Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday night

It's Friday night. 7:45pm. We have all 3 kids in bed. Not asleep yet, but in bed. Here's our convo: (I never use the word convo to mean conversation, but my friend H does, and it cracks me up)
J: Is the library still open?
D: No, it closes at 5 on Fridays
J: Poor planning, no movie to watch
D: Lah-dee-da...dum--dee-dum...
J: You have gift cards--you should go shopping
D: I wanted to go shopping earlier, but I knew the kids were beyond it
J: You are allowed to have alone time
D: I have alone time all day at work--you need alone time
J: Hey, if you will enjoy yourself and have fun, go do it
D: I'll probably come back without anything. I don't understand why I'm so picky lately--I never want to buy anything
J: It's because we realize the value of our money--we don't spend it on just any old crap because we feel like spending. It's all Dave Ramsey's fault
D: laugh--yeah. It's true though
J: GO. Have fun. I'll read a book and chill out or something

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A virtual thank you

In response to this


Whoever you are, you have made me curiouser than George.

First of all, when I received a card from A FRIEND, I immediately knew it was something good, but something in me was wary. Why don't you want me to know who you are?

Secondly, instead of being thankful for the fun gift, my type A brain immediately had to work at figuring out who you are. I mean, I was examining the envelope for "clues", postal markings, comparing the envelope to the card, looking for hairs stuck in the hot glue, fingerprints on the gift cards, sniffing the insert for any giveaway scents (??? I'm not even sure I would know what that would be either--coffee, Pert Plus, un-showered morning breath--who knows?). It was almost sick how totally zealous and determined I was to figure out who you are! Then I started wondering who would have one $20 Meijer gift card and two $10 Toys/Babies R Us gift cards--or who would go to the two separate stores to purchase them as such. Seriously--my brain went into hyperactive over-drive trying to figure this one out.

THEN--trying to figure out what to buy. OHHHH! The struggle. I seriously--literally--spent 3 hours on-line looking at the Toys R Us website trying to figure out what to buy. Then I spent an hour at the Toys R Us store all by myself, and still came home with nothing. I over-analyzed the entire purchase so much I couldn't even make a decision much less a purchase!

Meijer--that was only slightly tough. I had to keep myself out of the kitchen section--although a splurge for me, I was afraid anything purchased there might qualify as "wisely" and I was REALLY afraid of the punishment you threatened if I chose to spend the gift card that way. I mean, I'm sure you were hiding around the corner, in disguise holding up a newspaper with two eye slits cut in it or sitting up in the security booth watching me on camera to see what I picked out. Right?

I ended up buying myself a pair of New Balance sneakers I found in the clearance section for only $15--then I added a $6 organic cotton long-sleeved T-shirt to give me almost an entire "new" outfit--totally frivolous, and definitely for me alone.

On my third trip to Toys R Us, I landed on an item for our family. I chose the game "Perfection" as it was something I remember enjoying as a kid. far, my kids have only fought over it, so it's tucked away for another year or two until they can play and enjoy it rather than fight over it. It's a sentimental and totally frivolous purchase as I could have easily nickel and dimed the gift cards on clearance crappo, but instead decided to go old school and get something I remembered from my childhood that maybe my kids will one day remember too. And after the countless hours I spent searching for just the right item, I thought it would be piquant to choose "Perfection".

Now, dear FRIEND, I have given up on trying to figure out who you are. Although I have my short-list of guesses. I'm just waiting for you to burst out "gotcha, it was ME" one of these times we're together.

But it would be much more scintillating if you never reveal yourself and I can continue to treat everyone as if you were my FRIEND.


Jenna Scott

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I got RAK'd (RAK = Random Act of Kindness)

A few days before Christmas, I got a letter in the mail.

Inside the envelope I found a Christmas card with 3 gift cards hot glued to it and a color-printed insert that explained this surprise gift. It said:

Merry Christmas

Jenna, please accept these gift cards under the following conditions::

The Meijer Gift Card -
  1. This must be used on you alone or on you and Dan.

  2. It MUST be spent frivolously (Eg. Bottle of wine and fancy dessert-that is if you decide to share with Dan.)

  3. If I find out that you spend this "wisely" you will be punished.
The Toys/Babies R Us Gift Cards -
  1. These must be used on the kids or a family item.

  2. These MUST not be spent on something practical (Eg. No diapers)

  3. If I find out that you spent these "wisely" you will be punished.


OK. Whoever did this, first of all, thank you for this completely unexpected and fun $40 of shopping. You totally floored me. You got me. You made me cry, you booger!

Encyclopedia Brown - Boy Detective.jpgSecond of all, I LOVE A CHALLENGE! And, I haven't been reading mystery books since I was 8 for nothin'!

********* THE CLUES *********
  • The letter was addressed to me in all all caps, blue ink, medium point pen--Bic I think. The writing appeared to be male--possibly a wife asked her husband to address it so her handwriting wouldn't give her away? Or a guy sent it, awkward, but still thoughtful.

  • The return address area only revealed that it was from "A FRIEND".

  • The USPS printing only revealed that it was from a Grand Rapids zip code beginning with the numbers 493. (That means it was mailed in Ada?)

  • Hmmm...only someone with extensive glue-gun knowledge was able to attach the gift cards.

  • Not to mention computer saavy to get the instructions to fit exactly to the card's interior. And the red and green letter-alternating-patterning was perfectly done--either someone is very good or has waaaaay too much time on their hands. And I don't know anyone with too much time on their hands, so it has to be the former.

  • Knows my spouse's name is Dan.

  • Knows we aren't teetotalers (hence the bottle of wine comment), yet doesn't know that I don't care for wine unless it's in a highly fruited and very juiced sangria.

  • Someone knows me very well in that they knew my first, second, and third thoughts upon seeing the gift cards would be, "sweet! We can get 1/2 tank of gas with the Meijer card and a case of diapers with Babies R Us cards!" Good thing you put the rules in place.

  • I'm wondering how you are going to know how I spend these gift cards and whether or not I'll need to be punished. And you must feel pretty comfortable with me to threaten punishment!
I have a few guesses as to who is "A FRIEND" rolling around in my head. (ooh, misplaced modifier! I don't have a friend rolling around in my head, but I do have some guesses rolling around in my head)

I think the point, though, is not to find out who "did this to me", but rather to gracefully accept an unexpected gift. And to step outside my normal pragmatic and thrifty self to enjoy a little self-indulgence at someone else's expense.

Thank you, FRIEND. For knowing me enough to set the "conditions", for caring enough to take the time to make receiving this card so much fun for me, for giving me $40 + the cost of a stamp which you could have very well spent on yourself or your own family, for sharing humbly via anonymity.

it's so not fair

when Dan just gets to jet-set off to Orlando for a weekend to work and I have to stay home with the 3 kids.

Yes I'm being a baby. Yes I'm bitching. Yes I'm jealous. Yes I'm dreading it already. Yes I have issues. Yes, I'll get over it. But not for a while.

dammit it's so not fair.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sneak Peek

This post won't go up on LAB until Saturday. But I thought it was a fairly decent piece of writing with some amazing photography by Dan. The "Journal Entry" header was created by Nate. I love collaboration!