Monday, December 17, 2007

Friendship is Friendship, But Accounts Must be Kept

Ah, friends and money! The stuff that nightmares are made of. It seems that no matter how hard you try, the "friends and money" thing always pops up. Let's review, shall we?

Our attitude towards money is simple... "Sometimes ya got, and sometimes ya don't" We're luckier than a lot of people, we "got" more often than we "don't". We live in a nice home in a nice area, we have one "nice" vehicle and one "all-purpose" vehicle, we travel when we can and we give what we're able. We try to be honest with money. While our finances aren't dinner table fodder, if you ask, we will more than likely answer your question (broadly, rather than specifically). Money is such a large issue in so many peoples lives, I (we) believe that honesty and forthrightness on the subject is a way to leave it in the background. Acknowledge the subject and move on. When it comes right down to it, having a few bucks is nice, but the universe is really not impressed. The universe is more interested in you, not your wallet, and, no matter what you have, someone out there has 10 times more (unless you're Bill Gates....). So, it's not hard to imagine that when the "money demon" arises from the depths of hell, we're a little surprised...

It all started several years ago, slowly, at first. Our friends (let's call them X and Y shall we?) went on an inexpensive vacation with us. They were slow to pay their share of the cabin we all shared. Eight months later (I said they were slow) I asked Himself to broach the subject with Y. Perhaps they needed our help, and I'd hate for us to be those people that stick their head in the sand when things get tough. Y was apologetic with Himself, however, X called me later on to inform me that all Y did was yell at her when all she'd done was forgotten to write a check. Oops!

Then there were the tickets to a fairly expensive show. We asked them, before we ordered the tickets, whether they wanted to go, and told them the price. They accepted, enjoyed the show, and took three months to pay for the tickets. I said nothing during the three months, X is seriously sensitive, and there was no way I was going to be responsible for another X versus Y conundrum.

Vacation cabin this past fall?? They paid their share of the cabin before we left. But, then there was the "supply" run. You know, that trip for groceries, lunch goodies, snacks and the like? Um? Yeah....they paid for the mustard. And we will not even discuss the living situation. Suffice it to say we've booked separate cabins for our next adventure.

Our most recent issue? Hard to find tickets for a popular comedian. Not expensive, really, just seriously hard to come by. I score the tickets, five of them, Himself, myself, X, Y, and their friend Z. Everyone is pleased. The comedy club has a minimum (most of them around here do) so cocktails and snacks are ordered by all. The bill arrives toward the end of the show, X takes it, puts in some money, and hands the bill to me. I check the total, count whats in the folder and I tell Himself a flat dollar amount to put in. I was hoping Himself wouldn't look, because some serious shortage had taken place. Suffice it to say, we paid for half the bill and all of the tip. And, he looked. As soon as the house lights went up, Himself wished everyone a Merry Xmas and excused himself to go get the car, leaving me alone....with our friends.....and the giant gorilla in the room. Gah! Z ponies up his ticket money on the spot. X looks at me and says "Well, if you need it I can give you the cash now, or I'll just write you a check after the holidays" Now just what am I supposed to say to that? If I say I want the cash, I'll feel like I'm taking their last dime. If I agree to the check thing, I'm just giving the gorilla a banana. I go with the banana. The devil you know rather than the devil you don't.

So here we are. Himself is mad, I'm sad, and we are kind of avoiding our otherwise wonderful friends. Oh, and did I mention I'm also sitting on more tickets, for another expensive show, which Y told us to get? Yeah, there's that....

I have to admit, I have no clue how to solve this, or even how to broach the subject. The feeling that one is being taken advantage of is a hard feeling to shake. We try to look at it from different angles, try and talk ourselves into believing that we are better people for being generous, but it's forced generosity and no matter how we look at it, we resent it. Then there's the sadness that comes from realizing that your friendship is not all that you believed it was. (or is it?) Then there's the whole guilt thing, because, really, we should be better people... I don't like to tally up anything, but there is a balance that exists among friends, and the older I get the more I'm convinced that it needs to be maintained. The big questions is, how do you fix what's out of balance????

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.....

I'm thinking of breaking up with adulthood. Yes, adulthood and I have invested a lot in our relationship, but lately I'm just feeling less than fufilled with the whole grown-up thing. Maybe it's time for us to take a break, see other life stages, experience more things. Perhaps a few dates with Childhood and its unbridled joy and creativity might put me right. Even Adolescence is looking fairly attractive these days, with its narcissistic, all consuming angst, along with the wild highs and lows. Although the Golden Years have been flirting with me, I just don't feel the whole settled and sage thing. Sorry Golden Years, maybe another time.......

Alrighty then, that's enough of the personal reflection stuff. On to more entertaining and informative stuff. Along with the mundane and the boring. No one will be able to say that I'm not well rounded.

