Peanut Butter Again

I know the major brands of jarred peanut butter are not on the recall list. I still have this “thing” about buying them, rational or not. I really wanted peanut butter again, though.  My solution for now is to buy Eastwind Peanut Butter. It’s produced and processed organically and not too far down the road from me. 

Ideally, this type of food would make up the bulk of my grocery purchases.  In the real world, I have house payments and braces to buy for one of my kids.  It’s a dilemma.  I want to buy local/organic and pay workers what they’re worth.  What I can afford is often something else.  It’s not because I’d have to give up the trip to the Bahamas.  I already don’t have that; I’ve taken one vacation in the last five years. 

I do what I can. In the summer we have a small garden. At the store, I buy a few expensive grocery items for the health and environmental factors and most of the rest consists of store brands for the financial factor. I’m guessing a lot of people do the same.  It depends on which items are priority.  Peanut butter had been a store brand thing. Now I’ve added it in the column with the local bgh-free milk and the free range eggs.  

It does feel good to know my family and I are eating healthier foods. So long as I can keep us out from under the bridge, I’ll try be grateful for the availability and not complain too much about the cost.

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The Meaning of Life – Updated

Update:  Tracfone has responded to my e-mail, and I have to give them credit for quick answering. The issue, as they explain it, is two different double minutes plans, one for life and one for one year.  They believe I purchased the one year double minutes plan and I was sure I purchased double minutes for life (since I didn’t even know the other was an option.) Unfortunately I can’t find any documentation from when I bought it.  I’m pretty sure it was in an e-mail, which I lost a lot of upon switching computers. I do remember my husband and I both purchased double minutes at the same time and having much discussion beforehand about whether to spend the money, and clearly remember we believed we were purchasing double minutes for life.  It’s completely out of character for me to have spent so much money only for one year. I also remember my husband dropping his phone in a lake and then being informed his double minutes were only for the life of the original phone (my understanding) and not the life of him having *a* phone from them. Of course, me saying “I seem to remember…” is a far cry from having saved the receipt.  So if there’s a lesson in this, it’s the importance of saving receipts. 

Having looked at other cell phone plans, Tracfone is still the best option for me. I don’t use my phone that often.  I have it in case the school needs to reach me if one of my children is ill, or if my car breaks down.  Being able to purchase the minutes in advance and not worry about a monthly bill works for me.  I think I’ll pass on the double minutes card for now, though. Apparently, one of us – it could be either – has a history of doing that part wrong.

**

 

I discovered the meaning of life today.  It is one year.  Tracfone (you know, the cell phone company) explained it to me via e-mail.  When I bought double minutes for life, that was good for one year. If I want double minutes again this year I’m supposed to buy a second double minutes airtime card, for my second life presumedly. I don’t know if I’m required to create an avatar to use it.

I’m a bit stubborn about holding onto my first life, however, so I haven’t let the matter drop.  Here is the text of my response to their response:

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I thought that double minutes for life would mean the life of the phone, at least. If I had realized “life” was so fleeting, I would have adopted a Carpe Diem attitude and spent the money elsewhere. Please advise me where life is defined as one year in your fine print. 

I look forward to hearing back from you about a resolution of this issue within this lifetime.  In this case, lifetime means the next week.

Regards,

Harumph!

 

In praise of unstructured being

Haven’t gotten much writing done lately. A cold has been working it’s way through the family, so lots of having the kids home from school. I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity to enjoy having some time with them, though the proliferation of snotty tissues detracts a bit. As soon as both kids were well again, school let out for a teacher work day. I’m off work from my steady paycheck job on Fridays, and I usually try to get in at least a morning worth of writing.  But again, I decided my kids won’t be around forever. They’re 13 & 10 right now, and the older one especially is gravitating more toward friends than parents. But yesterday, I had them to myself.

Besides, the weather did a turn-around.  Tuesday’s overnight low was around 6 degrees F.  Friday’s daytime high was around 67 degrees F. The 10-year-old needed a haircut. Since the salon we used is next door to a sandwich place, I decided we should pick up some lunch there.  My daughter (the teenager) suggested taking our food to a park for a picnic.  It was at this point that I realized how easy I am. All it took for me to swoon with joy was finding out she still wanted to do such a thing with her family.  

It was one of the happiest afternoons I’ve had in a while, a day at the park with the kids. We had no pressure, no agenda, no school or other activity for which we had to rush off, no goals to accomplish, nothing to do except enjoy the weather and be with each other.  We ended up at a creek that was still thick with inches of ice, despite the warm day. It doesn’t get a lot of sun, so the thaw was slow. The three of us spent a good hour sliding rocks and sticks on the ice, then throwing rocks to see if they’d break the ice, and occasionally examining rocks for fossils. 

Did this activity educate us in some way? Don’t know.  Did it improve their chances for future employment? Probably not. Was it worth the time we spent on it?  Absolutely. At the end of the day, I was in a better mood than I have been for ages. The evidence shows the kids were, as well. 

My favorite memories of family time all involve unstructured, unplanned, informal hours  of doing not much more than hanging out. We all recall with fondness a night we set up an indoor tent using bed sheets tied to furniture, then took turns sitting in it while other family members made designs on the top with glow sticks. I can’t remember who first thought of doing it. It’s not something you’d find in a magazine article about enrichment activities for your child. It’s the kind of thing that can only happen spontaneously. 

Sometimes I think we tend to get so scheduled and so concerned with development or enrichment or improvement or whatever that we don’t leave ourselves time just to be. But it’s okay sometimes not to be able to give a list of accomplishments for the day.  Sometimes it’s okay, and even preferable simply to hang out, to spend some time enjoying our existence.