Grocery Woes

8019650_f520Hang with me here, because I swear I have a point. Off the top of my head, breakfast items I purchased for the house include the following:

  • 2 packages of whole-wheat English muffins
  • 1 pound of turkey bacon
  • 12 yogurts
  • 2 boxes of Pop-Tarts (don’t judge me!)
  • Multiple types of fruit–berries, oranges, clementines, apples, grapes
  • 3—yes, 3–boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (they had a bundle pack that was discounted)
  • 1 Bag of Bagels–I buy the minis because they are more like a normal serving size, so I am estimating 12 were in the bag.
  • 18 eggs
  • 4 boxes of Nutrigrain-type cereal bars
  • a container of oatmeal
  • 1 box of Grape Nuts

I ate, I think, 2 English muffins, maybe a couple of pieces of fruit. I went to work for 3 nights and got off on the following Monday, and all of it–everything on the above list–was gone. What else didn’t survive the weekend? 3 boxes of granola bars, 2 boxes of low-calorie snacks I bought for myself, 2 boxes of snack crackers, an 18-pack of Jell-O, 2 gallons of chocolate milk, a whole pound of turkey breast. In one weekend. And that is just the quick items.

So it goes like this: I get paid, I determine a grocery budget, and I go to the grocery store. There isn’t a lot to go around anymore because my boss has cut down on our ability to work overtime, so I have to stretch what I do have. I clip coupons, I price match, I shop sales. I usually do pretty well, coming home from the store with the back of our SUV filled with grocery bags. On the last trip right before Christmas break, I spent $350 because I knew the kids would be home all day everyday. It would be more than enough for anyone.

Except for this family.

I never dreamed I would say this, but I cannot afford to feed this family anymore. More specifically, I cannot afford to fee Evan. The kid eats something and immediately goes back for more. All day long, this is how it goes. So my trips to the grocery store are decimated and when I come home from work after a 3-day stretch, there is nothing left and we spend the rest of the week running to and from the store, buying miscellaneous items because there is nothing left in the house. Which is decidedly unfriendly to the environment and to my wallet, as gas is fricken expensive. I have even had to let some bills slide to buy more food because they ran us out and we cannot starve for the rest of the week..

I should add that this does not just happen when I am gone. Last night for dinner, for example, John made chops, veggies, baked potatoes. When he made the potatoes, he made a whole bunch of them because they were smallish. I split one with Zach. John had one. Evan cried and carried on until he ate the rest of them. If we order a pizza, he eats more than all of us combined. One night, I made a pan of baked ziti–lowfat, of course, for John–and we all got a spoonful while Evan ate the rest of the pan.  He’s starving, he says. He cries.

We have tried everything. We’ve explained how obesity runs in our family, as well as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. We’ve had discussions about genetics and how John’s dad had to have open-heart in his 40’s and John had all of those blocked arteries this past summer in his 30’s, so Evan is pretty much doomed if he doesn’t amend his eating habits. I can’t make too much of an issue of it because I don’t want to make such an unhealthy connection with food, as this can also lead to problems.

What do I do? And the reason I am asking? Well, after the “polar vortex” that we have had that expanded the kids’ winter break, I am broke. We literally have no money. I have fed this child until our wallets, pockets, bank accounts are completely empty. And there is no food left. I have resources and I can get groceries, but the point is that nobody else will get to eat them. And even when we are diligent, when we watch the food supplies all day, being careful about what Evan consumes, our efforts go to waste when he sneaks into the kitchen after all have gone to bed and hoard entire boxes of stuff into his room. In the morning when he wakes, we have found empty boxes of snack crackers, granola bars, anything that he can easily take and snack on all night.

Do we have to sleep in shifts? Put the food under lock and key? Start buying by the meal instead of stocking the kitchen? And then when he cannot get what he wants, we deal with one of his meltdowns where he turns over furniture, gets violent with his brother, breaks our things intentionally.

I am at my wit’s end. I do not know what to do or how to do it.

And I’m hungry.

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Mastering the Art of Suckage

I suck at life right now. No, really, I do.

I woke up this morning to tackle the day. I was ready. Quick shower, yoga pants, hoodie. Ready. To. Go. And then I sat down. And I started reading Justin Halpern’s Shit My Dad Says on my phone. And before I knew what was happening, I had finished the damned book. And then I was exhausted, and we all took a collective nap. I was so hell-bent on not procrastinating on the finishing of the economics, and I suffered a massive failure on that one. (More on the econ in another post-that class is going to drive me into an early grave.)

