*** I wrote this at around 2am Monday morning because it was keeping me up. I apologize for it’s rambling nature but ongoing insomnia is making my brain a bit too fussy for editing, re writing, or coming up with a new post.
I was chatting with some people I don’t know that well this weekend and we were all sort of casually introducing ourselves to the people we didn’t know. The usual – name, occupation, church. The things I can never manage to say gracefully. No job, no church & I’m never sure if I should say First name & Last name or just First name, or the name most people know me by. You’d think name would be easy but when a large chunk of your social interaction is done online under a ‘user name’, it really can be a little challenging.
But my normal dither about how to deal with giving this basic info was quickly sidetracked by one little annoying thing someone said.
“Oh, so you just stay home?”
Now, normally I meet any and all responses to my uncertain introductions with a grain of salt. I’m not making it easy for people when I mumble vaguely about ‘working on the internet’, ‘selling stuff on etsy’, ‘this and that’, ‘haven’t found a church I feel at home in yet’, ‘raised Catholic', ‘um, Stacey…’. So I cut the responder a lot of slack. It’s hard to insult me early on in our acquaintance because I am going to shine the best light on what you said due to my own inability to be gregarious & bubbly. Probably we just misunderstood one other.
“JUST stay home?”
I spent most of the rest of the time we were together trying to decide if I was offended by that and then just how offended actually I was by it. Especially since I was leaving a bunch of stuff undone to go and chat with these women. (Several of whom were also SAHMs and several of whom were WAHM and WOHMs. We had all the acronyms covered. I didn’t catch what the person who said it was. For all I know she is a homeschooling mother of 6 who runs her own mortgage company from her dining room table).
Later I worked out a whole speech in my head about JUST staying home.
Let me tell you what I do in between eating bon bons and getting manicures.
Mostly it is a matter of logistics.
Where is everyone? Where should they be? Where will they be later? Can they get there on their own or transportation required? Must they be accompanied? What time will they be back?
Where is everything? Where should it be? Would it be better off somewhere else? Do we need more of it? Who was the last person to see it if it was missing? Where might they have put it? Is there a substitute available?
Food takes up most of my time.
What is for dinner? What food is in the house? What is on sale? What do we have coupons for? What is left in the budget to eat dinner out? What is for lunch? How about breakfast?
Breakfast & lunch both have limited options because I simply don’t have the time to plan any more meals. Cereal or waffles? Turkey or peanut butter sandwich? Apple or orange or grapes? Yogurt or cheese?
Planning dinners can take me the best part of Sunday because I plan a week or two at a time. How much time do I have each day to cook? Do we have TKD practice, late doctors appointment, or do I have from 4pm onwards available? What did we have last week? What is in the freezer? (I often double things & freeze half). What meat & veg is on sale?
Then I check the grocery sale fliers online. There are 3 grocery stores & Wal Mart to choose from and because they are all equally far from my house I can pretty much buy 5 things at one place, 6 at another, 9 at a third and then pop into Wal Mart for the remain stuff plus any socks, memory sticks and bath towels we might need.
But they are not all close enough to one another I can do it one trip. I have to work out what other errands might take me near which stores on what days. This affects what meals are offered what days. Martins doesn’t sell leeks, Safeway & Food Lion’s usually look slimy so I have to get leeks at Wal Mart. Wal Mart also has the best price on V8 Fusion juice. But Martin’s is having a sale on peanut butter & with that price & a doubled coupon I end up with 4 jars of Skippy natural for $1.58 total. Safeway is the only place that sells the brand of wholegrain & multigrain waffles that I like to feed the boys and that brand is cheaper than any of the other brands. Plus Safeway usually has the best price on milk & eggs.
This isn’t knowledge gained from a glance at a newspaper. It comes from years of study and hands on experience. I don’t just know that juice is $2.99 a bottle at Wal Mart. I know that it is 4.7 cents an ounce and that I what I compare by. Me and a calculator work the sale flyers to determine if a sale at Safeway is really cheaper than a regular price at Wal Mart. (because Wal Mart often sells things in different sized packages so you have to break it down to ounces or other individual units, and I know this from long observations during actual shopping, often with small children in tow, not from reading People while getting my nails done)
Do you know how many cans of whole tomatoes you have? I do. I know if I need to stock up on them during Food Lion’s sale or just get a couple to replace what I am going to use making beef ragu this week (Short ribs are on sale at Martins. They are the main ragu ingredient but their canned whole tomatoes cost too much)
And so it goes all week long. I don’t make much money, if any some weeks, so I have time that I can use instead to make the money we have go further.
Bon bons & manicures cost money.
I can’t afford them because I just stay home.
While reciting this tirade I realized I am a bit whacked about the shopping. In my defense it sounds way more involved than it actually is and I really enjoy the challenge of hunting & gathering food for our meals.