Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's CRACK, I Say!

This morning I was up at 6am readying myself to coach both a 7am strength class and an 8am SPIN class.  

There was unusual commotion in the homestead because my middle son had an all day wrestling tournament and the "men" in the family were all heading there early.  So me and the boys were all on the run.

I finished up my classes, jumped in the shower and thought about what I wanted to do today.  The day stretched out in front of me with no obligations (and no menfolk) and I instantly knew.  My daughter has been earning and saving quite a bit of $$$ this past month or so.  I'm sure she'd love to spend some of that cashola...

Mom - "Broooooookeeeeee"
Brooke - "what?"
Mom - "Wanna go...SHOPPING?" I need to tell you the JOY that spread across that girl's face???  When did my 11 - 3 weeks away from 12 - year old daughter become drunk on shopping?????  LITERALLY - she was GIDDY and JOYful and a bit TIPSY at the thought of going shopping!!!

Who ARE you and what did you do with my baby???

I HATE shopping!!  

I first experienced this sight about 18 months ago.  I suggested going to the mall for some back to school shopping.  I witnessed my, then 10 year old, go into a glazed, giddy euphoria as we walked from the car to the mall.  I was actually looking at a stranger.  This kid LOVES to shop!!  It's not like I am a shopper and she has been following me around malls all her life.  Grocery store - maybe - but certainly not the MALL.

But then I recalled.  Her girlfriend's mother LOVES to shop.  And Brooke went once or twice with them to the mall.  THIS is how she discovered crack shopping.

So off we went.  It was a raw, damp, drizzly day and we stopped for breakfast and then headed out to a mall.  Now - as I said - I'm not a shopper but I stopped in a few stores looking for boots and bored the hell out of her.  I quickly realized the stores I wanted to go in were NOT the stores she wanted to go in.  

So I let her lead the way.  J. Crew - nope.  Justice - nope.  Old Navy - now we're starting to find a few things.  Ok - so we pick out some goodies and I say, "Ok - so you have $80..."

What whattttt?
I have to use MY $$$$$?????

Seriously????  You never saw clothes get thrown back on the racks so fast.  WTHHHHHHH???????  Now I'm like - am I being a bad mom cuz I expect her to pay for these????  

Mom - "Grrrrrr -  all righttttttt, pick out a few things..."

So we walk out and she's all excited...TO HOLD THE BAGS!   

What?  She never wants to carry anything.  

Welllll - who KNEW???

Mom - "YOU want to carry the BAGS???"
Brooke - "I LOVE to carry all the bags.  I feel so all shoppy and happy carrying all the bags.  It's so cool to carry a bunch of bags."


Seriously - this was HER!!!!  You want to talk about catching JOY??

Crack, I say!  It's CRACK!

Next stop, Rue 21.  What the heck is Rue 21??? Well - "just the best store I've ever been innnnn"  to quote an 11 year old.

In all honesty?  There were alot of "good stuff cheap".  So she has an armload and I'm like - ummm, I'm not buying all THAT!

Enter sad face.

Mom - "Okkkkkk - let me see what this would come to."


Mom - "I'm only paying for half.  You need to cough up the other half."

Now we're talking.

The moral of the story?  Close the deal RIGHT after:  "Wanna go...SHOPPING?"

And the happy, giddy, girl?

So happy and giddy and JOY filled all the way home - how does Mom NOT catch JOY?

Thursday, January 9, 2014


It's all relative - ya know?

I mean - get this...yesterday I was literally GIDDY with JOY for finally getting through the Connecticut healthcare insurance website (that would be through the Affordable Care Act - for those of you who haven't explored it yet.  AKA "The Exchange") and was able to get an AMAZING healthcare plan for my family.  

As a double entrepreneur income family, it has been very financially difficult to get good health insurance.  This has been especially hard to swallow because when we were emploYEES, we had the best of the best plans.  As soon as we opened our own businesses we were saddled with pre-existing condition clauses and extremely high premiums if we wanted the same type of policies.  Or even a lower bells and whistle policy. 