So lunch came. And went. I didn’t eat a bite. Nothing sounded good other than a pint of black raspberry chip ice cream. And, well, that isn’t diet-friendly. Before I knew what was going on, it was time for dinner. Chipotle. And I ate the whole fucking bowl. With chips. How much more Fatty McFatFat can you get than shoveling heaps of rice and chicken and salsa onto chips to eat it? To use chips as flatware, for shit’s sake! So I’m not exactly feeling all svelte/ bask-in-my-hotness. On the contrary, I can practically feel the cellulite building up on my thighs just in the 45 minutes since I ate the last chip.

So now, the coffee is brewed. I’m ready. I am going to study.

“Andrea, I set a reminder for you, baby.” Awww, my husband is so thoughtful. A reminder for what?

For the season kick-off of Project Runway. Tonight. And suddenly, I can hear my resolve to study screaming in agony as it withers to nothingness.

Summer has entirely too many distractions.

And also, I am kind of tired of being a student.

Bring on the fall semester. Let’s get this shit done.

Fatty McFatFat's Flatware

Fatty McFatFat’s Flatware

Obsessing Over…

To give just a glimpse into my ridiculously easy days right now, this is what I’m obsessing over at the moment:

The Naked Bee Orange Blossom Honey Hand & Body Lotion
The Naked BeeI would love to give you a link to this, well, because it is the bee’s knees, but it appears to only be sold by retailers and is not available or purchase directly from the company. I have eczema on my hand. Call it an occupational hazard that comes from years of harsh sanitizers, surgical scrubs for the NICU, and washing one’s hands a gazillion times a day. I have seen my family doctor and a dermatologist. I’ve tried prescriptions and over-the-counter lotions, creams, and cleansers. Some of these have been really expensive, too. Some have improved it a little, but none have really worked. So one day, having taken my lotion home from work (I usually buy a bottle to keep in my locker) to try on Zach, who also has bad eczema, I was kinda stuck. I had found this stuff the week before because a coworker was using it and it smelled so nice, prompting me to buy my own bottle in the hospital gift shop for $15.99 for an 8-ounce pump bottle.  So I tried it on my hand that one lotion-less night. Holy Cow! It worked. I’ve been using it ever since. All that is left of my eczema on my hand is a scar on my middle knuckle. If I don’t use this for a night of work, it comes back, So tonight, I couldn’t find Zach’s lotion (dye-free, unscented). If we do not slather him with lotion before putting his pajamas on, his whole body is red and itchy in the morning. So I took a chance and tried this on him. A couple of hours later, his skin is already looking better.

I googled the stuff and discovered they make a whole line of skincare products. Soaps, lotions, creams, hand sanitizers. Mind you, the stuff isn’t inexpensive, but if it works? Pshhh. So now I am going to desperately search for the body bar and hand sanitizer. I’m curious to see how it works.

Chipotle’s Adventurrito.
993926_10151685938204253_1600249411_nYep. I know, it’s cheesy. Well, here lately, with only enough cheese to taste. Ha! This is some clever marketing. I love Chipotle. And if I use a little restraint, John and I can eat here without feeling like we’ve wrecked our lives or clogged John’s newly-stented arteries. The beauty is that they give you enough food in one serving for 2 whole meals, so I either split my buttito bowl with Zach or save half for another meal. My bowl consists of chicken, fresh tomato salsa, corn salsa, romaine, brown rice, and just a teensy bit of cheese. If I’m feeling extra naughty, I’ll get a tortilla on the side and roll my own tiny burritos with it, as it is one huge tortilla. John, after the heart incident, gets a meatless bowl with 2 types of beans, brown rice, romaine, and all three of their salsas. No tortilla for him. So this meal, other than a veggie sub with no dressing at Subway, is the only quick-service meal he can eat.

So Chipotle is giving away free burritos? Hell, yes, I’m down with that. The grand prize is 20 years’ worth of free burritos (one per week, I am assuming). Other winners can win free burritos for one year. You are entered when you play the online game, whether you win or lose. To win the grand prize, you have to get all 20 of the puzzles correct. I think there might be a drawing or something for those people. These puzzles are little riddles posted online at 20:20. The 4 they have had so far have been kind of challenging. For example, the above picture is of their basket liner they are using for their anniversary, The answers to one of the riddles involved all of the integers on the liner. They didn’t tell you that, though. Instead, in the clue, they mentioned one should ponder it over a burrito or taco. Of course it was in the middle of the night and Chipotle was closed, but I happened to remember that they posted the above pic on their Facebook page, and Score! I got the puzzle correct. So now I am all geeked out over this little contest because, hey, Fatty loves her burritos!

