This is a hard post to write - I mean, I *know* we are Blessed, but other folks probably won't agree. Ah, well.....such is the nature of Faith!
OK....first off, as of 10/01/10, I no longer have health insurance thru my work. It's something we've (my coworker and I) have discussed for a while....costs are going up and up, Ms boss is getting...back to the way she was at first, and y'know, I'd rather have a paycheck. So.....about 6 months ago SG put me and the kids on his insurance, and coworker started looking into the costs for her to get a Medicare supplement. We (OK, SHE) presented the figures to Ms boss - who stood to save *$26K* per YEAR by paying us for individual coverage, and, well - she went for it. So, I got a "raise", as did coworker. (You understand that the raise was to cover healthcare, right? :wink: It's not a real raise - I haven't gotten a raise-raise in over 10 years)
So....this was the paycheck that the "raise" hit. I was giddy - this was also the paycheck I start gathering the kids' Hannukah prezzies! :huzzah: Which I did, on Friday. I was merrily clicking away, until SG called to say that his truck was overheating and needed *major* work. OK.....I had spare funds, so no big deal - I can do that! (He....can't. I love the man, but he is horrid with money. To the point that right now, his entire salary is going to pay bills. :sigh: I can only do so much...but I *am* doing what I can to dig him out.)
Now, to go back a bit further.....about 3 or 4 weeks ago, Himself came home all excited. Seems a boy in his class was willing to trade a Nintendo DS for 4 Bakugon (or something) figures. "Mom!" he said "I could get this for Herself, and maybe she'd be nice to me!" :blink: and :awwwwwww: After ascertaining that the 4 toys would run about $30, I agreed to bankroll the trade - if it worked out, he'd owe me the $$$, if not - "Be sure to NOT give him these until you see the game, OK? We can take them back and get a refund if they are still in the unopened packaging!" He agreed.
Let me explain: I looked upon this as a good example of a life lesson. I honestly expected him to get taken - seriously. (He said the boy had gotten a Nintendo DS Lite, and didn't need the older one, which is why he was willing to trade. I'm thinking...right.) I'd rather Himself lose $30 instead of his whole life savings later, y'know? And...I can afford to "lose" $30 - remember, Himself was going to have to work it off IF the trade actually took place. $30 was a cheap way for him to learn that people can't be trusted.
I'm sure you can guess what happened - the boy got the toys and Himself was left with nothing. I nodded, hugged him, and was going to leave it....but SG got involved. He called the school...anyway, ended up that the school Police Officer got involved, we got the money back and SG talked to the boy's father (who is very nice, and was extremely pissed that his son a) lied and b) stole money from someone else. Glad I wasn't around to see the aftermath of *that*!)
Anyway, this started SG and me talking about maybe getting the kids EACH a refurbished DS for Hannukah. We went round and round (well, do they need it? No. But they'd like it...we'd be in control of what games they get...but do we want them spending all their time on it? No...but we could control it, too, mostly......) I finally grabbed a sheet of paper, and while we were out to dinner, I *asked* the kids for present ideas. NEITHER one even mentioned video games! (We are not totally in the Dark ages here...we DO have a Nintendo 64. With some games. Yes, we're old school. I don't think kids NEED video games - but I didn't want them to feel totally alienated from their peers. We also have a few PC games - Wall-E and Lego Star Wars. And they can go online and play at Ty.com and Lego.com....so they're not deprived. :grin:) Well, that settled THAT - they didn't WANT a DS, so no need to get one!
Their wants were simple - He asked for model kits, Lego kits, Star Wars action figures, and SW books. And origami paper! She wanted "decent yarn" (that's my girl! :lol:), safety eyes, crochet books, and origami paper. All cheap, all easy to get......but BORING. (And he's almost done - got him 2 SW model kits, a RC airplane, and origami paper. And today's stuff. Herself needs a bit - got her some Suncatcher safety eyes, origami paper, and a RC dragon. Today, she said she wished she had a wrist-yarn-holder like mine, so I'll grab one of the wrist bags next time I'm at the yarn store. That's 4....need to find some books and yarn - I'm thinking she's gonna get a yarn store gift card and a special trip into town. Let her have the fun of picking out the perfect yarn!)
