Adventures in babysitting and other teen financial woes

“The Girl” has gotten to the age were she is being asked to babysit, she will be 14 soon. While she is responsible, she can barely do for herself most of the time, so I’m leery of her caring for others, but hey, she’s not my kid nor is she watching my kids (although she does watch my babies, aka dogs, for a few hours after school when she is home).

As a teen she also has a need for funds to buy the things she wants and do the things with her friends she wants to do. At our house those funds need to be earned, for the most part, as she needs to learn the value of money and responsibility. This has been an ongoing battle, which I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. We had a list of routine chores for her and if completed each week, she received an allowance. This worked for a while, but honestly, managing the list was more work for me than just doing the work myself. I typed up the list, on a grid so she could easily check the items off. She had to be reminded constantly and the excuses and arguments were endless. The system was designed for her to complete her daily tasks before we got home so we could start dinner eat and spend time together as a family. This rarely happened. Then the weekend would roll around and she would be mad that she was not getting her money since she did little or nothing. Finally she got to a point were she just didn’t do the chores when she didn’t need money, so we did away with the system.

Over the past several months the deal has been, the chores she used to get an allowance for are to be done, without argument or payment, these are things that members of a family do. There are larger jobs that she can do for larger sums of money. Most are undesirable: yard work mostly. At the beginning of each week she is told what extra chores are available for her and how much she will be paid upon completion (no payment in advance, learned that lesson the hard way). She can decide when making her plans if she wants to earn the money, use money she may have from her moms or babysitting or plan things with friends that don’t cost money. On our end, nothing is last-minute or unclear.

Last week, the above happened as always. She was told she could remove the leaves from the back patio (they collect under the stairs, in the corners and under the table) and the three flower beds around the house. She put it off all week, then Saturday when her plans changed, she needed cash, fast. Full disclosure, she didn’t NEED cash, she had plenty, but calmed she had that “spent” and couldn’t use it. She had two options: use her cash or get to work. In typical teen fashion she waited until after 2:00pm on Saturday to start (she was supposed to leave at 6:00) and for the first hour she maybe worked 20 minutes. Then whining started. “This is hard”, “How long have I been working?”, my personal favorite, “I need a raise”.  I wasn’t getting involved. I have very little patience for the entitled brat behavior. Long story short: she completed a 4th of the work. She was given part of the money for the evening, only because her father was taking some of her friends, so he wasn’t going to ruin everyone’s night. The next time she is home she has to finish the other 3/4 and with no payment. She screwed herself, I don’t feel sorry for her.

Next up, babysitting on New Years Eve.
Seems a family two doors down from her mom’s house asked her to babysit NYE. She is with us that weekend, so she asked us. She was told they would have to bring her home when they got in, which she was SHOCKED we would suggest such a thing. I told her that was very typical and we were not planning our evening around the plans of people we don’t even know (but her mom does). She wasn’t happy, again, she wants the money. I told her we were willing to drop her at her mom’s house *(who will be out of town for the holiday) on our way to our dinner, then could walk down and they could bring her home. She said she could not ask them that, so she just declined the job.

What the hell? How is it our responsibility to shuttle her around, on NYE no less? She is starting high school in the fall, its well past time for her to think the world revolves solely around her and that we are expected to do what she wants, when we want, no questions asked. She asked for money for Christmas, which I’m not keen on , more so now since money is really becoming the hot button in our house. Do you think getting her Monopoly and pointing out that there is “money” in the game will work? 😉

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Rock what you have

Yes, I am changing the way I eat and am exercising. My program coach gets on me when I use the word “diet”, but that is what it is and I’m fine with that. I am not making these changes or doing this diet for anyone else or to fit society’s ideal body image, it’s for me. I’m not doing this because I was unhappy with my body, I have always been comfortable with my body and as Meghan Trainer says, I rocked it. I simply got to a point in my life were my body and mind were working together to make changes for the better. I was able to ween off medication that added to my weight gain, so it makes losing reasonable, as let me tell you, busting your ass to drop pounds only to see the same number on the scale week after week is depressing. That combined with feeling better thanks so physical therapy has really contributed so much to my success.

