Piece Of Mind

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Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!

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Face The Facts

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Many times I’ve heard my Mom say (to no one in particular), “this bottle used to be much bigger,” or “it used to be ____ ounces and now it’s only ____.” We’re a nation of label readers but what other choice do we have?

It’s a well-known and accepted fact that prices rarely go down (sale items not withstanding). But then, why should the size (or the quality of the product, for that matter) diminish? Here are a few ripoffs I recently discovered in our kitchen:

  • 1 lb can of coffee is now 11 oz
  • 1/2 gallon tub of ice cream is now 1.5 qt
  • 6 oz container of yogurt is now 4 oz

This might not come as a surprise to some of you but many people, especially those on a fixed income or budget, rely on these foods as part of their regular diet and sustenance.

Did you know that you used to be able to get two decent sandwiches out of a can of tuna? Now, an 8 oz can of tuna is only 5 oz (4 oz drained) – which barely makes one tuna sandwich. For elderly people and even mothers of school aged children (who make their kids’ lunches), this means having to buy twice as many cans at twice the cost.

As unfair as it sounds, we must face the facts… Less is not always more and you don’t always get what you pay for!*

*StarKist Tuna – listed at $1.29 a can, paid $.89 on sale (but still used to be a bigger can)
 Friendly’s Ice Cream – listed at $3.49 a 1/2 gallon, paid $2.50 on sale (but still used to be bigger)
 Dannon Greek Yogurt – listed at $4.99 for a 4 pack, paid $3.33 on sale (ok, you get it)

All For One

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My parents and I are getting quite proficient at living together. I wouldn’t say we’re at that ‘finishing-each-others-sentences’ stage but we are becoming rather skillful at saving both time and money.

Case in point… the three of us can go out to dinner for less than $20 and still manage to take home enough food for another meal. Here’s how:

Mom and I usually split one meal so we fill up on the salad bar and add what’s leftover to our take-home container. Then we split the entree in half – she eats like a bird, anyway, so I just fill up on the fries (or rice or baked potato) and that leaves about half the main course for home.

Dad eats pretty much everything in sight – and that includes a few helpings from the salad bar, too. But he’s definitely part of the equation because we use a ‘buy-one-get-one-half-off’ deal. So he plays an integral part in our musings.

Now here’s where the time saved comes in. Mom’s really starting to hate cooking so, with a good enough deal on the table, she’s more than willing to go out to eat for two reasons:

1. No cooking today
2. No cooking (just reheating) tomorrow.

That’s because, as I previously mentioned, Mom eats like a bird – a featherlight bird – and can get by with a yogurt or some PB crackers for dinner. Dad’s the one that’ll inevitably scarf down the take-home meal. So… Win. Win. One for all and all for one!