We took SG's truck in Friday...the quote was $800. :gulp: OK....I had transferred some money into savings (to cover our upcoming property taxes), so I transferred it (and some extra :sigh:) back. When we went to pick it up Saturday, we found out that SG had $600 on his Firestone card available....so I only had to pay $200. I had intended to transfer the funds back today.
We went to the mall to walk around, and hit GameStop (we had to buy a new pool vacuum, or we wouldn't have been anywhere near the mall....it's the pool's fault!) SG got the kids to go next door to the pet store, and he started asking about the games......long story short, we came home with 2 refurbed DS Lites. :sigh: and :lol: A little more expensive than the refurbed DS's, but they play more types of games - PS2's, DS's, Gameboys, whereas the DS's only play DS games. Preowned games are cheap.......and now we have present ideas for birthdays! (We'd already hit Half Price books....Himself's gifts are almost all done. I scored the almost-complete set of Jedi Academy books for $25-ish. Still need to hunt for crochet books, though - they didn't have many.)
Here's the thing - I had "asked" about the game, and hadn't gotten a clear Yes or No. This? When we went in, the ass't manager said no, we're out of stock on the DS's, but should get more in next week. I asked for a card...for some reason, he checked his computer, and voila! They had *2* refurbed DS Lites in! (We hadn't asked about the DS Lite, because I hadn't done any research on them - I knew they cost more, and online I didn't find any refurbed ones.) They only cost $20 more than the DS's, and they play more types of games, and look - 1 is blue and 1 is red. Both of which are the kids' personal favorite colors. We got the warranty on each too - so if anything happens, they'll be replaced. We came out cheaper than buying new (of course!) and....well....I just so happened to have the funds to purchase them.
I know most people will consider this coincidence. Not me - I don't believe in coincidences. This was just too...right. It's hard to explain......but. Even SG said we needed to do this - and he's the one that didn't WANT to do it before. So.....it was "green lighted" to quote a dear friend. :wink:
It did kinda blow my present budget, though. I'll still come in cheaper than we ever did when we celebrated chrismess, but......I'll end up $50/each kid over what I had planned. Not too bad.....I had budgeted $200/each (which, yea, is a bit of money....but I only have 2 kids, and I kinda go overboard on the books. Usually. I am THRILLED that both kids are readers, and I like to encourage that) - last year I spent right at $150/each, so.....(and seeing's how most chrischuns spend WAY more than that on their entitled children - last year? SG's dad and step-mom bought each of their grandkids an iPod (they have*5* grandkids!) AND each family (2) a Wii and 4 games!!!! and APOLOGIZED that they didn't buy them more!!!!! and ?????? What in the Hell are they thinking? I sat there stunned - I mean....wow. This is on top of what the PARENTS got the kids! I am.....I can't fathom that. And I know they aren't out of the ordinary - I see too many parents filling their carts with the latest and "greatest" toys each year - spending more on a 1 day holiday than I spend on my kids in a full year (except for clothes...no, wait - I don't even spend THAT much on clothes! We shop bargains, thrift stores, and garage sales.) It's.......insane, that's what it is. (And no, my kids weren't included in the electronic love. They weren't sure what to get them - I mean, we don't let the kids watch much TV, we made it clear we don't do video games....they were appalled. Ended up Himself got a Lego kit, and Herself got a couple of reams of colored paper for origami.....and they (the grands) were upset that they spent so little. Me? I was upset they spent SO MUCH - Himself's Lego kit was a big one; it was one of the over $50 ones that I won't buy new! :shakes head:)) I still am kinda shell-shocked that I spent that much today...:lol:
Right now, both kids are outside moving the extra pallets around to the side of the barn. No complaining, no whining...and they have NO CLUE what Mom did. :lol: I am looking forward to the 8th night - they are gonna be blown away! :wink: I do feel a little guilty about spending the money....but, again, it seemed meant-to-be. (And if we're not here :wink:, no biggie - whoever gets the house will have the units, and we won't miss 'em.)