Making Out With Scrooge McDuck Would Probably Be Weird. Maybe.

Money sucks, right?  Not having money sucks because you don’t have any.  (Don’t freak out…I know some people really don’t have ANY money.  I’m talking about the ‘more month than money’ type of broke.)

Having money?  I guess that could suck too because you might just THINK about it all of the time.  Will you always have it?  Is it being mismanaged?  Is someone going to take it from you?

Or maybe you’d just worry about which bathing costume to wear while you swim in your vault of gold coins…

Scrooge McDuck

This is totally what rich people do, right?

Can you tell we’ve been working on our budget?  We’ve talked about it forever.  I had a lot of big ideas involving poster boards and fun markers (Teal! Coral! Heliotrope!).  Every few weeks we’d say, “TONIGHT we’re doing the budget!  Right?  Right!”

Insert dinner/clean up/bath/pjs/teeth/books/bed/more clean up/few loads of laundry.

“Want to watch a Breaking Bad?”

“Okay.  We’ll do the budget TOMORROW.  Right?”

“Right!”

(That’s actually a lie…HE watches Breaking Bad.  I couldn’t make it past the episode with the bathtub scene…shudder…)

But whatever…you see the pattern.  We are an excellent couple but we have the horrible, horrible ability to talk each other out of anything.

However.  The doctors don’t want me working.  I had started waiting tables a few times a week.  It was great.  Out of the house.  Kyle watched the boys so no daycare.  Brought in just enough extra.  I loved where I worked.  And no matter how needy a customer was…I never had to change their diaper.  Except for that one time…(insert 1ooo yard stare).  But that’s on hold for awhile.  And Scrooge McDuck isn’t returning my phone calls. (I had pictured an Indecent Proposal situation but apparently it’s a no go. Maybe he has erectile ducksfunction…heh heh… My apologies. That was awful. Even for me.)

We. Had. To. Budget.

Have you done it?  It’s scary at first.  We accounted for every single dollar we had spent from December until April.  Guess what?  We spent a lot.  On food (oh so much on food).  On ‘entertainment’.  On…stuff.  Oh stuff…you’ll be the end of me.  I hated that first night.  What WAS that $50 at Target??  Shouldn’t I be able to look around and see $50 worth of Target goods?  I just wanted to bury my head under my West Elm Spring Ikat pillow.  But burying my head under that pillow is what got us into this mess.  And also makes me realize that I really need to wash the sheets.

But something else happened too.  Those numbers started to lose their power.  I went from feeling sick to feeling empowered to change things.  It’s not like we spend a ton of money, I was just able to see the areas that we could change.  Small changes.  One tiny baby step at a time.  Because that’s the problem, isn’t it?  You start thinking ‘CHANGES!’ (or at least I do) and then it’s all so big that you just…don’t.

Cut out all processed food.  Make own detergent.  Make all household cleaners .  Hang clothes outside to dry (actually, according to some numbers we crunched if we hung out 7 loads a week it would save $600/year.  But are we really going to do it??).  Make own bread?  Juice! Take dog to doggy dentist.  Wait, take kid to kiddie dentist first.  Meditate.  Meditate without children.  Yoga?  Raise chickens?  Goats?  Sea monkeys?  See naturopathic doctor.  Join slow food movement.  Join slow clothes movement. Shop local.  Vote with my wallet.  Start a garden. More houseplants for better air quality.  Filter on shower head? Make own yogurt?  Get a pen pal.  Write everyday.  Exercise everyday.  Exercise every other day.  Bend over to pick up toys and count that as exercise.  Take an art class.  Take a creative writing class.  Look for freelance writing work.  Spend quality time with girlfriends once a week.  Once every 2 weeks.  Once a month.  Call girlfriends and tell them how much you miss them.

You get my point.

So I started easy.  With my pantry.  Remember?  I cleaned it out.  I cleaned it out real good.  Then I went shopping.  Then I came home and redid the pantry.  I didn’t want to but I DID!  BTW we have a plastic bag ban here now.  Which is awesome.  For people that actually ever remember their reusable bags.  And not awesome for people who don’t.  Guess which camp I fall into??

Our goal is $150/week on groceries.  But I’m thinking $200 will be more realistic.  What do you spend?  This is $152 in groceries.

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I like a bulky grocery shop…get it…lots of bulk items…ahhhh fuhget about it…

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Cooking instructions for my special jackwagon.

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This still needs work…so much work…and yes that is Splenda.  Because I have guests that use Splenda and that’s fine with me.  No need to torture everyone!

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And cold items in the icebox…

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MmmmHmmmm…I like them potatoers…

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You would have been disappointed in me if there hadn’t been a jar of Nutella, right? I did it for you! Yeah, YOU!

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“Hey Ma…I’ma gonna throw all of them potaters on the ground, ‘mkay?” And he did. The End.

It’s been a really great week since the pantry and fridge clean out.  First of all, we’re eating much better. It’s not like we ate Crisco off of a spoon before but we’d just gotten lazy on convenience foods.  I’ll post a blog with different recipes we’ve tried and loved.  Basically we’re just eating clean.  Our sweet neighbors gave us some Swiss chard from their garden…I’ve never had it and I loved it!  I roasted cabbage!  It was great!  The boys are eating almost everything.  Except for tonight…I fed the guys hotdogs after a week of quiona, lentils, greens and veggies.  They were giddy with excitement.  Everything in moderation 😉

But the big change?  We had food left at the end of the week.  I need to go to the store for some staples but I can actually go into the fridge and cabinet and still cook a meal.  The boys are eating more fruits and vegetables…instead of giving them crackers in the afternoon, I’m setting out some veggies.  And if they are really hungry then they’ll eat them.

