It Could Almost Always be Worse

If the economy is not doing well, don’t blame our house.

We’ve been pouring out enough cash to keep a crew of drunken sailors spending through re-enlistment.

It’s not necessarily because we want to; it’s just — well, you know — sometimes life kicks in. And when you own a house, it needs repairs. Unfortunately, they’re all at one time. We weighed the alternatives: save money versus living in a cave, but what can I say? We like the finer things — like walls.

Within the last week, we had to hire someone to cover up several patches on the house’s exterior where paint was peeling. Normally, my wife and I would do that, but the spots were near the roof and we didn’t have a ladder that long. (Besides, either of us on a high ladder? Not a good idea, even on the best days…)

While getting those walls retouched, we discovered windows with leaky frames. Ka-ching! That’ll set up back some coin. As it also turns out, the bathroom is leaking like a sieve in to the garage. It turns out we are putting a plumber to work now too, and — because of said leak — might also hire a carpenter. We sure hope so! We just love stimulating the local economy!

As they say in those TV ads, “But, wait! There’s more!”

Every year, we avoid turning on our home’s heater until November first. Since October can be chilly, we practically sleep in parkas, while donning sweaters and jackets all day long. I’m not complaining (much), because we save a few dollars — as well as feel we’re being good stewards of the environment. I don’t know if you’ve looked at a calendar, but — Hooray! It’s November! “Sweet heater, bring unto us your warmth!”

Guess what. I flipped the switch, and, nothing. Nada. Silence. No wondrous balminess doth emanate from its magical vents. I’m just guessin’ here, but I’ll wager that repair won’t be a freebie.

As the adage goes, “When life gives you lemons, they’re usually really bitter, nasty, ones.”

Okay, maybe that’s not the expression, but it feels like it, because on top of the home repairs, a few family members have hit rough patches. We’re not codependent, but there’s also a set of priorities by which we live. So, when family needs you, you do what you can, which in this case involved our checking account.

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Keep Falling In Love…On a Budget

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.

Whether you’re a kid, teenager, or adult…..you love someone. I don’t care if it’s your mother, brother, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, whoever, there is someone out there that you love to have fun with. Now I also don’t care if you’re making six figures or living paycheck to paycheck. I know you’re probably on some type of budget, and that my friends, is why I’m here to help. I promise you can find many ways to have fun during this gorgeous Fall season with the person you love even when your pockets are sort of empty.

Everyone’s been in this boat at least once or twice, and if you haven’t, well someday all your riches will be gone and you’ll have to figure out how to have fun by going for a walk or jumping in a pile of leaves. Ok, I’m kidding. Your riches probably won’t be gone, but you should still try to enjoy the little things in life.

Keep reading to discover some different fun activities to help keep you falling in love. I’ll help you get started. [Read more…]

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Keep it in Perspective

Keep things in perspective.

We’ve had a rough couple of days at our house. It seems like the fates are conspiring to cost us money.

  • We’ve had to hire someone to do some painting on the exterior of our house where the wood was starting to show through.
  • We have some windows where the framing is leaking and causing some rot. That’ll set up back some coin.
  • Our bathroom is leaking. We heed a new shower head, some plumbing repairs, and  – because of the leak – we’ll probably need some floor repairs
  •  As November approaches, we’re finally ready to put on the heater. Guess what? It’s not working! I’m sure that will cost us something.
  • On top of all that, a few family members have hit some rough patches. When you’re family (in whatever definition you choose that to be), you step in. So we have.

I was getting a little nervous about all the out-pouring of money.

And then, I realized that at least i don’t have a hurricane barreling down on my neighborhood and I remembered after Hurricane Katrina, we lost contact with a friend who was in its path. We were scared that something had happened to her. Several days later, she contacted us. She was okay. However, the roof of her house was gone. She said she was really blessed.

“Blessed,” I asked? “You just lost your house.”

“But I’m still here to tell you. And everyone is fine. I’m really lucky.”

It was a great lesson.

Sometimes, we’re better off than we realize – especially when we have others who watch over us.

(To our friends in the path of Hurricane Sandy – we’re thinking about you, sending our best wishes, and praying for you. Be well. Take care of yourselves.)
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The First Step in Travelling Healthy

 Since the nature of a career of speaking to others about habit changes requires more than a fair amount of time “on the road,” it behooves me to master the skill of eating healthy while traveling. Else wise, surviving on the “100% muffin, cookie, and pretzel diet” offered in planes and airports would cause me to gain back my weight — resulting in the loss of my livelihood and taking with it any credibility I might have in writing this column.

As I put pen to paper (more accurately “keyboard to word processor”), I find myself determined finally to be successful in my travel and dieting endeavors.

