To blog, that is.  Hellooooo, my homeslices!  I didn’t think I would ever make it back to Glitter & Bruises, but sure enough–here I am.  It’s been an interesting week, with an anniversary, some wintry weather, and some Christmas fun.  Oh, and a power outage–which totally worked in my favor.

So this past Sunday, Ron and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary.  If we followed tradition, we’d be exchanging gifts of candy or iron.  He actually brings me iron every night, in a neat little package of prescription pills and supplements I take before I even get out of bed in the morning.  Sooooo…I guess I dropped the ball on gift giving this year, but as I’ve been saying for far too long now….”we po’.”

Maybe next year.  Maybe next year…

I can’t say I was overly thrilled about our anniversary.  When we got married, we decided to save some money by skipping a honeymoon cruise in December and instead sail away somewhere in May, after I was done teaching for the year.  I got pregnant right away, so we bought a house instead.

I figured we’d do something nice on our anniversary.  Or…..probably our 5th anniversary, since we’d have an infant by our first anniversary.  Maybe by Year #5 we’d afford a nice postponed honeymoon.  Nope.

Soooo…here we are, Anniversary #6 and unemployed (yeah, I’m not calling it funemployment anymore because even I can’t psyche myself out over how depressing our life is at this point).  Maybe we should have been totally irresponsible and spent all our money on an extravagant vacation back in 2008 instead of sinking it into a roof over our son-on-the-way’s head.  A modest townhouse in a great school district.

What the hell were we thinking?  We should’ve toured Europe, obvi.  At least then we’d have fabulous pictures to show off when we’re homeless.  Sadly, if a job doesn’t come around soon, we’ll be destined for the street WITHOUT fabulous honeymoon pictures.

I spent a week in Tijuana without electricity once.  I might LOOK frou-frou but I can survive on the street.  It’s Ron I’m worried about.

Soooo, anyway.  I wasn’t thrilled about our anniversary because it was just a reminder that we’re not better off now than before.  We’re not even at the same level as our newlywed days.  Nothing deflates the ego more than that voice inside that whispers, “Um, you know you were doing way better for yourself when you were 26…27?  Now you’re 33 and your life is shit.  How does that make you feel?  Like a mature, responsible adult?  Hahahahahahaha!  You’re NOTHING!  Joke’s on you, bitch!”

We knew we couldn’t afford a fancy dinner out, so we opted to go to Oregon Dairy instead, for their amazing breakfast buffet.  And when I say “breakfast buffet,”  I really mean “just the amazeballs hash brown casserole.”  I was craving it soooooo bad after last Thursday’s titillating experience in the shower.

Oregon Dairy

Here we go…to Oregon Dairy!

Hash Brown Casserole

Hash Brown Casserole FOR DAYSSSSSSSSSS

We were going to head into Lancaster City for some holiday fun and festivities, but a wonderful thing happened while we were inside Oregon Dairy.  It…started…to…snow.

So obviously we had to scrap all our plans and head home and not put ourselves at risk of being tempted to visit fabulous downtown shops and spend money on fabulous hipster things that we-cannot-afford-right-now.

Basically, what the Universe was saying was, “Go home.  Save your money.  And don’t feel bad that you didn’t have a “real” anniversary celebration because you got snowed in, and you couldn’t have a “real” anniversary celebration even if you wanted to.  So don’t worry–no one is looking at you like, Wow, they’re lame and stupid and poor, because the fact of the matter is YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ANYWAY.  I’m MAKING IT SNOW ALL OVER LANCASTER.  YOU’RE WELCOME.”

It was a relief.  I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does.  We couldn’t do anything for our anniversary except stay home and be snowed in, which is all we could afford to do, anyway.

But first, we had to stop and look at the deer.  I really think one of them was a real reindeer.  Ron says no.  I told Gabriel they were all reindeer, but they hadn’t gotten their antlers yet, so they weren’t quite ready for Christmas Eve sleigh-flying just yet.  BOOM.

There's Blitzen without his antlers yet.  Not really sure what he's waiting for...

There’s Blitzen without his antlers yet. Not really sure what he’s waiting for…

On the way home we popped into Giant to pick up bread, milk, and whipped cream (um, not for our anniversary).

I discovered Glitter Icing.  I didn't buy it, because I hate decorating baked goods.  But I had to pose with it.

I discovered Glitter Icing. I didn’t buy it, because I hate decorating baked goods. But I had to pose with it.

(Hey, let me just point out the obvious–my fingertips are red because I was touching my lips, forgot I was wearing Lip Tar, and also didn’t know we were stopping at the store.  I actually had Lip Tar smeared across the lower half of my face–not sure if you can tell…LOL)

I also really wanted these Wee-Wee Diapers because I'm a sucker for animals in diapers and the word "wee-wee."

I also really wanted these Wee-Wee Diapers because I’m a sucker for animals in diapers and the word “wee-wee.”

That is some serious dog-shaming right there.