Bailey’s Mudslide coffee creamer
0004410010766_500X500Because I realized the calorie content of my venti Mocha at the ‘Bucks. And I cannot give up on coffee. I tried the nonfat versions. I tried the soy. I tried every-damned-thing, including black coffee. I decided I am not grown up enough for black coffee. And so a splash of this. I can handle that. So long as I remember to log the calories in my little calorie counter app, I’m good. Thanks for keeping me sane, Bailey’s Creamer.

Barefoot Moscato

barefootmuscatosparklingI’m not even gonna talk about a bouquet or that other crap. I know nothing about wine, but I wanted to start learning. I’m sure that, at the whopping $13.00 I paid for the bottle of this wine, it is most definitely not high-brow. Yeah, whatevs. I mentioned to some of my wine-drinking coworkers that I wanted to learn to appreciate wine, and this was what was recommended to start with. Because though I am all women-power/ fight the patriarchy, I enjoy some good frou-frou sweet booze. And I was told this would fit the bill. And they were correct. The plan is to start here and get a little more sophisticated over time. With different wine types and vineyards.  I would like to be able to have conversations about it eventually. Because I have been elected to the board of directors for the association of women MBA’s at my university, and our introductory meeting is at a wine tasting in a few weeks. I’ve also been told that I would probably like Beringer and rieslings.  If this is your area of expertise, please leave any suggestions you may have for me.

Laughing Cow Smooth Sensations Cream Cheese Spread
Smooth_Sensations_Cream_Cheese_Spread_Classic_Cream_One_Third_Less_Fat

Ummmmm. I love this stuff. I love that there are only 45 calories in a wedge and a whole english muffin (whole wheat, thanks) only takes me about half a wedge. The same can be said for a whole wheat frozen waffle, toasted with this and a little organic strawberry preserves–tastes delicious and only 100 calories total. I love that it travels well, so I can easily pack it for lunches or snacks at work or for trips to the park with my offspring. I love that it comes in a gazillion flavors, though I haven’t tried them yet. Hey Laughing Cow people, if you would like more free marketing, feel free to send me some free stuff and I will be glad to offer up my opinion of your fabulous products. Wink, wink. Because I am a struggling grad student and I am currently slathering this stuff on everything.

“Whodunnit” on ABC

Whodunnit_ABCI cannot look away when this show is on. Part Survivor, part Big Brother, part Clue (yeah, the Milton Bradley board game–the old version, not the new-fangled stupid stuff). Because in my mind, I am playing along, trying to guess, getting aggravated when the contestants can’t get it right.

If you haven’t watched the show, it is like a murder mystery. They get clues. Each week, another guest gets the ax, and the remaining guests have to use clues to determine how it happened. The “killer” is among them. The more wrong/ less correct they are, the more at risk they are to be the next “victim”. Some of them have resorted to tears in fear, leaving me to wonder if they are really that dumb and think ABC is going to have them murdered on set on national network television. But still, it’s entertaining, and I am all about that these days when I have no class to worry about. Even soon-to-be MBA’s don’t want to think about marketing or finance or accounting all of the time.

Devou Park Backcountry Trails- Covington, KY

devouAbout a 2-song drive from my house (it’s that close that I have no idea how many miles or minutes–I can listen to two normal-length songs!). Pack a little cooler bag of water. Some yoga pants and good shoes. All-terrain stroller in the back of the SUV. Off we go. The way the trail is designed, we can hike/ speed-walk as much or as little as we want. It’s peaceful. It’s cleansing. You can pass anyone from the elderly out getting their exercise, to young families, to serious athletes out for a trail run or bike. When it is raining, or has recently rained, the trails are closed for their own preservation, but at the same park, there is a lovely paved trail as well. We’ve walked in a light rain before, on the paved trail, only turning back when it turned into a thunderstorm. We have had days where it was too hot and we had to stop halfway find a spot to relax in the shade. We also park next to one of the playgrounds so Zach can get some playtime in before we head home. I have pulled a muscle somehow and this have been resting this week, and so I miss this. We had been going everyday, walking briskly enough to work up a sweat. Love it.

So that’s my life right now. Or a little bit of it, anyway. Until next time.

If It Weren’t For Nuns, My Child Would Starve

IF YOU CAN’T TOLERATE THE F-BOMB, JUST FUCKING MOVE ALONG ON THIS ONE.

