Archive for March, 2010

My son just harvested his first head of cabbage.


So we made baked egg rolls.


My coupons made the carrots and lean meat cheap and the soy sauce free.  The cabbage came from the garden.  The fresh ginger was from a discount grocery store.

Who says that a family must choose eating cheaply or healthfully?  :)

When people say, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” with a self-assured expression, they must not realize that the world of education sees them as people who lack the ability to communicate effectively.  With the poor economy, an elementary school administrator was inundated with résumés, mostly from people who lost their other jobs.  So, if the “doing” doesn’t work out, teaching is the default career?  Education isn’t interested in the crummy leftovers of the “doers.”  Education looks for good communicators.

“Those who are capable at best, do.  Those who have a vast understanding and are exceptionally articulate teach.”  There.  That’s my version of a revised quote.

“Courtney, you have a master’s degree.  Wouldn’t it be better for your family if you got a full-time job?”  No, not really.  I am more valuable (monetarily and otherwise) to my family when my primary job is homemaker.

Arithmetic (and a tiny bit of algebra) to follow…

Daycare Rates:

Infant for a week: $155

Toddler for a week: $145

After school for a kindergartner:  $62

Formula for that infant would be about $40 a week.  Human milk is free, so formula for anyone else to be her care provider would create an additional cost.

$402/wk so far.  Then, using this daycare 48 weeks out of the year would cost $19,296 for the year.  That would come from net earnings.  Daycare would cost me $23,136.69 in gross earnings.

I probably wouldn’t work as a part time employee either (as an adjunct or as a lab instructor).  That’s approximately $11,500 that I wouldn’t make. (Frankly, I call being an adjunct math professor a time consuming hobby instead of a job.  My kindergartener can’t derive the quadratic formula yet.  So, I spend six hours a week with people to whom it is academically relevant.)

With my obsession with coupons, I can buy groceries for about $60/wk (by groceries, I’m including personal care like shampoo, diapers for 2 babies, etc.).  I’ve been getting approximately 75% off overall.  That other 75% is $180 that I’m saving each week.  $180 for 52 weeks is $9360/yr.  This is $11,223.02 from gross earnings.

So, the way I see it, I make the equivalent of almost $46,000/yr because I don’t have a full-time job.  However this way, I can pack my husband lunches that I either got for free or made from scratch.  My son’s kindergarten teachers have master’s degrees.

I’m not saying that I would never take a full-time job.  I’d have to become significantly less necessary at home and it would have to have an awesome base pay to be worth my time!

I have become a little obsessed with couponing.  My husband appreciates this obsession.  Not only does he have his hard earned dollars stretched to the max, but the extreme nature entertains him.  He found this to be highly entertaining.  Spent $.55, saved $30.17.  I win!Publix receipt Feb10_4

This is after I got these wipes for only $4.75 earlier in the week…


…and this two-year supply of detergent for $29 last week…


…to mingle with the ridiculous stockpile of detergent that I was paid $4.11 to take over the summer.


My stockpile space is full.

I’m weird.  This is not new information.  There are times when I recognize why social norms are what they are and I ought to change my way of thinking.  However, this is not one of those times.

When one family is the company of an other, why do all the women of both families file into kitchen and clean it?  I understand when all parties involved clear the table.  That has to do with the removal of clutter.  Washing dishes, however, has to do with the removal of germs and should not be a task given to guests.  When I invite guests over to entertain them, I do not expect them to wash dishes any more than I would expect them to scrub my toilets.

A common rebuttal is, “But women are so helpful.”  When I hear this with the buzzing of ladies busily working in the background, I envision another emerging from my laundry room saying, “I noticed that your dryer had completed it’s cycle, so I took out your husband’s skivvies.  Let me fold these and put these away for you.”

Furthermore, if you put away leftovers, you might notice that I didn’t clean out the fridge yet.  You see, I was getting ready for company.  I cooked dinner and cleaned my bathrooms and kept my children from messing it up.  I was busy.

“Well, it’s just polite.”  Why?  I asked my mother why this is a social norm.  She said, “When I was a child, whenever we went to my grandmother’s house, all the women cleaned up after dinner.  That’s just what we did.  That’s what we were supposed to do.”  Her grandmother didn’t have a dishwasher.  I do.  Her grandmother spent all day every day cooking everything from scratch for her family and six farm hands.  If anyone intended to see her grandmother, they ought to go to the kitchen.  I have not spent my day in a kitchen.  I am either in a classroom or I do my normal house cleaning during the day.  If I am going to have a lot of company over, I start cooking at 3 if company’s coming at 6.  After dinner is over, I have hostess things to attend to.  I don’t want to be in a kitchen instructing my guests.  I want to be in the living room entertaining them.

I protest that the social norm is an antiquated ritual.

I feel about kitchen duty the way that Jesus spoke of fasting.  The Pharisees asked him why His disciples did not fast. 34And Jesus said to them, ”Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” (Luke 5)  I will clean my kitchen when I’m not in party mode.

This works both ways too.  To pick one story (I have fistful of them), one Thanksgiving, my husband and I arrived at extended family’s house long after the meal was over.  We integrated into the collection of cousins and began telling stories and making merry.  After a few minutes, my husband’s mother leaned over between a cousin and me and informed us that we were so rude not to do the dishes.  She and I, assuming that the comment was directed at us because we were the closest, obliged politely. It was when the five male cousins were invited to watch football that re realized that we were selected because of the absence of Y chromosomes.  By the way, we were not going aid a slew of kitchen workers.  The rest of the slew was eating a second dessert and playing games.

In conclusion, if I invite you to my house, feel free to pile dishes in the sink if you must, but I’d rather serve you coffee and share stories than have you clean my kitchen. If I come to your house and you want me to wash dishes, invite me into your kitchen for such a purpose.  I probably won’t think to do it on my own. Maybe afterwards, you can have me clean your air conditioner ducts.  I did breathe your air, of course.