Today’s weigh-in was very good. I lost all the Thanksgiving gain and a little bit more. I have lost 24 pounds total and I am feeling very good. Over the weekend I did my first ever yoga class and I’m happy report I didn’t make a complete fool of myself. Yes, it was a very easy class targeted at folk like myself with physical limitations. I had to adjust a few moves, but for the most part I kept up well… and only fell once!  This week my goal is to walk at least a mile 4 days a week and do one yoga class, may try for two. One more week for the weight loss challenge here at work. I’m currently in 3rd place, hoping to squeak into 2nd place and win a little cash for my effort. If not, no biggy, I’m winning… one week at a time.

I give my friend Jane a lot of grief on my blog, but I do adore her and while we are in very place from my physically (her body weight is half of what mine is), she is very support and encouraging of me. Until today she has never asked my goal or current weight, but in the course of a conversation she did and I provided the info without shame or apology. She was so GREAT. No judgement, just love and support for my success thus far and very positive that I will hit my long-range goals. No Jane is not perfect, but none of us are and its only fair to give her credit for the good since I use this blog to vent for the other side of Jane and her messed up life.

I’m off…time for more water and to prepare for my walk. Going to ROCK this week folks!!!

I love you Jane…but DAMN

I have come to the conclusion that self-awareness is fleeting in today’s society. I love Jane, really I do, but today I have reached the point that I need to vent or I will unleash on my friend in a way that will not helpful or healthy for our friendship.

First, Thanksgiving. Dick and Jane traveled to the sunny West Coast to spend the holiday with Jane’s younger sister. Let’s stop here for just a second…sun, sand, warm ocean breezes, for NINE days. I took some time off too, one extra day to shop, cook, clean and repeat in the more typical chill of November. There were no pictures of me with my toes in the sand with a glass of wine in my hand. Nope, more like me in my pj’s at 2:00pm covered in flour justifying that tasting the wine was the responsible thing for a hostess to do.

Before they left Jane was in a mood because, being the control freak she can me (no judgement on that, I am the same way), she was not happy about the fact that Thanksgiving had been moved to a friend of her sister, not at her sister’s home. Now, as a GUEST, this should not be a big deal, but Jane wanted to oversee the brine for and cooking of the turkey. I get that we all have our recipes we love and look forward to, but the turkey is the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal and its something your host provides and thus, should prepare as they wish. Let me tell you the nine levels of hell someone would experience if they attempted to “tell” me how to prepare my bird.  Because she was already on edge over this, she obsessed, short version she picked a fight with the host upon arriving, looked like an ungrateful Northern snob and allowed this tiff over the turkey to ruin her entire Thanksgiving. She never did tell me how the turkey turned out, only bitched for over an hour about how wrong the host was to not follow through as she would. I didn’t say much.

Next up, Dick’s horrid, ungrateful children. While I don’t disagree with Jane’s feelings about Mary and Sue, she has no had to see them for months now. No contact at all, so her life should be perfect, yet it’s not. Dick is unhappy about the state of his relationship with his daughters, which any parent would be in this situation. Jane cyber stalked Medusa, the girls’ mother, only to find that she has poured her heart out on an online forum. I have no love for Medusa and think she has done a great disservice to her kids, however I see no benefit in obsessing over that this woman is doing or saying. Yes, she may take Dick to court looking for more money since she is providing the day-to-day care of the girls with no overnight breaks from Dick. Does she deserve that given she poisoned girls against their father and stepmother, sure, but if she opts to go to court, there is nothing Jane can do about and she is wasting a lot of energy obsessing.

This morning I was pretty blunt about my feelings about Sue, the younger daughter. She has not spoken to her father in weeks, since she had a dinner date with him that ended in less than 15 minutes after he didn’t agree to her “demands”.  Yesterday he met Medusa and the girls at the eye doctor, to pay the bill (since he pays for all medical) and to pick up Mary for dinner. Sue saw him, he waved and she ran (yes, RAN) to hide in the bathroom until Medusa assured her that he was gone. Seriously? This is not normal behavior for a 13-year-old whose father has done nothing but provide her with a wonderful life. I told Jane that I think its time for a sit down with the family therapist to clear the air with Sue, giving her space to realize Dick is not the bad guy is not working. Also, I think the situation is wearing on him emotionally, even more so with the holidays upon us and I could see him caving, even a little, which will only prove to Sue that if she holds her ground she will get what she wants eventually. Jane insists that Dick will not cave, but I really think she is blinded by her own loathing for the girls and isn’t seeing the situation from Dick’s point of view.

