Am I Really Spending $102 Dollars at Target When All I Needed Was a Box of Band-Aids?

Oh Target, how I wish I could quit you.

But I can’t.

Where else can one find sunscreen, lunch meat, and a seasonal handbag in one location? Don’t even think of mentioning Wal-Mart because I will get into my car, drive over to your house with that Bulls-Eye dog and the coked-up blonde lady from the holiday commercials (you know, the one in the red sweat suit and heels – and who the hell wears heals to go shopping?), and slap the ghetto out of you. I am a firm believer that if you can’t find it at Target, you can’t find it.

However, this is not needless spending, oh no. I use everything I buy there. Seriously, nothing, and I mean nothing goes unused. Frozen pizza? We eat it. Cute multi-colored scarf and flip-flops? I wear them (sometimes at the same time).  Books, shampoo, popsicles? All used up and now I need more. And hang onto your hats people when there is a holiday because I will roundhouse kick you out of my way to get to the last animatronic Easter Bunny. I am that lady who cruises into the checkout line as her cart runeth over.

Oddly, this spending phenomenon happens little place else.  Oh sure, I have over done it from time to time when clothes or shoes shopping, but I have never run into the grocery store for bananas and toothpaste, and instead emerged with the entire cheese cart. I have yet to go to Walgreens for laundry detergent and left with arms full of As Seen On TV items (well maybe some of that stackable Tupperware, and yes, I still use it).

So how did this vortex of Target (pronounce tar-je for those of us fancy folk) spending begin and what is it about the store that makes me want to run my hands along the displays of holiday stickers and festive socks in the $1 aisle?

I think it goes way back to the hunter and gatherer days.

The men-folk would go out and hunt for the meat and the women and children would round up twigs for a fire, berries, nuts, and other items to eat and store up for the harsh winter. They had to plan ahead, gather massive amounts of food and wood or they would starve and freeze to death out in the great outdoors. Another reason why I don’t camp.

The same preparation can be seen by the colonial people. They spent all summer and fall harvesting crops and storing up goods for the winter. People worked hard, and I mean get Timothy the toddler out there with a scythe hard to stockpile goods so they could survive the repetitive blizzards during winter. Let’s face it, people dropped like flies back then. If the small pox or accusations of witchcraft didn’t get you, the winter and famish would. Folks had to constantly prepare for the future, the next phase of needs.

This is our modern day stockpiling. Target is our forest.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I went through a crazy nesting phase. I would go to Target for bibs and diapers and walk out with armfuls of plastic bags. I could have made twenty red and white maternity cat suits.  I was gathering for the future.

So next time you are at Target and thinking to yourself, “Hmm, do I need those $24 wedge sandals?” Remember, you are preparing for your future. A future party. Or when you muse, “I sure do like fruit snacks and oh look – two for one!” You are planning for your belly’s future, as well as a solid vitamin C intake.

I too am preparing. Apparently for the seasonal decorating apocalypse. And oh, I will be ready.

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Am I Really This in Love with the Over Eighty Crowd?

Damn, I love those pruney little bastards.

Old people rock. Period. They get all the best discounts, drive how they want, say what they want, eat when they want, and wear what they want. They are like Willona from Good Times (or for you young Generation XYYYY carry the 1 kids, Russel Brand…without the sex addiction).

One of my friends recently went on vacation. She posted a photo of the pool bar completely populated by those well into their 70s and 80s. At first I asked if this was a scene from Cocoon. Then I thought, good for them! They are rocking those swim trousers sashaying down the water slide. Who cares? Not them. How awesome to be that free!

But I did not always feel this way. I was once seriously uncomfortable around old people.

As a Girl Scout, I cringed every time we had to go to the old folk’s home to sing Christmas Carols. The elders would want to reach out and give me a hug during the middle of “Silent Night.” I would always try to scooch away, only to have one grab onto my patch-work sash for dear life. I was scared. They smelled like moth balls and vinegar.

Now, I find those in their glorious golden years to be clever, enlightening, and pretty funny when they toot (when a thirty-nine year old woman farts in public it is slightly embarrassing and a little bit sad).  As a nation, we try to take care of our golden oldies. There are also some pimp senior living condos out there.

So why do people avoid getting older?

As a society, we fear aging. We often lie about our birthdays, date younger people, and slap on magical face creams promising youth. I too am one of those fearful millions. In fact, if Jennifer Aniston touted drinking oil sludge twice a day to look like her for the rest of my life, I would sucker punch an old lady to be the first one in line. So much work goes into avoiding the inevitable.