Oh, so it snowed and iced a bit and we had a relaxing, no-spending-money anniversary at home…..not because we’re poor, but because the weather made us stay in.  (THANK YOU, UNIVERSE.  I don’t feel so shitty about my life now.)

Fast forward to Tuesday, where we had more snow and a school cancellation!  I shoveled the driveway and cleaned off the cars while Gabriel played with our new-ish neighbor girl.  Then we built a ……snowhead.

The snow didn't pack very well...this was the best I could do.  Also, I've never successfully built a snowperson.

The snow didn’t pack very well…this was the best I could do. Also, I’ve never successfully built a snow person.

Ron had some business to attend to in New Jersey on Wednesday, so Gabriel and I made a lovely Hershey Kiss tree, which…to be honest, he wasn’t overly excited about.  BUT…I helped my Yiayia make one of these Hershey Kiss trees every Christmas, every year back in the 80s.  It’s tradition.

It’s simple, really.  All you need is a styrofoam cone, some toothpicks, and 2 or more bags of Hershey’s Kisses.  (Two was enough for this cone).

Cut the toothpicks in half, and stick them in the Hershey's Kisses.

Cut the toothpicks in half, and stick them in the Hershey’s Kisses.

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And then you just stick them in the styrofoam cone.

Extinction Happens.

Extinction Happens.

Merry KISSmas!

Merry KISSmas!

My sister saw it the next day and immediately said, “YIAYIA used to do that every year!”  See….it really is tradition.

I made a bangin’ crockpot dinner that night (recipe to be posted soon!) and I learned about what really grosses Gabriel out.  “Crocodile guts, eyebrows, and bumbilical cords.”

Damn, that kid cracks me up.

Thursday!  Oh what a day!  I had another crockpot dinner going and I felt on top of the world!  I was going to sit down and blog while dinner slow-cooked all afternoon and I was psyched about being prepared, being able to get some work done, AND sit down to a hot meal.

And then the power went out.  And like two forever-poor people, Ron and I looked at each other and ran to the front door, expecting PP&L to be outside.  Ron was muttering, “I just paid them!” and I was half laughing and half thinking, “MY LIFE SUCKS, OMG, WTF.

Turns out it was a neighborhood power outage.  More than that, really…it affected my mom’s house and even took out the power at the local Weis Markets a few miles away.  IT WASN’T US.  HALLELOO.

Estimated restoration time was 4:30 PM, AND…..we had actually planned on going to see Santa after dinner, but we changed the plan.  Ron took Gabriel up to Outdoor World (Bass Pro Shops) and I….was coming down with the case of the early-stages-of-premenstrual-sleepies so I decided to rest all afternoon, and….wouldn’t you know it?  The power came back on about 10 minutes after they left, so my crockpot dinner was saved AND I had an afternoon to myself.

Until my beautiful niece Lydia came over and we made Rolo Ritz crackers (recipe is HERE).  And that was lovely because it’s always fun to do something with an enthusiastic little girl.  Lydia is not your typical seven year old.  She’s my “Lydia Gaga” because baby, she was born that way.  Unique, fabulous, hilarious…just like ME.  And go figure–I baptized her too.  My sister might be her biological mother, but the SPIRITUAL APPLE DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE SPIRITUAL TREE, if you know what I mean.

True Sister-To-Sister Text

True Sister-To-Sister Text

Friday was nice.  Stauffers of Kissel Hill had a live reindeer, so we bundled up to go see it.

Honestly?  The reindeer looked humiliated to be there.

Honestly? The reindeer looked humiliated to be there.

Did you know you shouldn’t touch a reindeer on the face?  The woman said that’s how polar bears attack them.  The people in line in front of us tried to touch the reindeer’s face and he got fussy.  They also tried to hug him and he got fussy.  Apparently they love to be petted, but not hugged or mauled.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you cross paths with a reindeer.

Santa Claus was also at SKH, so we waited in a short line to see him.  While we were waiting, we played “Let’s Guess What Each Kid Is Asking For.”

Um Santa?  I want longer pants.

Um Santa? I want longer pants.

(I have no idea who that is…but oh, we laughed.)

Gabriel asked this Santa for a Wild Kratts playset, which--to my knowledge--does not exist.  "That's OK," my son reassures me.  "Santa can make it."  (Um, fuck.)

Gabriel asked this Santa for a Wild Kratts playset, which–to my knowledge–does not exist. “That’s OK,” my son reassures me. “Santa can make it.” (Um, fuck.)

And then it was on to the glorious Stauffers of Kissel Hill Christmas Shop, with gloriously overpriced (but BEAUTIFUL) Christmas decor, tsotchkes, and knick-knackery.

Oh, and cacti.  Cacti for DAYS.

I CHOOSE YOU.  You look so familiar.  Have we met before?  Oh, you get that a lot?  Well they say everyone has a twin somewhere in the world.  My name is Sophia, by the way...it's a PLEASURE to meet you.