But let me tell you what.  I am cooking like a pioneer women.

Not shown in photo...children chewing on ankles.

Not shown in photo…children chewing on ankles.

Seriously.  I need to figure out big batch cooking.  This is a family of big eaters so if I don’t double batch cook then there aren’t any leftovers.  And I start over again the next day.  I’m getting better at just boiling eggs or cooking a pot of rice or throwing potatoes in the oven even if I don’t know what I’m going to do with them.  That helps.  But it’s about to be hot, Hot, HOTTER here so I need to figure out a way to not crank my stove during the day and I’ve never had much luck with the crock pot.

So this is my first baby step.  I’m not going to lie…I kind of want to rip into a rib eye.  And I will.  And it will taste extra delicious.  But for right now this feels great.

Also, I get a abdomen CT scan on Thursday.  I feel pretty good about it.  What I don’t feel good about?  Drinking THREE bottles of BANANA FLAVORED BARIUM.  If anyone knows who came up with this flavor I’d like to arrange for a few minutes alone with them.  And a bag of nickels.

And lastly…the newest member of our fish tank family.  The kids call him Froggie.  I call him Creepy Soul Sucker.  I hate this frog.  He just floats there all dead like and I yell, “KYLE!  THE FROG IS DEAD!”  And he yells back, “NO IT ISN’T!!” And then the freaking frog jumps and scares the crap out of me.  Ick.

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Sweet Dreams…I’m probably going to come out and chew your face off while you’re sleeping but don’t worry about it.

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She’s Got Jowls Like Churchill…

Here’s the good news.  Everything on my body has suddenly calmed down.  I feel like Truman in his little sailboat on the water…tossed around by crashing waves one moment only to be thrust into an eerie calm the next.

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Are you there, Vasculitis? It’s me, Danielle…

That’s good, right?  Hives gone. No waking up in the middle of the night to the feeling of blood vessels bursting in your legs (seriously the creepiest feeling ever).  No standing and talking to people while you repeatedly slap your stomach like a crazy person and they politely pretend not to notice (fact: stomach slapping is the best itch cure while face slapping continues to be the best bitch cure).

But it’s not good.  I mean, it’s ‘good’ but it’s dangerous.  Because this is where I get complacent.  I gave the doctor my big, heavy burden and he took it and squished it down into a nice neat package that I can easily fit into the side pocket of my diaper bag (where it will reign supreme amongst soggy goldfish crackers and old restaurant crayons).

But.  But But But.

Then I look in the mirror.  I look in the mirror and I see that girl with the puffy, jowly face of Churchill looking back at me.  But sadly, none of his wisdom.  Dark circles under her eyes.  Just different. And I remember that for all of the good that these meds are doing…they are affecting my body in other ways too.

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‘V is for Vasculitis!’ Don’t you just want to squish the face of one of the greatest leaders of our time? No? That’s just me then…

Then I grab a towel and clean the mirror and then the sinks and then I feed the fish and then I start to clean out my closet but when I carry something into the kitchen I decide to unload half of the dishwasher but then stop because maybe I’ll reorganize the silverware drawer first but when did I get this spoon? was it a wedding present? hey do I have that picture from our wedding that I love so much? I’ll go look in the office…oh my gosh all of this paperwork needs to be filed I’m going to do that right now but look! a box of cards and letters maybe I’ll sit down and read these but I can’t sit on the bed because look at all of this laundry that needs to be folded first okay I’ll fold the laundry and hey I never installed the hooks in the boys closet so they could hang up their own jackets and they really need to have more responsibility around here and I KNOW I’ll make a responsibility chart but I guess I need to go to Michaels and get poster board first so I’ll just get dressed and hey! my closet! maybe I should clean it out!  SQUIRREL!

The steroids make you a little agitated.  And skitzy.  If you can harness those powers you’d probably be able to take over the world (or at least actually complete a few Pinterest projects).  But if you’re a little scattered to begin with…well it makes it hard to really get anything DONE.

And then there is this side of it too…the medical bills start rolling in.  Actually, they do more like a creepy hunch shuffle up into your mailbox which you desperately try to ignore until you realize that you’re avoiding eye contact with your postal carrier who is clearly trying to signal to you that she CAN’T FIT ANYTHING ELSE INTO YOUR MAILBOX!

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POW! SLAP! KABLAM! Holy medical bills, Batman!

So I’m going to do something really hard.  I’m going to post pictures of my pantry.  Because that is my first start.  Food. Diet. Clean eating.  I going to post these pictures because I feel like it will make me more accountable.  And I give myself one week to change it.  Clean it out.  Start fresh.  I’m meeting with a naturopathic doctor too but this is my first start.

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Move along, judgey hippies…nothing to see here!

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Only focus on the delicious honey from Italy…ignore the Campbells soup can you see before you…

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Fair trade turbinado sugar…that wipes it all clean, right? Right?? Anyone…hello…

Anyhoos…look back next week for my pantry transformation and my first solid attempt at meal planning because my grocery bill is out. of. control.

On a lighter note…this scenario greeted me in the playroom.  Don’t you kind of want to party with these guys?  Viking Lego and Darth Hulk…what could go wrong??

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VADAR SMASH!

XO from The Dark Side