Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Five Question Friday

1. How many pets do you have?
Welllll let's see. There's Sadie, the shepherd-chow, Libby the rat-terrier, Natasha the guinea pig, Bob and Pygmy the goats, Thomson the turkey, Jolene the cow...I think that's all of the named pets =/ Is that seven?

2. If you could switch places with anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?
If I could switch places with anyone in the world for one day, I would switch with Dr. Phil so I could get paid a lot of money to give people blunt opinions and be on tv :)

3. What is your favorite money saving tip?
Keep the change. I know, the banks do it now all fancy where they round up your purchases, but at the end of every day, I empty my pockets, my purse, the washer, etc. into the piggy bank. About every other month I cash in anywhere from $25.00 to $60.00. Every penny counts! At the end of the year I have saved anywhere from $300.00 to $720.00. The real trick, though, is to not look at it as "free" money and spend it on dinners out or shopping ;)

4. What do you want your kids to be when they grow up?
Whatever makes them happy. Chloe told me the other day she might be a cheese-cutter (my brother works for a cheese company). That's ok with me as long as it's what she wants to do.

5. What is your favorite quote?
"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Plan

I was thumbing through a magazine when my Life company called.
"Hello?" I anwered, expecting a foreign accent in automation.
"Hi! Is this Andrea?" picture Flo from the Progressive commercial.
"Yes," I replied.
"Hi, Andrea. I notice that you terminated your Happiness contract some time ago, and you aren't on a plan with us. In order to maintain Life, I'm going to need to set you up on some kind of plan." I knew this had been coming.
"Look," I said, "I terminated my contract because I wasn't happy. The Happiness wasn't working for me, and I wasn't going to continue paying for something I couldn't use."
"I understand, Andrea, but you can't LIVE without Life coverage, so you're going to have to choose a plan. We have misery, desperation, and apathy available at very reasonable prices if cost is an issue." I was becoming irritated with "Flo."
"I paid for a Happiness plan and I DIDN'T GET IT! I got Misery and paid for Happiness. I invested a lot into that plan, and it returned NOTHING."
"I'm so sorry, Andrea. Why don't you come in to the office. I think I can work with you since you have been with the company so long. I just need you to bring your Visa card, all your designer shoes, your Internet information, all your work clothes, and your queen-sized bed."
I was confused, but I figured it was worth a shot. So I took all the things she asked for and headed to the Life office. When I walked in I was amazed to see a woman who looked EXACTLY like "Flo" in an office much like the one on the Progressive commercial. Weird.
"You must be Andrea!" she said cheerfully. I was having trouble hating her.
"Ding, ding, ding," I said sarcastically. She then asked me to place the items I had brought on the counter. I laid them out carefully, only to see her scoop them off into the trash.
"What are you doing?" I asked her.
"We can't start you on a new plan until we remove all traces of the previous one. Trust me, Andrea, this plan will be much better. All you have to do is make some exchanges."
I wasn't too keen on her little plan, but I figured it couldn't get worse. She sat a pair of brown boots on the counter.
"What are those?" I asked. Other than my Dr. Martens, which she considered "designer," I had never worn boots.
"Part of your plan," she cooed. She went on to inform me that I was no longer allowed shopping trips to the Buckle, I would wear the brown boots for casual and work shoes, and my casual jeans and t-shirts would have to do for attire. I would be sleeping on a full-size bed, and no longer have DSL Internet. "Also, your brother won't be mowing for you anymore, because you won't live in town. Closest fast-food looks to be about twenty minutes from your new area."
"Do you mind telling me how this MORE EXPENSIVE plan is supposed to make me happy?" I growled at her.
"Ah, last but not least, let me show you your new Mate. It's the BC-5000, our newest, most up-to-date Mate! Andrea I can get you this Mate for the simple cost I just described. Would you like to know his features?" I was impressed. He looked great. He was sturdy and attractive. A newer model than I was used to, but I was intrigued.
"The BC-5000 is attentive, caring, loving, and protective. He is an excellent provider, and works very well. We have had no troubles with this model. He will listen to you, he will love you for you, he will hold you when you need to be held, he will kiss you even when you don't want him to, and he will be your life-long partner, always taking care of you and being an equal attributer to the relationship. He has a lifetime guarantee, and," she looked around and lowered her voice "he is your soul-mate."
"He's...amazing," I uttered, "but what does he have to do with all this stuff?"
"To operate well with him, you'll be living on his farm. Thus the boots and old jeans. You'll be in a little country house on a little farm where people won't stalk you or bother you. You'll sleep in a full-size bed and still have more room than your queen because you'll want to stay so close to him. And you won't need those "work" clothes anymore, because you'll be busy making a home for you and your new Mate. What do you say?"
"So I can trade all this crap for THAT?" I asked, astonished.
"Yes!" she exclaimed, smiling from ear to ear. She lowered her voice again, as if she were telling me a secret. "We call it the True Love plan."
"I'll take it!"

