Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Death of a SalesMom

Tis the season for sales galore. My daughter might be selling nuts and candy for the Daisy scouts (this is doubtful as I am the troop leader and sales are not my strong suit), my son is selling popcorn for Cub Scouts and both of them are selling discount cards for their school. While I understand that these types of sales must be done and that they benefit my children in tangible ways, I loathe them. Selling a card that can actually save local folks money throughout the year is one thing but hawking overpriced popcorn, nuts and candy to the fine folks of East Tennessee who are struggling not only to make ends meet but also to find belts that fit is not something I enjoy. According to a recent study, Tennessee is the second fattest state in the nation. Seriously scouts? Can’t we sell gym memberships or nutritional supplements? How about hand weights or discounted weight watchers memberships?

Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I will participate. My love for scouting organizations runs deep. Both boy and girl scouting are a legacy in my family going back to my beloved Grandma who was passionate about cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors within her children. Granted, my Grandma also managed to take both of her daughters’ Girl Scout troops to Europe while serving as their leader and I can guarantee she would never stand outside of a Wal-Mart hawking caramel corn and Thin Mints. But alas, I am not my Grandma, this is not 1950 and it is doubtful my kids will make it to Europe thanks to scouting. They will, however, get to go camping with their friends, gain an appreciation for the outdoors and learn some valuable lessons about life. That’s worth a few popcorn and nut sales, right?

So, in the spirit of participation, anyone want some popcorn? Nuts? Discount card? See me. I’ll hook you up.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Inspired by Common Sense with Money, a favorite blog of mine and the fact that I've had the DVD since May, I'm starting the 30 Day Shred tomorrow. The plan? Do the twenty minute workout every single day for 30 days, starting on level one for the first ten days then moving to level two on the 20th and ending at level three for the last ten days. Jillian Michaels is not my favorite person but I've read enough positive reviews of this 20 minute workout that I'm convinced I'll see results.

I know this is not exactly riveting blog material but my chances for success greatly increase when I share my plan with others. How can I let you, my thousands of screaming fans, down?

So, here goes. Wish me luck...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lessons from the Unemployment Line: Part 1

66 days ago my family became a statistic when my husband lost his job of 11 years. The company he worked for was not turning a profit in that particular business model so they shut it down completely and let go a couple thousand employees. Always one to take comfort in his supposed job stability, this was a devastating blow for me. I never dreamed we would face the loss of our primary source of income. Such a prospect simply wasn’t a possibility in my world. I’ve learned a lot in the past few months and have decided to do my best to put a positive spin on this, my most difficult life lesson to date.

Lesson #1: The fact that this is my most difficult life lesson to date speaks volumes about my life. I have observed many tragedies as an adult: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, a devastating Tsunami and the earthquakes in Haiti. I have witnessed families struggle with cancer, the loss of a spouse or the unimaginable loss of a child. But I have experienced all of these things as a sympathetic third party observer with a safe distance between myself and grief, loss and devastation. Through my experience with living in financial limbo, I have learned to stay mindful of those less fortunate then myself and try to sustain, cliché as it might be, an attitude of gratitude. My number one priorities these days are finding ways to save money and sock it away, doing what I can to help my husband obtain a new job, and coming up with an innovative way to rid my neighborhood of the aesthetic eyesore that is Ninny the goat. These are not grave worries. They pale in comparison to the plights of so many scattered throughout this country and the world. Sure, I may have to put the kibosh on vacation planning for the time being and get used to the idea of living in this house longer than I’d like to but, deep down, I know things will change. I know we will emerge from this financial storm a little dazed and windblown but we’ll be dry, comfortable and ready to restart our lives. I’m hoping that my renewed perspective will stay with me long after this financial limbo comes to an end.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Goat Kabobs

As many of you know, I’ve got a goat problem. When I emerge from the shelter of the giant hedges that line my front yard, I gaze into the empty blankness of a goat’s eyes. A former resident of the house two doors down, these days he makes his home within the confines of the fence directly in front of my house. I’ve concluded that my neighbors must be starting some sort of pilot goat cooperative on our street. It should be a real boon for home sales in this area. He spends his days eating grass, kudzu, weeds, magnolia leaves and azaleas. I often catch him standing on his back legs like a giraffe, gnawing on a branch 5 feet in the air. Seeing a dead-behind-the-eyes goat in this position five feet from your front yard is a more disconcerting sight than one might think.

I live in the city limits and, as such, have always assumed that when the time comes to put my house on the market, I could call animal control or some other organization and get him removed. Surely there is some sort of rule against having a farm animal within the city limits, right? Wrong! The municipal codes of our fair city dictate that all farm animals, with the exception of swine, are permitted within the city limits but must be contained. Other than that, it’s a free for all where farm animals are concerned. I’ve got three options here:

1. Accept the presence of the goat and use him somehow as a marketing tool when I put the house on the market. Here’s what I have in mind: “No need to worry about your neighbor’s neglecting their lawn on this street, the goat takes care of that for you! As a part of the neighborhood's innovative pilot goat cooperative, twice a month he will visit your house and trim your grass and eat all of your bushes at no charge to you!” Any takers?

2. Embrace the new petting zoo vibe of my neighborhood and get a goat or two, a sheep, some chickens, a pony and an Alpaca and open up a small petting zoo. I can then market the house as a residence/small business.

3. Enlist the help of some of my hunter friends and conduct a covert op under the cover of night. Invite all of the neighbors over for a barbeque that weekend and serve some delicious mystery kabobs.

What would you do?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time's a Wastin'

My free preview of Bravo ended just in time to prohibit my viewing of Part 2 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion Special. I was devastated. DEVASTATED. Ask Sean. A self-declared hater of most trashy reality shows, even he would get sucked in to the drama care of these hothead Italian women. Commercial breaks always snapped him back into reality and he removes himself from the viewing area but he just proves that, while there is no denying these shows bring your IQ down a few points with each episode, they do have a certain trashy appeal. The extent of my devastation, however, confirmed my suspicion that I need to cancel my cable completely. The DVR is the antidote to productivity and the shows that I enjoy most are not coming from PBS or The History Channel. They are on Bravo, A&E and VH1 and I can watch them at my convenience, commercial free thanks to the miracle that is DVR. I’m getting rid of it, turning off my Dish Network and adding a digital antennae that will allow us to keep the basic channels free of charge. Not having the option of sitting on my cozy sofa and zoning out to another episode of Hoarders will, in theory, cut down significantly on my time-wasting.

Has anyone out there in cyberspace cut their cable out? If so, what was it like? Any regrets? Are you glad you did it?

Of course all of my productivity resolve will have to wait until September 26 when my free preview of HBO ends. Now, off to post this so I can watch last night’s Housewives reunion online…