As if we didn’t have enough drama in this house…

It doesn’t matter what I do. I send Evan in with lunch money to be put on his account. Or I can pack his lunch. Whatever. We still get cafeteria bills. In general, it costs about $100 per month to feed Evan school lunches. Remember when we were kids and it took like 75 cents per day? And an extra quarter got you an extra helping on pizza day? Those days are gone. They went bye-bye along with the little rubber squeezy change holders that held your lunch money daily. Now my kid has a name badge thay he swipes like a debit card, and we have to add money to it.

Sometimes, in the craziness that is my household, I forget. And sometimes I don’t. Regardless, we get the bill.

Two days ago, we got hate mail from the cafeteria lady. Evan has a bill. Again. And it needs to be paid. So I went to get money out and discovered that instead of deducting my normal monthly car insurance premium, Geico took enough to cover the entire policy. Oops. When I renewed, I forget to opt for the monthly payments. My fault. But oh, shit, we have no money! So I tried to call the cafeteria lady and got no answer. Since I had no cash, and Evan has to have lunch, I sent him in with enough to cover one day’s worth. There! Evan gets lunch until my payroll hit this morning.

Yesterday, when Evan returned from school, he had more hatemail. Another copy of his bill, and in black marker and block letters at the bottom, the cafeteria lady basically stated that I am the scumofthefuckingearth and sending Evan in with enough to cover one lunch was NOT ACCEPTABLE–her emphasis, not mine–and that we owed a bill. Again, we tried to call and got no answer.

This morning, I sent Evan to school as normal. I told him to let them know that we would go to an ATM and bring money in for his cafeteria bill and to tell whoever this information. John overslept and didn’t have time to stop at an ATM on the way, so he would have to bring the money back to the school. So what happened?

My kid calls me, crying, from the office. “Mommy, they said you have to bring me a sandwich or s-s-s-s-something for lunch, that I cannot go h-h-h-h-hungry. I told them what you told me to tell them, but they still made me call you!”

To which my response was to make Evan put an adult on the damned phone. Basically, the nun that answered told me that they are concerned for Evan, that he has to eat and how did I plan on feeding him. Blah blah blah. How their only concern was Evan.

Are you serious? MY  only concern is Evan. I will ensure that he eats. We are bringing in money, for God’s sake. We are not trying to starve our kid. His bill is thirteen fucking dollars and we are acting like it is a federal crisis and poor Evan is going to go hungry and never eat again. And for the record, I would have packed Evan a lunch today and just sent the money in with Evan tomorrow, but I was out of fucking bread for a God-forsaken PB&J and Evan refused an Uncrustable in place of his fucking PB&J-with-the-fucking-crusts-cut-off. So ta-daaaaa. You have to wait for me to get one of us to an ATM. And while we on the topic of my failure to feed my kid, John would have had time to stop at an ATM before school had Evan not nibbled on his breakfast, insisting on eating one fucking Cheerio at a time, citing that too big a bite is a fucking choking hazard. What 10-year-old speaks of choking hazards, anyway? Mine, that’s who!

Maybe I should just revert to my passive aggressive bitchiness and really prove my point. I wonder if that five-star place around the corner caters school lunches!?!? Better yet, how would the nuns react to the waiter showing up with a silver platter and tucking the linen napkin neatly onto Evan’s lap for him?

Sauced Memories

Nothing brings back memories of my mother like this picture. Mom was…well, just Mom. Like me, only a little softer around the edges. And scented with Anaiis like I rock out Versace Bright Crystal.

Every single year for Thanksgiving, all of my grown siblings and their gaggles of children would flood our house. Mom could cook. Her specialty, which she swore was no big deal, was her homemade lasagna. Somehow, over the years wihout her here, I have learned to make her lasagna. But anyway, Thanksgiving dinner…

Mom would have been slaving away in the kitchen, even in the years she was really sick, for days. It started with her having to take breaks. Then there was the grren-blue line of oxygen tubing stretching across the kitchen floor from her oygen concentrator, which was too large and heavy to be moved. Then we got to the point where she had to sit at the table and have me bring her stuff to peel, dice, slice, season. But still she insisted on the elaborate holiday meal, made completely from scratch. But there was one thing she would not make. Ever.

Cranberry sauce.

Nobody in my family liked it or even ate it just to be polite. But apparently it is required of Thanksgiving dinner. It simply had to be there on the table. So every year I can remember, Mom would buy the canned cranberry sauce that comes out in a gelatinous mold with the rings of the cans still tattooed on it. I know now that most people who cheat and use the canned stuff will at least slice or chop it so it is no longer in can-formation. But this is my mother we’re talking about. And by the time she had finished making yeast rolls from scratch, roasting the turkey, cooking the sweet potatoes/ mashed potatoes/ veggies/ homemade stuffing/ gravy/ from-scratch pumpkin pies (not even canned pumpkin in her recipes–she used the real thing), she really didn’t give a damn about something nobody ate. But yet it had to be there.

