Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Skipping Christmas For Real

I have stopped including my gratitude list of five things at the end of each of my posts. I should go back and see the date of when that happened. But today I am grateful that I haven't overdrafted my checking account. There is still $109.21 as of today left in it, so I am extremely grateful that I can still afford some food to get through until the 1st. It took a bit of juggling the bills to make it this month. Driving back and forth to Sam's each weekend put a big crimp into the budget. But I made it through fingers crossed. The worry and concern over bouncing a check is always on my mind too. I am going to go to Walgreen's to see if I can return a folding table I bought a few months ago and never used. I'd thought that I'd use it in the kitchen or as a computer printer stand but never did. That would get me $25.00 back, which would be enough for a Christmas feast! But I read the back of the receipt and it states that returns have to be made within 30 days. I'm hoping they'll give me a break.

Last night to scrimp and save I made pot pies for dinner with a can of peas which I thought would be filling. The pot pies each cost 50 cents. I had one pie and gave my youngest son two. The oldest was going out with friends and said he could grab a sandwich at someone's house. Right now my stomach is rumbling - the peas were not as filling as I'd thought. I'll be running out soon to pick up some groceries doing exactly what they say not to - shop when you're hungry.

My dear girlfriend called to tell me the time for us to come over to her home on Christmas - 3:00 p.m. She said she is trying to get caught up wrapping the gifts for her three kids, who have been very close to mine the past 13 years. I felt so removed from her statement because this year I have absolutely no gifts to wrap or purchase. This was the Christmas that wasn't. It will just be another day besides going to my girlfriend's for dinner. Part of me actually feels some relief about not being caught up in the celebration. But that may just be a front to keep me from feeling upset that the boys won't have any gifts to open. They did receive new phones from Sam who included unlimited texting and internet use too. Yes, this is nice but it would also be nice for them to be able to open up a little something - a surprise. Does it count that a few months ago I bought them each $200.00 of clothing (from the Used Teen Clothing Store Plato's Closet?). No, I think phones and clothes are in the pile of necessities parents are supposed to provide for their kids. They are a given.

Oh, I forgot. I did buy two things for the boys back when I thought our financial condition was more sound - a Packer's bean bag chair and some music picture (drums, guitar). I left them at Sam's because the car was too full coming back yesterday. Our trip back was delayed a good hour because my oldest drove into the piled snow at the side of Sam's steep driveway and it took a concentrated shoveling effort and even the strength of four big guys from down the street to get the van out. I told the boys I'd give them the gifts as New Year's presents.

But for now I am grateful for a roof over our heads be it at Sam's or here at the apartment. And that there is still money for food and maybe I can even afford a package of Christmas cookies.

It is funny - just the other day I saw one of my favorite holiday movies, "Christmas with the Kranks", which is based on the adorable novel "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham. Unlike the movie or book, this year this family is really skipping Christmas.


  1. I am so sorry that you are having such a financial struggle....I hope your boys are understanding and that your family can still enjoy this holiday season.

  2. I was going to say the same as the comment above. Let;s look forward to 2010 and see if we can carve some good times out of that year--step by step--inch by inch.

  3. I'm sorry you have to worry so much on top of everything else that grief brings with it. It hardly seems fair, just or right. I send you love and hugs. Wishing you, Sam and your sons a peaceful and love-filled day tomorrow. Boo x

  4. Wishing you peace and joy in the New Year. Hoping that the struggles get easier. I too, am thankful for no overdrafts. Things are just to close for comfort right now. I try to stay positive and keep repeating the mantra that "there will be enough". That might mean some ramen noodles or a box of mac and cheese, but it will be enough.

    May your day tomorrow be filled with the things money can't buy tomorrow. I will be thinking of you and the boys.

  5. Anonymous - Thank you for your kind wishes.

    Jude - As always, I appreciate you checking in. I think of you whenever I have a pb & j and the other night I made popcorn. It made me think that if I have these items I'll get by just as you did long ago.

    Boo - I find it very special when those who have so much on their plates, stop by to wish me well. Thank you for remembering Sam too.

    Kelly - I want to steal your mantra of "there will be enough." I try to remember that these hard times won't go on forever. And there are many people out there struggling over bills, jobs and the like. I hope we can keep in touch more often in the new year. And that we'll see it improve for both of us!