Friday, August 20, 2010

My First 5QF and Saved by the Blog

I started following Five Crooked Halos a while back, but for the first time am using her Five Question Friday as a blog post. I have my REGULAR post also, which I'm going to just smoosh into this one. So. Here is Five Question Friday:

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?
The nickname "Andy" is one that my mom's family used when I was younger. My uncle, Larry, still calls me that to this day, but it's not something I really go by. Jodi, Tab, Kristin, and maybe Tara all called me that in school. And Tab always gave me Ande's mints for Christmas because of the name thing...but I LOVE them anyway, and I miss that yearly treat ;)

When I was 13 little Lindsay came along, and in trying to say my name, she came up with "Dee-Duh." We spelled it Dida, and it stuck. Jamie still calls me that, as does Lindsay's family, and a teacher my mom used to work with, because she thought it was so cute.

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?
I'm oldest of two. At one time I was the responsible one, and my brother the enabled baby, but he has grown up, and I think of us as equal partners in my family. The first twenty years of his life were quite irritable for me, though.

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?
Ooh. I have never thought about it. Eminem would definitely play my Fwad ex-husband...for stature and facial expression, not for muscles or rapping abilities.

 And for the love of my life?  My strong, quiet-natured, soft-sided, southern-accented hero? Hmm. Maybe...Josh Lucas? He nailed that whole strong, southern type in Sweet Home Alabama. He doesn't really have the same stature, but he has that same crinkly smile and those blue eyes.

Yes, he could pull it off.

4. What is currently your favorite song?
"Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri and "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry  Odd coincidence on names :)

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?
At the moment I am in the midst of a financial crisis, being left with a house I do not occupy.  So right now I am simply in survival mode.  Before the madness, though, I was saving for Christmas, and for the possibility of a small vacation.  I just recently bought Chloe an entire new bedroom, though, so I was at the beginning of the saving phase.

And now for your regularly scheduled blog...

"Saved by the Blog"

I've been working pretty hard the past few weeks at getting my shape back.  I have settled into a home and a routine, and I have let a few pounds sneak up on me.  I've been spending a lot of time walking/jogging, and doing routines on my Wii Fit.  I've been counting calories and watching how I eat (aka "good for me" breakfast, giving up grilled cheese with Ellen every day and not snacking AT ALL except during Big Brother..oh and mother-licking "portion control" *eye roll*).  I have been doing well at burning more than I consume, which is hard, but was worth it when I had lost three pounds.

When I weighed today, I had gained 1.3lbs.  I was devastated.  I was pissed.  As long as things were staying the same or going down, I was motivated.  But that first setback, that first failure, after knowing I did all the right things, it was hard.  I decided to quit.  I decided I would just forget the whole thing.  It's too hard anyway.

So I grabbed a bag of Puppy Chow from the fridge, since I have been avoiding trying to avoid it all week.  I plopped down on my bed and got online.  Facebook, Hotmail, all that jazz.  Then I logged in to read my blogs.  I follow Chibi Jeebs & the Neurotic Struggle, and she had a new post, "By The Numbers."  It was basically her discussing how she felt like her exercise and diet routine hadn't changed her appearance, but how she listened to people who motivated her and got her sorry butt up and did her workout.

*Sheepish expression*

Wow.  Did I feel like a jerk.  Sitting here feeling sorry for myself.  Instead of working HARDER like I should, or instead of attributing it to possible water weight, hormones, or any of the other ungoldy things we women go through, I just said forget it.  Without knowing it, this girl put me right in my place.

So now that I have finished my blogs, I am going to get my walking shoes on and go do my workout.  Twice maybe, for the Puppy Chow.  Thank goodness for Chibi Jeebs today.  My wellness plan was saved by the blog ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Friends in Orbit

As I get older, I find myself looking more deeply into the relationships I carry through life. There are those friendships that withstand the fire because they have such a strong history. There are those that are intense, but don't stand the test of time. There are those that simply aren't worth it in the end. There are those that never change. I could go on and on about the types of friendships and their importance in my life, but what I find most intriguing at this point in time are the relationships I like to refer to as "friends in orbit."

These are the people who aren't a day-to-day constant in your life, but when you look at the big picture of your life, they were always present. In my life, they aren't really close friends. They aren't people I often see or even speak to in person, but they are there, waxing and waning through my life cycle.

Sometimes they are closer than normal, and we have constant interaction. Sometimes they are at the farthest point of their "orbit," and I don't think of them or speak to them for months at a time. Sometimes we encounter obstacles, and some of the obstacles we've endured are ones that closer friendships wouldn't survive. Maybe distance is what allows for that.

Either way, I find it interesting how these certain "orbital" friends, though we don't always get along, and we don't necessarily have a closeness worth fighting for, always find their way back around the sun and into the shadows of my life. I'm thankful for them. For whatever reason, they are supposed to be here in these seasons. When my life's last chapter is written, these minor characters from daily life may just turn out to be pivotal in the grand scheme.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Force

What do you believe in? The only belief I don't respect is "nothing." You have to be an idiot not to recognize some kind of force that is greater than we are. God? Karma? Fate? Destiny? Luck? I have witnessed, as I am sure you have, too many coincidences to believe that the mathematic odds are THAT beatable.

One such occurrence happened to me yesterday.

