The Ex-Files – A Frugal Meal & No Cast-Iron Skillet!

I’ve always been good about stretching the dollar. When times got tough, I got tougher! (My kids grew up telling me I was cheap but I prefer the word frugal.) I knew how to get as many meals out of $40 as I possibly could, which is about all we seemed to have each payday when my kids were small. In fact, that $40 had to stretch for 2 weeks! Sometimes, after bills were paid, that’s all we had. Having 2 kids, I had to make sure I had food in the house even if it meant a bill didn’t get paid. That’s just how it was. I’m not going to make a $40 credit card payment (that belonged to CP) if we had no food. I had to feed my kids!

Food on my grocery list included milk and cereal, hot dogs, bread, peanut butter, ramen noodles, sliced cheese, chicken, and anything on sale. Back then our grocery store usually had chicken quarters for .29 cents a pound and they were packaged in 10-pound bags. That was a good deal! Sometimes they had beef on sale that couldn’t be passed up. I knew how to stretch a dollar so we could all eat!

One weekend, my Dad was coming down for a visit. He worked in San Fransisco at the time and he liked to come see his grandkids when he was off. He would be there about dinner time but all I had in the house was rice, 3 thin steaks, and frozen broccoli. I made a big bowl of seasoned rice, with thin-sliced steak strips and broccoli. It was the only way to stretch the steaks for 5 people. It was like stir-fry but not as good. There was more than enough for everyone, including CP, and he was a huge PIG.

We sat down to eat and all was going well until Dad reached for the bowl for seconds. CP had seconds, and the kids were still eating their first serving. CP watched my Dad serve himself another helping and CP got this look on his face which I recognized and knew all too well. He had something stuck up his ass and I couldn’t figure out what the hell it was! Then it dawned on me. Dad doesn’t care much for rice, so he was trying to get a little more meat and broccoli without too much more rice. I just knew in my gut that CP had a problem with this.

He was still in a pissy mood later so I asked him what the hell was wrong because I noticed his attitude change during dinner. Sure enough!  He said he didn’t like how my Dad was picking through the dish for meat and broccoli. He said, “Someone else might want more and he was picking all the meat out.” I explained to him how Dad doesn’t care much for rice. I also told him, “You already had seconds and you were done eating. You were just finishing your beer. You were DONE. I was DONE. The kids weren’t going to eat anymore. I DON’T SEE A FUCKING PROBLEM!” He changed his tune. He knew he was being an asshole, plain and simple.

What irritated me the most I think, was the fact that Dad always helped us with groceries when he came down and he helped with other things, too. Dad even brought the beer that CP was guzzling at dinner and afterward, so for him to have such an attitude just made me want to smack him with a cast-iron skillet. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have one back then!

Throwback Thursday

Today, I ran across quite an amusing memory from a few years ago on my Facebook feed. I thought I’d share it because it gave me a hardy chuckle. I hope you do, too!

Today, I took Dad to see his urologist for his annual check-up. He was called back fairly quickly, leaving me to read a magazine in the waiting room. While I was thumbing through articles, an older man came in and announced his arrival to the receptionist. He then asked, “Where’s the bathroom?” The receptionist replies, “We are going to need a urine sample from you today.” He says to her, “Well, I’ll just give you my underwear.” It caught me off guard and I laughed out loud. It was the funniest thing I have heard in a long time! The receptionist tells the man, “Since I really don’t want to wring out your underwear, I’ll take you back right now.” Gosh, the things you hear when you leave the house!!!

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Throwback Thursday #TBT

Many moons ago…

This photo was probably the last photo taken with any of my cousins. It was 1987, the year my Papa passed away. He was my paternal grandfather.

I was pregnant with my first child, second from the left. Yeah, that’s me. Young. Thin. The last time I would ever be thin in my life! Even pregnant, I had only gained 27 lbs. total and still looked good. I just wish I would have known that then.

What strikes me about this photo is the fact that everyone is smiling except for me and my sisters…well, maybe there’s a tiny smile there, but not really. I don’t recall, and most likely have blocked it out for good, but I’m sure our lack of enthusiasm had something to do with my mother. Granted, funeral services aren’t supposed to be fun but it was usually my mother who sucked the wind out of our sails, made games UNfun, and mountains out of molehills.

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Image Copyright Being Aunt Debbie

Being Fluffy

Many years ago, I worked in my daughter’s 1st-grade class as an aide. It was recess time and I was outside supervising the kids. There were some boys in the class making fun of another little girl who was a bit on the heavy side. They were laughing and calling her names like, “fat” and “fatso” and a few other fat-related names. I stopped them and asked them, “I’m fat. Does that make me a bad person?” They said, “No.” I continued, “I still have feelings even though I’m fat, don’t I?” They agreed. A little girl standing next to me, chimed in. “You’re not fat Miss Debbie! You’re fluffy!” We all laughed and I gave the little girl a big hug. I thanked her for being so sweet.

I went on to explain to the kids that everyone is different; some skinny, some a little bigger, some tall, some short, some with red hair, some with green eyes…. Everyone is different in their own way…..

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Ickie: A Random Memory

memories blog

My son was born in 1990. He was long and skinny at birth, so my Dad stuck the nickname of Ichabod (as in Ichabod Crane) on him, which was later changed to the shorter version of “Ickie.” It was cute when he was a little guy, but when he started school we stopped calling him that. My daughter was asked to stop calling him that as well, and I explained why it would be better to call him by his real name, especially at school. She understood and was very good about it, believe it or not. No one ever knew what his nickname was until he was grown.

School was about to start and I was excited to have quiet time during the days now that both kids were going to be in school. The first week is usually a bit hectic, but we always survived. Thankfully, we had a competent bus driver who was always on time with pick-ups and drop-offs. That made things so much easier, not just for me but for the kids, too.

It was a quiet 2nd day of school. My sister, Sheryl had come for a visit so we were just lounging around, talking and just enjoying the day. We decided to sit outside for a bit and greet the kids as they got off the bus.

It wasn’t too long before I could hear the bus coming up our road. I told my sister, “You watch. Ickie isn’t just going to GET off the bus. He’s going to FALL off the bus.” He was the type of kid who was all-in. He did everything fast and with excitement! He was always on the go! Where my daughter was more laid back, he was busy, busy, busy!

Turns out I knew my kid better than I thought I did.

The bus stopped in front of the driveway. My daughter got off the bus first. Then Ickie, just as I told my sister, took a step or 2 down the steps of the bus and then FELL the rest of the way OFF! We laughed so hard — but not because he fell and could have hurt himself! We were laughing because I KNEW MY KID SO WELL!! He got up and dusted himself off, but he was crying. He had scraped his knee.

I gave him a hug and told him, “You really know how to get off the bus there kiddo!” He grinned and went inside. I felt bad for laughing but as I said, it was not AT him. I was laughing because just seconds before the bus stopped I had predicted exactly what was going to happen.

Don’t worry. If you think I should be ashamed of myself, rest assured my dear son has never let me forget that day! He will continue to make me feel bad for the rest of my life! Oh, I felt bad. I felt like a terrible mom at that moment. The thing is, I’m not perfect. No parent is. On the bright side, Ickie will have that memory of simpler times, when I could make him smile after a rough day. He’ll remember brushing himself off, getting back up and mom putting a band-aid on his knee just before his afternoon snack.

Oh, and he’ll have a story to tell his own kids someday.