, I said, only if it protects my camera from being stolen by my husband or touched by anyone I live with.

I live with, at times, four other individuals. One fully grown, and three others who are grown enough that if they lived in any other country they would be working 80 hour weeks in a sweatshop.

How can they be so needy and so not self-sufficient? Did I do this to them? How come they only like my chocolate bars and my camera and my computer?

Sometimes I think about new, unannoying babies or well-trained puppies. I'm sure some people would think if you can't stand your family, why would you make it bigger? How would a mini yorkie or maltipoo help?

Maybe if I was focused on something else and wasn't at everyones beck-and-call they would remember their own lunch money or where to find any given item in a cabinet. Maybe I would have time to take pictures.

Or, maybe, just maybe - I'd have another set of eyes to look into who would totally understand that every other person in this house is annoying. Another set of eyes, and absolutely no ability to change a radio station.


I am just full of information this week. And fat.

1. If you start your bikini/beach diet in October for your June trip, you will lose the weight.

2. In that same eight month time period, you will also be able to gain it back. Back and front actually.

3. But when you think about it, who really needs the perfect bikini body, when you can purchase the perfect sarong. (Thank you, Ann Taylor Loft.)

4. Why not get some harmful uv action at this point? If I was really concerned about my health, I would have stopped going to Mexican restaurants. Tan, brown-ish fat always looks better than white fat. Think about it - this is why you cook pork and chicken. That, and the deadly diseases and gross-ness.

5. Frankly, I blame all the leggings and maxi-dresses. I knew I should have stayed away from the leggings! How are you supposed to know when to stop shoving food into your pie-hole when none of your clothes are constricting? Stupid stretchy fabrics! You may be forgiving, but I am not. Thanks for nothing.

Oh well. You live and learn. Or maybe you don't. I was at least smart enough to have that really smart, techie kid who is good with the photo editing. Note to self: increase his allowance before trip.


Shop til you drop! Sadly, I've been dropped.

I made a terrible, awful, horrible mistake.

I let my husband see all of my shoes in the same place, at the same time. He's in bed now, with the lights out and a cool cloth over his face, muttering something like "my eyes! my eyes!"

You think I would know better than this. Stupid moving to a different house! Stupid tempting large cabinets with the stupid shelves to put shoes on! How could I have been so stupid?

Please, I implore you, learn from my mistake.

Since I won't be shopping for a very loooooooooong time and am basically grounded to my room to blog, I will offer you everything I know that you need to know about how to shop and get away with it. Yes, I am paying it forward.

Robyn's helpful tips, in no particular order:

1. Leave bags in trunk. Duh! Keep decoy items in trunk (dead body?) to cover bags. Bags go directly from trunk to closet. This bag-to-closet-transfer is akin to moving the President of the United States from one secret bunker to another.

2. Dispose of all plastic tags and price tags. Get over it Environment! These are things we cannot and will not ever recycle. Only God knows what could have been built with all the plastic tag thingys (what are those called anyway?) that have been removed from the clothes I have purchased in my lifetime.

3. Tear receipts into teeny, tiny pieces. Trust no one, not even the shredder.

4. Practice convincingly saying "No, I've had this for a long time. In fact, I think I got it when I was in high school." Then not only will your man think your parents paid for it, but also that you are as thin as you were in high school.

4a. Rule of thumb - any article of clothing/purse/shoes should be treated just like you would a new car - once you drive a new car off the lot it depreciates instantly and is no longer considered new. This is the same for mall shopping. Once you walk out of that mall? It is no longer new, therefore you can always truthfully answer "no" when asked if something is new. I have been married to the Pastor for over five years now, and yet have managed to not wear anything new during that time (And the man has a Ph.D.? Who's the smart one here?). Pretty amazing, huh?

5. Cash is great because it doesn't leave a trail but nothing will rat you out faster than some kid you are forced to take shopping with you. Schools are not so helpful by teaching kids about things like math and money. Decimal confusion works here. If you spend $90.00 say isn't it great that mommy bought all of that for $9.00? Granted this may be harmful to them in the future, but this is shopping survivalism. If you have one of those smart kids, you will probably have to resort to bribery.

6. Stores do not make it easy on us with their helpful size stickers. I know, I know - sometimes it's a real struggle just to hastily remove the price tags when you are getting dressed in the morning, but don't be sloppy - give yourself a final once-over in the mirror and make sure you have removed that tiny, circular XS/S/M/L/XL sticker too.

7. Multiple shopping bags only confuse men. If possible, don't even let the store give you a bag. That's what those large purses are for. As far as I am concerned, caring for the environment was the best thing that ever happened - those reusable shopping bags were not created by tree huggers, they were created by desperate women who love to shop. Shopping bags send a message to the world that says "I care" and conditions your man. He won't know if you are bringing home cans of green beans to donate to the poor or a new outfit.

7a. Keep some cans of green beans in your reusable shopping bags.

8. Sometimes you should buy stuff you don't want just so you can make a big deal about how you don't need it, you care about the budget, blah blah blah and make a huge production of returning it in front of your husband.

9. Save this one for when you need to buy something really fabulous/expensive. Sometimes you have to buy something extra when you've been shopping. That's really why places like Victoria's Secret and Frederick's of Hollywood exist. Men are easily distracted and nothing throws them off quite like buying crotchless panties or stockings.

10. Consider changing your religious preferences. The Amish with their modest dress, Indian women wearing sarees, Muslim women and their burqas - you and I both know these ladies are wearing whatever they want under those cover ups and their husbands? None the wiser. Once they get to lunch with their girlfriends? The wraps come off and the great outfits come out.

11. I especially love it when I can find those racks of clothes that are 70% off, then 30% off, then take an extra 10% off. 70 + 30 + 10 = 110. Whatever I bought must have been free and therefore doesn't count as shopping!

There. I've taken one for the team. Go forth, little shopping Jedis. Oh, one more little tidbit. If you get caught, if you get desperate, just say you didn't buy it for yourself - you bought it for me and send it my way (in plain, unmarked wrapping). In the meantime, don't worry about me and my shopping-free existence. With all this extra time at home I'm bound to find some new secret hiding places.