Take Demi Moore for example. She is ridiculously beautiful. While she is not really that old (she is 49), I have only seen a few people who look that great at that age. They are called mannequins.

Damn, she has got to be tired.

It has to be so much work to keep that up. The constant exercising, limiting food diet, creams, lotions, not imbibing, and nips and tucks. Does she sleep? Society was so sad when she and Ashton Kutcher broke up. I thought – thank God. Now this poor broad can take a nap. She does not have to keep up with his new and trendy lingo. No more tweeting (Christ, the tweeting) 850 times a day, or having to worry about if both Ashton and her daughter passed their Algebra tests. Someone send sweet Demi to the spa to relax. She has earned it!

When you’re old, who gives a crap? No more working so hard to make sure your face stops sagging. You made it! Hooray. Go and engrave a plaque with a picture of you giving the middle finger to a bottle of Oil of Olay.

Too often we obsess about age spots and saggy skin. I say screw it, where that bikini. In a few years your ass will be hanging to the back of your knees and won’t you regret not wearing one. We need to embrace getting older. Give it a hug, pat it on the rump and say, “Oh I will make sweet love to you later, but first, let’s grab a drink.”

So tonight, do it old school style (seriously, like using a car crank old). Raise you glass of Metamucil, sit down to your IHOP dinner at 4:30 p.m., and for the love of God do not drive about 25 mph.

Because….you can damn it!

Am I Really Getting Bitched Out by a Dude in a Hemp Poncho?

Ahhhh, certified organic.  So natural, so wholesome, so clean. I love it.

Let me introduce you to someone who is not so ga ga for organic. My wallet.

When I’m feeling very mother earth-like, I go gangbusters at Whole Foods. I fill the cart with kale, hormone-free beef, and soy cheese. I run my hands along the shampoo bottles scented with tee tree and jojoba oils. In the check-out line, I happily hand over my recycled grocery bags made from plastic bottles and newspapers. Then when I go to pay, my wallet looks up at me and shoots me the bird.

Holy crap that stuff is expensive!

Most of the time, I am a “mixed-bag” type of shopper. I buy store brands and I buy organic and natural items. This way, I am doing some good for my family while keeping my budget in check.

Mr. Hemp Poncho at my local grocer did not see this as appropriate shopping.

Below is a re-cap:

Me: Browsing the yogurt section, I pick up two Gogurt boxes because, a) they were on sale, and b) this is the only yogurt my daughter will eat.

Mr. Hemp Poncho:  You’re not buying those are you?

Me: (looking around disoriented) Uh, yes?

Mr. Hemp Poncho:  You know there are chemicals in them and not to mention all the hormones in the milk.

Me: Okay.

Mr. Hemp Poncho:  You should get these (handing me a yogurt box with a picture of child way too ecstatic about dairy), they are organic and much better.

Me: Oh, you know, I used to buy those, but my daughter won’t eat them because they –

Mr. Hemp Poncho: Who is the parent here?

Me: What?

Mr. Hemp Poncho:  See? That is the problem. If parents stopped buying this junk, then we would not have as many issues with our youth today.

Me:

Mr. Hemp Poncho: Parents need to start caring about their children more.

Me: Placing the Gogurts back into the display and taking the organic yogurt from him.

I felt like an Appalachian woman who had been putting Mountain Dew into her baby’s bottle.

As Hemp Poncho walked off leaving a trail of patchouli, I screamed after him (in my head), “My daughter won’t eat these you dick! I’ll spend $3.99 on this box and it will go bad in the fridge. And if you think my husband will eat this shit you are way wrong! If I come home with a sprouted wheat pizza, he’ll pack a bag and go shack up with the Hamburgler!”

Then I dropped that organic crap like a hot potato, grabbed the Gogurts, and took off with my squeaky-wheeled shopping cart.

I don’t care what anybody says, I did the right thing. I know so because SpongeBob Square Pants looked up at me from the yogurt box and winked.

What does this tree-hugging jackass think?  That all parents walk into a grocery store, look at a box and say, “Hmm, wonderful, FD&C Dye #2, 3, and 7, just what I have been looking for. Now, if they could just remove the actual food from this item that would be great so I could directly squirt the colorful chemicals and sugar right into my child’s mouth. Oh wait, never mind, there’s the aisle with the food coloring and jimmy’s.”?