So she would get a standard cereal bowl–most likely Tupperware–and just thunk the can, upside down, into the bowl as the “sauce” slithered out. And rings and all, she would put it on the table amidst all of the dishes she would prepare from scratch, all artfully displayed. It was like the bastard child of the Thanksgiving meal, that ugly plastic bowl with the can-shaped mold. But it was there, per tradition.

The last Thanksgiving she was here, she forgot the sauce. And though I have never seen anyone so much as take a spoonful from the monstrosity, she fretted over its absence. Finally, one of my brothers-in-law went to the store and bought it so she could rest easy.

Most Thanksgivings, we go to John’s mom’s. She can cook, too. Her food is delicious, made from recipes passed down from her mother. But it has never been the same. And each year, I miss my mom. I keep waiting for the time that the memories fade and missing her isn’t so palpable. Somehow, that time never comes. I wish John could have met her. His mom makes homemade cranberry salad. He laughed when I told him the story of the canned sauce. Each year, as the cans take their prominent place on grocery store shelves for the holidays, he asks me to repeat the story for him, and he laughs like it is the first time hearing it. He would have loved her.

I could take or leave Thanksgiving dinner. It has never, ever had the same appeal for me since Mom’s death.

There’s more missing from the holiday than a Tupperware bowl with a can-shaped mold in it.

Why Do They Make It So Hard?

So the latest news in the Bitchypants household is The Diet Felt ‘Round the World.

It started with a convo between the hubster and I. About how we are currently fat-assed and desire to be skinny-assed. We feel like, since we put the goal of being there to see our children get married and have babies back by about 8 years when we had Zachary, we need to live longer. And being fat-assed, we are not as likely to be able to do this. So we decided that we are going to do this, damnit. And so we schemed and planned. We figured out a weekly menu, and we made a grocery list and went to the store with said list.

And we spent $360 compared to the normal $150-$200 we normally spend. We didn’t even get any frozen pizzas! No Hot Pockets. No (gasp!) Diet Mt. Dew. Really. Why in the helll are apples and green shit so damned expensive? And then they have a shelf life of about 5 hours. No wonder, America! No wonder we are all fat and childhood obesity is at epidemic status. It isn’t the fries in Happy Meals. It’s the fucking price of the Happy Meals. A grilled chicken sandwich is one of the healthiest on the menu at McDonald’s, but John and I could eat one each for the cost it would be to feed the whole damned family. And poor people can’t afford this crap. All the poor kids are getting is Cheetos and chicken nuggets and hot dogs because it costs too damned much to feed them anything else. On a side note, maybe this is the approach to get Evan to eat more healthful foods: healthful, wholesome foods as a status symbol that the poor kids can’t afford! (yeah, I’m going straight to hell for that one!)

So anyway, we were in the living room and I was writing a paper on the laptop on the sofa while John watched some goofy stuff on tv. And we decided we were starving. We tried so hard. I tried a protein bar, and John ate some fruit or something. And then I checked my damned email. Shit. Turns out that when you order pizza, you get points. And when you get enough points, you get a free pizza. And since A) we eat entirely too much pizza–I mean we used to–, and B) I didn’t know this existed, I had enough points for 10 pizzas. Really.

.I mean, you can’t waste free pizza, can you? It’s kind of a slap in the face to the starving children in third world countries or something. So we ordered a pizza. We were kind of behaving a little because we didn’t order soda. No wings, no breadsticks, no garlic butter/ fat mixture to dip the pizza crust. Just a pie.

And it arrived before we knew what was happening. We didn’t even have the opportunity to feel remorse for reverting to our fat-assed ways. And I opened that box and smelled the pepperoni goodness of its contents.

We ate the shit out of that pizza and then hid the damned evidence as if we had murdered someone here in the living room. Oh my God, we didn’t even bother to get plates from the cupboard. We just ate it. Ate it ALL! And then John ran the box to the garbage can outside so we wouldn’t have to stare at it. I seriously felt like a crack ‘ho getting her fix. It was that bad.

Tomorrow we are getting back on the wagon. And I am going to get out that all-terrain stroller I paid a small fortune for, and I am going to repent for my sins.

But seriously. Why? Why does our culture have to make it so damned hard????

She may not be eating pizza, but she's way classier than me--she has a plate and fork.