“Failure to plan,” is “planning to fail.”

Therefore, utilizing all the marvels of the world wide web, I first researched which restaurants near my destination excel in “fit fare cuisine,” and printed out maps with walking directions from my hotel to said establishments. By forsaking taxicabs, I am ensuring that I will get the requisite activity level to prevent weight gain.

Furthermore, should my body be a temple, than notice is hereby given that only the pure shall henceforth be allowed passage.

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When You’re Afraid to Eat

I don’t know when it happened.

Somewhere between me being 6 and becoming an adult, the world changed. Somehow, some way, children everywhere started to have allergies. Everyone you talk to tells you how they can’t pack their kids an old fashioned PB & J sandwich for lunch because so many other kids are allergic to peanuts. Parents everywhere have begun worrying about feeding their children nuts or peanut butter. Children are ostracized because they have to sit at the “peanut butter/nut table” at school.

How and when did this all happen? More so, why did this happen?

When I was a little girl, my mother gave me a freshly picked peach. It was beautiful and plump and I was was so excited for this tasty treat…..until about 5 seconds after my first bite. In under a minute, my throat was closing, I was having trouble breathing, and I had hives everywhere. I was so itchy. I knew I didn’t feel right, but I didn’t even know I was supposed to be scared. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening until I was sitting in the doctor’s office being pumped up with Benadryl while seeing the fear in my mother’s eyes. Apparently, my allergy to peaches decided to show its lovely face that day, and it has stuck by my side ever since. After lots of tests, it was learned that I’m severely allergic to nuts. Not peanuts, but tree nuts. (Peanuts grow underground, so they are in the legume family like a bean or a pea.) Because nuts are related to the pit and seeds in many fruits like that killer peach I ate that day, I’ve had to watch every single thing I put in my mouth at every meal thereafter.

If you have food allergies, you know how annoying this can be.

Of course you learn to embrace it because you have no other choice, but it sure can be a nuisance when you’re at a party or a restaurant or when you first start dating someone and they make you fresh chocolate covered strawberries and you start to break out. Or how about when you order Oreo frozen yogurt and you pull an almond out of your mouth and the lady at the counter tells you, “oh, sorry, we use the same scoop on all of the flavors, even the ones with nuts” Believe me, it’s not fun, but you have to learn to adapt to it. It’s a part of who you are after all, and you should love every single part of what makes you different. It’s still irritating though when you eat healthy all week and really want that one cookie, until someone tells you there might be traces of walnuts in it. What a buzz kill.

The worst feeling is being afraid to eat.

It’s terrifying to take a bite of something and worry that you might feel that feeling all over again. Even though you carry your Epi-Pen every where you go, it’s still the scariest sensation in the world. Yes you learn to live with it, but I don’t think the fear is something that will ever 100% go away. Personally, I know if I ate an almond and didn’t have my Epi-Pen, I would go into anaphylactic shock. But what I have taught myself over the past 19 years is that I need to live with it. I need to learn exactly what I can and can’t eat, and hey, if I can’t have that cookie, it’s one less fattening thing I’ll be eating! You have to go to the allergist and figure out exactly what to stay away from and learn how to enjoy the foods you can eat. Take care of yourself, and see if the allergist can check to see if anything has changed. I need to do this soon. It’s one of the ten little things I want to do before I turn 26. Once you’re educated, you’ll feel a little better, but you will always be extra cautious. Keep yourself updated by regularly visiting the FAAN website. Learn all about cross pollination.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t have food allergies, good for you.

You have no idea how fortunate you are. If your kids are allergy free too, count your blessings. I can only imagine how nerve-racking it was for my parents to let me have dinner over friends’ houses. I go back to my previous question though, why are kids all of a sudden being born with these severe allergies? When I was little, I was one of the only ones. It was strange. I always knew I was different from the other kids. I hated having to explain why I couldn’t have the same desserts or candy as everyone else. So, I leave you with one piece of advice. Don’t ever make fun of the people who do have food allergies.

You never know how they feel, and there’s nothing worse than being afraid to eat.

About the author: Holly is a 25 year old writer from New England who is on a journey to a happier and healthier life. She’s a firm believer in loving yourself, being kind to others, learning from mistakes, and letting go of what holds you back from being the best version of yourself. Aside from writing, she enjoys eating healthy, staying fit, traveling to fascinating places, fashion, helping animals, spending time with family and friends, and meeting people that inspire and encourage her. She loves to express her stories, ventures, and feelings through words and photographs. Writing about her life is a beautiful release, and she hopes to enthuse her readers along the way. Learn more about her at www.thecatzmeow.net, or Hollyamber28@gmail.com

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