But it's all relative.  We ended up with basically a catastrophic, Major Medical type plan for the past 9 years.  It was affordable but literally paid for nothing before hitting the $10,000 deductible.  Did we put out as much or more than if we paid for that $1500-1800/mth policy with all the bells and whistles?  No.  But medical bills were still a burden.  3 kids, a hernia surgery, bad knees, bad shoulders, mammograms, dentists, gyns - it adds up!!!!

JOYfully, we are now the proud owners of a policy that consists of $35-$45 co-pays for almost everything (and NO co-pays for our children) with the deductible of $2500 waived except when hospitalized.  AND - this is the ICING ON THE JOY CAKE - for less $$$$ than we have been paying for that crappy-a** policy we have had for 9 years.  Imagine...a healthcare policy bringing JOY...

BTW - for the record -  one would think - yea, their subsidy is HUGE because they must be at the poverty level.  

Not even close.  Not even less, less close.  Not even less, less, LESS close.  I was SHOCKED by our subsidy.  And my point is this.  Before you go complaining about the Affordable Care Act, you need to do your legwork.  And if you are complaining because you make so much $$$$$ that you didn't get a subsidy? LOL - REALLY?  Paleeze.  OBVIOUSLY - it IS all RELATIVE.  The policy I obtained for our family - without the subsidy - was an expensive policy.  I will give you that.  But it STILL was less expensive than what we would have been paying for this same policy before January 1st.  

I know - I know - people are b*tching about their policy benefits going down and the price going up.  Or their policy being canceled.  It's all relative, I understand.  But you know what?  Our family has survived on less and paid more - and not just for health insurance. 

It's like incessantly complaining about your daily aches and pains and debt and lack thereof in any arena, when people you know and love as well as those you don't, are battling cancer or other health hardships, losing loved ones, living on the street etc. etc. etc.  They surely would trade places with you.  But then again - it's all relative...

At any rate - this brings me to the real point of this blog post.

Want what you have.  WANT WHAT YOU HAVE!!!

Our family has made so many sacrifices in the past few years, most in the name of being there for our children, as they grow through to adulthood.   We could be the well-off family with two full-time working parents who can't get to their kids games, struggle to get them home from practices or leave them in after-school for un-godly hours because they are on the road to work in the morning at 7:00am and not home until almost 7pm.  We could have.  Lord knows - We WERE!  

But we made the choice and we live with the choice.  And we complain about it sometimes, and we feel cheated sometimes and we had LOUSY insurance!!!!!  But we want what we have and we deal with the hardships and we love our new healthcare policy and it's all relative.  We are HAPPY with what we have!

A Facebook friend recently posted this and you should give it food for thought:

"Do not spoil what you now have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for"

Greek philosopher Epicurus

Does this apply to all we have?  No - I suppose not.  Certainly if I were ill - I wouldn't feel this way.  But seriously - for the most part -  it rings true.  I hoped for a fabulous husband and I hoped for children and I hoped to own my own home and I hoped to drive a mini-van my Saab (little joke - I actually did want a mini van...LOL.  Kinda done with that want...) and I hoped to own a gym and I hoped to be the type of person who worked out regularly and ate well and had amazing friends and made time to read great books and got a college degree and loved her children.  

I have all of this and more.  

And I also have a child with special needs and a fat mortgage and business debt and a pinched nerve 

and a mini-van (smiling?)...but I have good health insurance!!!  

And I want what I have and what I want may change and then I will change what I have and I will change what I don't want and then I will want what I have.  It's all relative.

The point is - take JOY in the now - in what you have.  Surely, much of it was what you brought to your life - what you hoped for.!  There is JOY to catch, my friends!  Now go and catch it!!! 

I mean - SERIOUSLY?  A health insurance policy???

Yea - a health insurance policy.  Cuz...It's ALL relative, ya know?