So, while Jane is neither ignorant nor a slut, I feel like screaming that at the top of my lungs when I talk to her about this, which is every time we talk, as she will always turn the conversation in that direction. Give me strength, as I fear this is all going to get much worse before it gets better…if it ever gets “better”.

Damn you Thanksgiving

Ok, so, I knew it was likely to happen, however the number on the scale today still hurt. Up, for the first time since beginning my quest for a smaller me. And up nearly 3 lbs…so not FAIR!!! Yes, logically I know that I ate more calories and fat over the past 4 days than I have since I started at the end of the September and that most was heavy on the sodium scale as well, so part of that gain has to be water.

I’m not making excuses. It’s the holiday season, with all the yummy foods and celebrating that come along with it. Actually, I’m thankful the gain wasn’t MORE. Today I’m back on track. I’m going to track every bite I take, drink all 120 oz of my water daily and get my ass moving!!!! The goal, shed those 3 Thanksgiving pounds by next Monday’s weigh-in…or die trying!!!!

Other than the massive consumption of yummy goodness, it was very nice to have a few days off. I feel like life has gotten a bit crazy of late, so it was nice to have a little me time among the family and friend get together. I think for me Thanksgiving ushers in the time of year when I stress over money more than any other. Like so many I want to lavish my friends and family with gifts for Christmas and “the girl” just happens to have a birthday coming up as well. This year, with pending major surgery and time off work, I’m more stressed about money than usual. As if that wasn’t enough, our insurance out-of-pocket is going up significantly, so starting January 1, we will have less in the household budget.  I’m grateful for my job and the benefits that come along with it, but I can’t help but worry.

Welcome Holiday Stress Season…and I will be battling the stress without a cocktail or comfort food. Yay me (not!!!).

 

Way to kick ass… one week at a time!!!

I had a personal goal to lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks. I was steady, but feel a bit short on the scale. I never gained and the weeks that were even from the previous I lost inches, so I’m doing the work an seeing the rewards. This week I stepped on the scale and was pleasantly surprised…. over 6 pounds lost, nearly 6 and a half actually!!! I’ve not had a drop like that since week one. I was a bit concerned, I had not been able to build back up to my daily workouts as I had hoped, but apparently doing what I could and maintaining my meal plans paid off.

It took 8 weeks, but I’m down a total of 23.2 pounds!!! I am THRILLED and with Thanksgiving looming, I feel confident I will not backslide!

Updates on weight, health issues and annoying co-workers from hell

Well, life for this Southern Belle has been crazy since my last post, which I’m going to toss out like word vomit in one long, rambling blog….sorry, not sorry 🙂

When I was seven I had my tonsils removed, ending what seemed like and endless cycle of tonsillitis and strep throat. I had not had strep since, until last week. I’m not a baby (unlike the giant infant I call a husband), I don’t think I whine when I am sick, usually just want to be left alone and sleep, a lot. I came home Wednesday from work, just wasn’t feeling good; sore throat, slight hacking cough and itchy ears (yes, itchy ears). These are the usual signs of seasonal allergies, which for me are worse in the fall. I assumed drainage was the reason for my sore throat, so I drank lots of hot tea, took cold and sinus medicine and slept. Folks, I was wrong, so very, very wrong. I woke up Thursday morning feeling so much worse, unable to swallow even water without horrible pain. I had called the doctor the day before thinking I could get ahead of a sinus infection, so off the doctor I went, feeling worse than I have in years. Throat culture confirmed: strep throat. Ugh. So much for returning to work last week. Got my antibiotics and raspberry sorbet (because it sounding soothing, not “good” and less fat and calories than real ice cream). The issue with the antibiotics was, even with no appetite, I needed to eat a little something or I would feel sick to my stomach. After being off bread for weeks, I had a piece of toast each day, sometimes for breakfast and dinner. While fat and calorie wise, it wasn’t horrible, as that was pretty much all I was eating until Saturday, but I felt like I was cheating by eating BREAD.