I CHOOSE YOU. You look so familiar. Have we met before? Oh, you get that a lot? Well they say everyone has a twin somewhere in the world. My name is Sophia, by the way…it’s a PLEASURE to meet you.

I LOVE THE CHRISTMAS SHOP!  It makes me feel merry.  Plus, there’s the $500 deer my son fancied when he was three years old.  We didn’t make it to see the deer last year, so it was especially important to visit this year.

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When he was 3 (on the left), he saw this deer and fell in love with it. This Deer Ass-Hug moment has become kind of a warm-fuzzy Christmas memory. Plus, it’s kind of like a growth chart. I can’t wait till he’s like, 16, and I’m like “Come on, just hug the deer ass! I want to see how much you’ve grown!”

We were leaving the Christmas Shop and about to head over to the Stauffer’s grocery store (because more snow was on the way!) and something really sad happened.  And it made me really sad that I’m poor.

As we were getting into the car, we saw a mom and dad and a little boy about Gabriel’s age…they were headed back to their car.  The boy was crying and saying, “I wanted that tree!  I wanted that tree!”

They were leaving without a tree.

Maybe, just maybe…they already had a tree.  And maybe that little boy was ultra-spoiled and wanted another tree, and his parents were like, “Um…no.”

It really didn’t seem that way.  At all.  It definitely appeared as though they arrived with the intention of buying a Christmas tree…but didn’t.

My heart…broke.  I wanted to buy that little boy a tree.  SO BAD.

How am I going to buy that little boy a tree when I have a mortgage payment in 2.5 weeks?  And we have no jobs?  How am I supposed to buy that little boy a tree when I just ran out of my house the day before, to see if PP&L was outside when the power went out?

I need to be rich.  I would be a really good person if I was rich.  I would have a nice car and a nice house, but I would also buy people Christmas trees.  Or go to Kmart and pay off people’s layaway.  Or hide money in surprise places for unsuspecting people to find.  I would help people pay for their groceries.

If I was rich, I would do everything I could to spread some Christmas cheer to people who are exactly in the same situation as Ron and I are in right now…just a coupla’ kids who got a raw deal this year.  Just two people who are trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.

What happened to us could’ve happened to any other family out there.  And there are so many other families who are working their way out of their own unfortunate, unexpected circumstances.  We’re not unique….in fact, our story is far too common.

At that moment, though…I wished, so hard, that I could’ve helped them.

Maybe next year, things will be different.  Well…not maybe.  Things will be different next year, that’s a guarantee.  Will things be better….or worse?  That remains to be seen.

So…after that sobering moment, we headed off to the grocery part of Stauffer’s (like the rest of Lancaster County) to pick up some snowed-in essentials.

Whenever I go to Stauffer’s, I like to walk through the stinky cheese aisle, which is that little aisle that has the Mediterranean cheeses and meats on one side and the olive bar on the other side.  HOT DAMN, does that section smell AMAZING or what?!?!  I’m serious!  It must be my hot Greek blood.  I always walk through that aisle, even if I don’t need anything.

IT SMELLS LIKE THE MOTHERLAND!

IT SMELLS LIKE THE MOTHERLAND!

I actually did need something in the stinky cheese aisle.  I needed parmesan cheese, and…since I wasn’t exactly in a hurry, I took my time looking for the perfect wedge.

When I found it, I turned to put it in the cart, and I noticed there was already a wedge of cheese in there.  I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer about the grocery budget, but…I said to Ron, “Did you need cheese, too?”  He said, “Uh, I…didn’t get any cheese.”

I picked up the wedge of cheese (asiago) and looked at him and thought, “Um, if he wants asiago, why doesn’t he just say so?  Instead of pretending like he has no idea how a wedge of asiago got into the cart?”  I like asiago, anyway, so….whatever.

Then I noticed ANOTHER wedge of cheese in the cart.  I picked it up…it was another wedge of asiago.  It was tucked alongside some lettuce and apples, almost like it was hidden.  I looked at him and said, “Um–really?  Isn’t this your cheese too?”

(Seriously–I wasn’t annoyed about the asiago, I was just sort of weirded out that he was being so slick about the cheese…LOL)

He said, “That’s not my cheese, either!”

Then Gabriel piped up, “That’s mine.”

“What?  G, did you put these in the cart?”

“Yeah.  I was helping you pick out some stinky cheese.”

My kid has never done that before.  Never just started adding random things to the cart.  It was so freakin’ funny!  It would make sense if he grabbed chocolate pudding or junky cereal, but….he chose asiago cheese wedges.  Two of them.  I’m like…strangely proud of that kid.

Gabriel, and approximately $12 worth of asiago cheese he picked out for me.

Gabriel, and approximately $12 worth of asiago cheese he picked out for me.

We didn’t buy the asiago cheese, but maybe next year…  Maybe next year we can help someone afford a Christmas tree *AND* splurge on asiago.  That’s *my* Christmas wish.  🙂