I would love to feed my family only organic meals, made from scratch in my earthenware kitchen. I would relish the time to sip free trade coffee snuggled up with my un-bleached cotton throw while lighting my beeswax candles (no bees were harmed in the making). I aspire to make homemade cleansers from vinegar and lemon so as to not release toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

However, like most Americans, I am on a budget. If I did all of the above things, coffee would be the only item I would be able to feed my family since we would be broke from spending all of our money on organic sundries. We would probably lose the house since my husband and I would be too busy composting our neighbor’s trash. We would then have to make a tee pee from said un-bleached cotton throw for shelter.

Let me state for the record, I am not against the world of organic, quite the opposite in fact. However, the whole-food industry has yet to find a way to make it affordable…or at least make an organic A-1 Sauce.

A message to the radical earth lovers, please don’t judge. We are good people trying to do the best for our families. If you have a beef, don’t take it up with me (the ultra-caffeinated lady in the grocery store with boogers on her shirt and an unfortunate hair day), take that Tom’s of Maine toothpaste smile over to the FDA and the food manufactures. Demand better quality foods. Raise your picketing sign made of cow dung and Himalayan ink and insist on making organic accessible and affordable to the American people.

Just give us normal folk a break. We agree with you. We like organic, we just can’t always be perfect and make it happen every day. So let us hold hands and live together in harmony.

It’s what the free range chickens would want us to do.

Am I Really Taking This Ass-Whipping Boot Camp?

Well, it’s a New Year people.  Like the rest of the earth’s population, I too have decided to get healthy during this year of the dragon.  I made a vow to stick with my goal. No more failed resolutions of losing five pounds, showing up on time, or letting fruit go bad. No more shame spiraling in February when I clearly “failed” in following through. Oh this time – it’s on.

Having just survived my first week of sweat, spandex, and swearing; I’d like to take a journey back in time to see what led to this decision. Could it have been all those nights watching The Biggest Loser while eating spaghetti and meatballs? Or was the time I accidentally flipped on the Victoria Secret’s sexy runway show (damn those bitches are skinny!)…and then had two beers and some Fritos? Maybe it has something to do with the fact I think salsa is a vegetable and should be recognized on the food pyramid.

Oh no, I decided to pay somebody to beat my ass because my brain and my body have gone their separate ways.

Let me explain.

In my head (you can already tell this is going to be a recipe for disaster) I am super fit. I am teaching aerobics, just like I did in college; I am taking a spinning class for an hour and a half; I am still a dancer able to do the splits, kick high into the air, and twirl and shake things without them wobbling or flapping in the breeze; I also wear clothes that show my belly button (it was a fashionable Gwen Stefani look).  I am strong and limber.

Okay, here is what my body is actually doing: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Seriously. Oh I have been going to the gym alright, but have I broken a sweat? Nope. I am pretty sure my workout routine over the last couple of years equals the strength training of me going into the whirlpool and eating a ham sandwich.  And flexibility?  If you were to ask me to touch my toes the action would resemble something between a drunken sorority girl falling off a curb and a patient recovering from hip replacement surgery.  Throw in the fact that I grunt like a ninety-something man with emphysema every time I bend over to retrieve a toy off the floor and you can see the problem.

Uh, I think it’s putting it mildly to say that I needed a swift kick of das boot to my rump shaker.

Enter, The Boot Camp.

Day One (Insert the Law and Order “Dong Dong” sound)Alarm sounds at 5:30 a.m. I have seriously not risen at this hour since….well…ever. Oh wait – a couple of times when I had a flight to catch.  I show up at the gym with my pupils yet to adjust to the light.  There is a lot of lifting things and planking (Christ the planking!) and my arms shaking from using muscles (I use that term lightly here) that have not been used since learning gross motor skills as a toddler.

Day Two – Getting out of bed proves a challenge. It resembles something of a beached turtle on its back. Eventually I just log roll off the bed and onto the dog resting peacefully on the floor.

Day Three – 5:30 a.m. I can do this, I say to myself. I get to the gym pretty peppy, meet some more boot campers and sweat like a hippie in a heated yurt.

Day Four – Shit I’m tired.

Day Five – 5:30 a.m. …5:36 a.m. …5:42 a.m. …crap. More planking (this is bullshit), twisting and jumping with the heavy ball (maybe I’ll just roll it), and spelling the alphabet in the air with your legs while trying to balance your ass on a rubber ball (are you F’ing kidding me?).