I had a good day at work. I don't really keep track of my tips, but I knew I was somewhere in the sixties. I knew I still had to "tip-out" (give the hosties part of my money), but I figured I'd be in the fifties, which isn't bad for three and a half hours of work.

I counted all my money out, put my cash sales in one pile, my tip-out in the other, and filled out my paperwork. When I came to my pile, what was left after all the requirements were paid, I had seventeen dollars. Seventeen. I didn't do that horrible on my very first day. I counted and re-counted. Something didn't add up.

My check-out slip showed that I had made 38.00 on credit cards alone, and I knew I had at least 15 in cash. How did this happen? I finally decided I must have dropped some cash somewhere, or left it lying on the register and it was swiped. I was heart-broken. I was also worried I would be in 'trouble' for claiming less money than the computer showed I made.

I went into the office in tears. Evan counted and re-counted, and finally gave me 20.00 from a petty cash fund for such circumstances. I am never short, I always make good money, and everything always balances, so he knew something had to have happened.

I was still upset, but Mom was bringing Chloe, and Bryan was on his way. We were going to celebrate Mom's birthday with dinner. Hunter took us to a booth in Tim's section, and we had a great dinner. While we were eating, Tim took the check to the table behind us. He opened the book, and I heard him say, "Woah, look what I found in that book!" to the couple. My heart nearly stopped.

When he came by our table I asked him what he'd found. He held up a twenty. Tears filled my eyes. "That's my money," I said, explaining what had happened. He handed it to me with a smile. I gave him five for finding it/believing me/not pocketing it/participating in my little miracle. I told Evan and returned the petty cash he'd given me. I still think there was another 10 or 20 somewhere that someone may have picked up, but I was satisfied knowing what had happened.

What are the mathematical chances or odds of that happening? For that to happen, we had to eat there that day, which we rarely do. We had to sit behind that certain table, Tim had to find that certain book, because Lord knows some of the other people there would have quietly put it in their pocket. I don't think it was coincidence. It was powerful, and I'm glad I was part of it :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Never Over...

I was driving down the highway the other day when "Let Her Cry" by Hootie and the Blowfish came on. (Nevermind there are no longer blowfish, and that "Hootie" is now a boot-wearing country crooner). I was immediately taken back to eighth grade. I could list all kinds of memories it evoked that would be meaningless to most (like basketball season, the purple trampoline we used to have, sleepovers with Lindsey, notes from Sara, dances, and crushes on boys I won't admit), but the main thing that came to my mind was the last day of eighth grade.

I came to school that day with my 35mm camera in tow. I wore a plaid, sleeveless, button-up shirt and my hair was permed (with poofy bangs, of course). I was ready to make the day memorable. It was, after all, my last day of eighth grade. The last day of junior-high. We were MOVING to the high school (which, if you don't know, is separated by nothing more than a double-door between the hallways). Beyond those double doors was a world I'd never known. I was going to be a freshman. Scum on a senior's shoe. It was the END of LIFE as I knew it!

I took all 24 pictures that day. I made sure to get shots of boys I would miss seeing over the summer, and made sure to get pictures of myself with all my friends. Because I might never see them again? I'm not sure what my forethought was, but I know it felt like the end of something huge.

Fast forward to August. New perm, new jeans, and poofier bangs. I was ready to go. I went into school early and pasted those cherished eighth grade pictures to my locker. As the halls filled up, though, I realized my entire eighth grade class was crammed into a few lockers in one hallway. The boys I had pictures of in my locker occupied the locker RIGHT NEXT TO MINE. I was suddenly better acquainted with them than I ever imagined to be. I let a couple of friendships go as we changed and grew, but more than anything I realized that day in late May hadn't been the end. We were all in it together. It was different, but it wasn't the end.

Fast forward again to May 1999. How many times we said, "THIS IS OUR LAST _________ (dance, prom, football game, pep assembly, Christmas break, snow day, Monday, Friday, day) of high school EVER!!!!" If you thought my eighth grade picture mania was bad, you should see the stack of pictures from my senior year. We tried to capture every second, every memory, and we forced some just to say we did. We thought we'd live by that year for the rest of our lives.

When graduation night came, I remember sitting quietly trying to FORCE tears, because I wasn't feeling anything, and all the laws of society and Dawson's Creek said this was the biggest day OF MY LIFE. It felt like any other long, boring school assembly to me.

After graduation we took pictures, we whined and cried to each other how much we'd miss each other, how nothing would ever be the same, and how we'd NEVER forget this year.

The next day I hung out with Lindsey as usual. I still talked to my friends on the phone, and went out on weekends. I saw classmates at Wal-Mart and Newman's, and really nothing changed. We stopped being forced to see each other daily at school, and had the luxury of choosing our friends. We moved on, we changed, we grew, but we kept going. All of us.

Now we are probably more connected than ever. I know more about what goes on in Christina Harder's and Jannie Williamson's daily lives than I ever did in high school. Facebook and e-mail have given us the choice to keep the ties we had in those formidable years.

In the end, it was never really the end. It's never over. We just have to learn how to let go of each phase of our lives and grow into the next. And whether they like it or not, the ones who matter will be along for the ride.