Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Be lame, raise teens

I don't know exactly when it happened. I don't know how. I know I used to have it. Once I was someone who inspired awe and admiration. But over the course of the last couple of years, I lost it somewhere, somehow. Miraculously, I became uncool. An embarrassment. Eye rolling fodder. Someone to be pittied for how absolutely lame she is, if that is even the current expression (that is how lame I am--I don't even know the correct term for lame!).

My daughter enlightened me to my total lack of cool last weekend. It all started Saturday afternoon when my father stopped by for a leisurely visit.

As a side note let me explain here that my father is a very good friend of mine. He is also very close to my daughter. I lived with him as a very young single mother for some time after she was born and he has always had a very big role in my daughter's life. She looks up to him. She desires his approval. As he is more than a father to me, just as he is more than a grandfather to her.

So let me say my friend Dad was over this weekend. We were in the kitchen. It was lunchtime and I was heating leftovers for the Fellers in the microwave. My father and daughter were scrounging leftovers for themselves, too. My dad, the eternal batchelor, enjoys raiding my fridge and is a frequent visitor for home cooked meals and hearty family companionship. The microwave, a beat up old thrice hand-me-down relic, was getting a work out. First shift: Feller plates. Second shift: Dad's plate. Third shift: The Girl's plate. But something was wrong. Those weird noises it had been making for those last two weeks were suddenly accompanied by the smell of fried motor and burnt insulaton. Yes, the microwave, probably older that all of my children's ages together, finally bit the dust. Poor Girl, no heated leftovers for her (well, she could have used the old fashioned pan on the oven method, but that involved way too much work!). And now, my cheap ass had a problem. Where to find another (not necessarily new) microwave? Did I know anyone who might be getting rid of one? No one came to mind and I don't have much time for the whole rummage sale lottery style hit or miss thing, so I would have to bite the bullet and--*gasp*-- purchase a new microwave! My father, a fellow scotsman and cheapskate, commiserated.

This is where I became so fully aware of my lost cool. My darling daughter, witness to this conversation, empty stomach addling her young brains, maybe hoping to impress my father with her knowledge of my failure of cool, chimed in, "Gawd! Mom's going to have to buy a new microwave *eyeroll*! This should be good!" Then, glancing at the drying bin of heaped dishes she said, "She is too cheap to even buy plastic bags or tupperware!" Yes, it is true. I save the resealable plastic bags and plastic margarine, sour sream and yogurt tubs that food comes packaged in. The older kids constantly try to throw these things out when they find them in the pile of dirty dishes, but I am adamant about it, "Don't throw those out! Those are good yet. We need those!" I do reuse these things to store leftovers or food, the plastic tubs for storage or toys for the Fellers; it's not like they just take up valuable cabinet space. I explain that it is better for the environment to reuse these things and why pay for new ones when these are perfectly serviceable? My explainations fall on deaf ears. I think my frugality even drives my husband nuts on occassion. Just recently I caught him throwing a perfectly good resealable bag in the garbage, "Wait! That's still good!" Fartunately, he loves me enough to humor me and not to roll his eyes. Although I believe he smirked. A little.

Anyway, the microwave. Sadly, we would have to throw it out. But wait! I was able to salvage one thing from it! The large glass platter! I was just wishing for a serving platter for h'orderves during the Mother's Day party. I would save the glass microwave platter and use it for h'orderves. It softened the blow of having to purchase a new appliance. Of course, The Girl met that decision with more eye rolling and derision.

Fast forward to shopping for microwaves with Dad at various box stores we love to hate. I am not impressed. I would like to spend as little as possible, naturally, yet, I need a somewhat large size to accomodate heating food for a large family. Why is it that as the size of the microwaves increases, so so the stupid useless functions such as "butter/ice cream softener"? I mean, are people who buy large microwaves really incapable of manually pushing in 1-5-start? Or the "popcorn" function. I don't want to pay an extra $75 so I don't have to push in 3-1-5 START. I just want a big, dumb, featureless, cheap microwave. Why is that so difficult? The closest we got to making a purchase was at one point when The Girl found a microwave that "looked cool", something I aparently have no sense for, and tried to persuade me to purchase it. Suddenly, she spoke my language "Mom, you should totally buy that one because it is cheaper than the other one(by $8 than the larger one I was looking at)." We walked out of the box stores empty handed.

Fast forward to me on the internet. Thrifty tip here: Buy Refurbished. Refurbished products are about half the price of their brand spanking new counterparts (haha no pun intended) and they are usually simply open box items that have been returned. Usually, a human being has inspected the item to make sure it works before repackaging them for resale, more of a guarantee that they actually work than buying brand new never out of the box items. Generally, I have had good luck with refurbs. Anyway, long story short, I found a good deal on a refurbished 1.6 cubic foot with all sorts of useless lazy-ass features for half the price of a new one with free super cheapskate shipping at the electronic big box store of the net . Even with the el cheapo shipping option, it will be here today.

Oh, and the day after we set the microwave out back on the trashpile? Someone snatched it up. Someone is going to try to eek more life out of that dead-as-a-doornail microwave. Someone is more of a cheapskate than me. I wonder if that person's daughter's eyes get stuck in the back of her head when he brings that hunk of junk home?

One more thing. Monday, The Girl told me that her class had an awards ceremony. They voted on such things as Most Popular, Most Likely to Succeed, Nicest Girl, Nicest Boy, Whatever. Guess what award The Girl won? Most Likely to Save the Environment.


Blogger wolfbaby said...

Gee I am so not looking forward to that day!!! Good for you finding a cheaper one!!! Someday when they reach our age and sittuation I am pleased to note they will come to understand and that is all we can hang on to LOL...

07 June, 2006 11:04  
Blogger Karen said...

Have you tried I love freecycle, and I'm sure there's one in your area. I have met the nicest people freecycling.

09 June, 2006 23:10  

Post a Comment

<< Home