At the conclusion of the week I almost engraved a trophy for myself for making it through. I made a plan for 2012 and I am doing my best to stick to it. Some days I might want to chuck a free weight at the trainer, other days I may do an extra bicep curl, but what I won’t do is beat myself up for not being perfect this year.

Whether your resolution is to turn off the light when you leave a room, stop volunteering for every committee that comes your way, or to be patient with the dipshit at Starbuck’s who always gets your order wrong, be kind to yourself. This year, next year, or ten years from now, change takes time (or so they say). Kicking yourself in the pants for not being perfect gets you nowhere…

… unless you are in boot camp of course.

Am I Really This Uptight?

Some people like to call a certain personality trait, Type A. Others like to use the phrase, “a real go-getter.” I like to use an old Native American saying: One who has panties in a wad.

Like many others, I used to be loosey-goosey. I could go with the flow, I was adventuresome, spontaneous. Nope. Not anymore.

Nowadays, if something is not on my to do list, well it’s just not going to happen. Do not deviate from the plan, cram in as many activities as possible, and multitask, multitask, multitask.

This causes a slight amount of stress.

Being Mr. Observant, my husband has noticed this slow decline into tight-assedness. He likes to say things to me such as: “You need to relax,” “Calm down,” “You’re always tired,” and my personal favorite, which I am thinking about making my ring tone, “You used to be fun.”

Sigh, he is kind of right on the last one.

Where is that girl who had not one, not two, but three jobs, went out every night until two a.m. and then got up and went to work? What happened to that broad who woke up in the middle of someone’s living room wearing a strange Bart Simpson t-shirt (don’t ask, that is a whole other blog). Where did she go?

Oh I know – I had a child. Looks like I bequeathed all my relaxed spontaneity to her. That and massive amounts of brown wavy hair.  She is a complete free-bird, opting to wear underpants only some of the time.

But it has to be something else.

Could it be that I have become – gulp – responsible?

I wish I could say that this growth into conscientiousness has come with age, but I’ve seen a lot of jackasses out there in their fifties. Nope, I think it has to do with life changes.

Here are some thoughts:

Look Mom, I got a job! This also means you need to get your can up and out of bed and wear clothes that are actually hanging on a rack – not ones you pull up off the floor to see if they pass the “smell” test. Reality Smack in the Face #1.

First Comes Marriage… Oh crap. Now you are accountable to someone else. Somehow this means different things for men and women. Men – now you have to nod and smile to please your mate. You must also eat things that most likely taste like crap, like a runny meat-loaf …but I digress.  Women – this means you get to pick up dirty sock and other sundries off the floor, because seriously, they never make it into the laundry basket; maybe around it, but never in it.

Pet owners live longer.  For those of you whom have decided to bring a furry friend into your home, you know the joys of this experience. We got our dog before we had our daughter, so she was my first baby. This was also about the time my neuroticism started creeping in. “She did not eat much today,” “I think her poop looks weird,” and the one that makes my husband roll his eyes and walk into the other room, “She looks sad, do you think she is depressed?” I love my dog, and much like children, pets are a responsibility. You can’t go out on an all night binger because you need to come home from work and let the dog out to pee. Then you can do your keg stands.

Then comes the baby in the baby carriage.  Hold the phone. Now I am responsible for a human life? This is when a few worries turned into a full-blown DEFCON 3 panic attack. I started noticing all the atrocities of the world: car accidents, airborne illnesses, and after a late night of watching Planet of the Apes, monkey attacks. Please God, don’t let the apes take my baby! Of course there were (and still are) the day to day concerns:  “She did not eat much today,”” I think her poop looks weird.” Notice the pattern?

Luckily for us, we have not been plagued by primate attacks, so many of my worries have been less than fruitful.  In the words of Deepak Chopra, Worrying gets you nowhere, or something like that. It is wasted energy that can be spent elsewhere, like sleeping or washing your face.

So in 2012, one of my goals is to chill out, maybe take some yoga (can you nap there?), and smell the flowers. Actually, my husband made me promise that I would try to stop freaking out about every little thing – but come on, mosquito bites can cause West Nile Virus!

To all you lovelies out there who are popping Tums to quite nervous stomachs, let’s take in a deep breath together and exhale while letting go of some of the franticness.

Oh who am I kidding? Let’s just pour another glass of pinot and fall asleep on the couch while watching Wife Swap.

Namaste.