That is what a diet does to you, it vilifies food to the point you feel real guilt when it passes your lips. No being grateful to the toast that keep my meds in my system, thus making the raw, painful throat heal and allow me to resume my life. No, I must beat myself for consuming CARBS. Then there was the guilt of not working out. I walked Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday to Saturday I was laying on the couch all day, leaving only to let dogs out and go to bed to take a proper nap once my husband returned home to be on dog watching duty. I would go to be each night as if I was once again a sick seven-year old, no later than 8:00pm. I was sure the combo of toast and all that sleep was converting to fat and the scale was going to be my judge, jury and executioner. I was dreading Monday’s weigh-in.

While I did lose, it was only .6 lbs (or 9.6 oz), but I didn’t gain. My total thus far is 17.2 lbs. I won’t say I was happy, relieved is a far better way to describe my feelings. I was determined to kick it in high gear and get back on my 2 lb per week loss program. Well, not so fast. I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon yesterday. While I have known that eventually my arthritis would progress to the point of needing knee replacements, I honestly thought I had more time…. but the time has come. Compared to the x-rays from just two years ago, the cartridge and space between the bones in my knee are completely gone, bone on bone grinding with each step. I’m waiting to hear back if I can be scheduled before the end of 2017, otherwise I have the issue of skyrocketing costs and high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses that must be met before insurance will over anything. Our failing healthcare system is a rant for another blog, as I already have a headache thinking about it.

So, on to the last tab currently open in my brain; annoying co-workers. I was out sick, with no warning. My boss, the BEST boss, can take care of himself and ended up not even coming in one day I was out. However I had already planned to be out for my appointments on Tuesday before getting sick, so I know it looks like I’m the biggest slacker in the office. Now, I’m looking at being out for 4-6 week, if all goes well (which it will). One office neighbor, a true Queen Bee from a previous blog, has to go on and on about how late she works, how her boss calls her at 6:00am to make changes and how over worked she is. I may be overly sensitive, but if just feels like a  “look how much I am doing while you are taking time off”. I just can’t, not today, not ever. Do your job, get your paycheck and shut the hell up! I value my job and strive to do the best job I can for the best boss ever, but I can’t come to work deathly ill (nor would anyone want me too) and I can’t ignore the burning pain with each step.

So, that is what has been going on in my world since I last posted. Let’s hope things get better before we chat again.

Slow and steady wins the race

Week 6 weigh in and I was down another 1.6 lbs, total to date: 16.6 lbs!

I’ve learned a few things in the past 6 weeks:

1. Losing weight over 40 is a LOT harder than losing weight at age 30 or younger. 17 years ago I hit my all time high after another lengthy stint on steroids to control my arthritis symptoms. When I weened off and really focused on diet and exercise, I dropped 50 lbs without really trying and another 40 in less than a year. While I’m very happy with the progress I am making, it’s nothing like the younger me saw and I’m working harder to achieve it.

2. My arthritis is much worse than I realized. Over the years I’ve been on some many different meds that controlled my symptoms and the past 3 years I’ve been steroid dependent. With slowing weaning off the prednisone, I am feeling the full effect of my arthritis and it is not good. For years my biggest fear is reaching the point of needing a knee replacement, I think that time is coming faster than I would like. Due to my increased pain, my exercise is more limited, which makes me worry about progress going to forward. I just need to keep moving, even if its less than I had been able to do, moving burns calories!!!

3. My will power is much stronger than I thought. I’m not stupid, I know what I should eat, how much is too much and what to avoid if you want to lose or even maintain a healthy weight. This “diet” has been easier than I feared going in. One big reason is my husband is being very supportive and doing this with me, to a point. That makes it much easier.

Week 6 in the books, now to look forward to week 7!!!