The quest to return Flipper & friends to the desert southwest continues on. So far both the weather and the airlines are less than cooperative. The airlines refuse to handle the friends if the temperature is below 20 degrees. And the weather can't decide if it's going to be less than 20 degrees. Flipper can't decide whether or not he wants to change his flight, and the airlines can't decide how many seats they actually have. We're at T-minus 3 days and counting to the original departure and T-minus 7 days to the last chance departure. If we end up at last chance departure, it means that Himself, Myself, Flipper and friends are spending 24 hours of family "togetherness" in the shiny new van that looked really large, until I pictured it loaded with boxes, golf clubs, friends and full-size people. Suddenly, it doesn't look so large....... Oh, and did I mention that every state between here and there is under snow, ice, a weather alert, or a state of emergency??!!?? That should make for a fabulous family trip...

Speaking of Flipper, his new-found sharing skills are sort of freaking me out. After years of not dealing with anything emotional, after years of not saying anything, he seems to have been beaten by the Dr. Phil stick. He actually called me yesterday to inform me about gifts that he was giving. Along with the gift inventory, he also wanted to make sure that I wasn't hurt or offended by the recipients or the size of the gifts. Huh?!? I suspect that the life changes he (and I) have experienced in the last few years have changed his perspective somewhat. And while I'm grateful for the change in his perspective, I won't say that it doesn't freak me out, just a little bit. One day I'll get around to telling the whole story, but for right now, trust me, it's a HUGE change.

My organizational skills and my OCD have been taking a beating the last few days. I've gotten up every morning with a plan, but somehow, someway, the plan is derailed, and the things that need to be done, just aren't getting there. I think I'm going to ground myself for today, and get done those things that just can't wait any longer (which in my head is everything). There are rooms to be cleaned, laundry, ironing, gifts to be wrapped and mailed, (or FedEx'd since I've waited so long), prescriptions to be refilled, and a whole bunch of personal care stuff.... Ugh!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree....

So, we put a Xmas tree up this year. For the first time in five years or so, we actually broke out the ornaments and covered a regular size tree. Since we're normally not home at Christmas time, we've been sneaking by for the past few years with the tabletop stick tree, or the wonderfully trashy fiber optic tinsel trees. This year, for some reason, I really wanted to put up a full size grown-up tree. I'm thinking that this will be simple, after all I purchased a beautiful pre-lit tree at a store closing sale. Just unbox that bad boy and plug 'er in......right????

Himself may disagree with me. I sent him to the crawlspace no less than twenty times. I sent myself to the local drugstore twice. I sent the poorly behaved beasts out of the room no less than a hundred times. The tree had balance issues, and the cord for the light up topper was too short for connection and I ended up dissecting a Christmas tablecloth for use as a tree skirt. My two hour project morphed into six hours, and a good chunk of my living room furniture had to be rearranged. Then came the sorting of the ornaments. The idea that next Christmas may involve a small child means that the ornaments need to be sorted into breakable and unbreakable boxes. As I dropped some shiny red ball ornaments into the breakable pile, Himself snatched one up, tapped on it a few times and announced that it was unbreakable. I truly wasn't sure and I told him so. He decided to demonstrate the unbreakability of said ornament by squeezing it tightly. As the words "I guess you're right" began to leave my lips... the shiny red ball exploded in his hand..... at which point I sent him downstairs for the twenty-first time to retrieve the vacuum.

Did I mention we won't be in town this year either?????

Thursday, December 06, 2007


  • The CCAA has finished referrals up to December 14, 2006. That means that friends K & P will finally see their wildest dream come true! Congratulations you guys! It also means that we're roughly 4 months out from our own bit of wildness...
  • Dubya is unveiling his plan to help homeowners with sub prime loans. Theoretically, this seems like a good idea, but, as the homeowner who played by the rules, I must say I'm a wee bit offended. I understand that home ownership is the American dream, but the idea that everyone in this country is entitled to own a home is a bit silly. The very nature of capitalism makes the idea impossible. So now, we'll have an entire group of people who couldn't afford the home they bought, gaining equity (albeit at a pretty slow rate) for five years while paying ridiculously low interest rates. Meanwhile, those of us who behaved responsibly with our purchase will see our equity growth slow or even stop. Further proof that there is no reward for responsibility in this country.
  • Speaking of homes, it is currently a whopping 7 degrees outside mine. The odds of me leaving the house?? Pretty slim..
  • The Spinner is having a bout of cabin fever. This involves him launching his furry 37 pounds at me and then using me for a chew toy. I hit the pet store the other day for one of those "keep your pet amused" toys. I came home with something called a "molecule" and it was a big hit. For a day. And then in disappeared into the depths of the snow in the backyard. Odds of me digging through the snow to find it? Slim to none. Odds of me hitting up the pet store for 3 more of the dang things? Pretty good...
  • Apparently, Costco's chicken salad is a dieting aid. After a nice helping several evenings ago, I found myself snoozing on the bathroom floor in between bouts of the "whoopsies". My stomach is now angry and suspicious of anything that it's introduced to. Hopefully this will be good for five pounds or so.
And so ends this morning's musings. I am out of ideas and coffee. Stay warm ya'll!