Thursday, May 27, 2010

Single Friends

Are you married or in a committed relationship? How many close single friends do you have?

Single people; do you have close friends who are married?

It’s 1991. My friend Renee and I are both single. We talk freely on the phone with no time limitation. And about once a month, we get together to hang out. We even fly south to one of the islands for a vacation.

Two years later…I began to seriously date G. He’s in another city and I don’t see him every weekend, but still, “hanging out” has lost its appeal. Renee and I keep the phone conversations going, but she begins to sense that it isn’t the same.

I get married. Renee and I maintain our friendship, now spanning two states, but the calls are decreasing…a lot.

Then, she gets married!

The calls pick up – a little – because we have “the marriage thing” in common.

It’s a few years later. She gets divorced. Her time is “all” hers again.

But now I have three children!

I also have several new friends from play group, piano lessons, church, the elementary school, etc. My phone time is all but gone.

Renee and I are down to talking once or twice a year.

In one of our conversations, she says something I’ll always remember. “You’re married with children. Married people just don’t have much time for their single friends. It’s okay; your life is different now.”

What can I say? She’s right. It’s not intentional though.

So, single friends – I thank you for caring about me and keeping our friendship alive via your initiated phone calls and emails. I feel awkward for not calling you much. Just keep in mind that my children will not always be children, and my husband is okay with a “girls” outing – the time will come…or will it?

How do you maintain friendships with single people?

Or, if you’re single, how do you maintain friendships with married people or people in committed relationships?

Have you read the previous post titled Money? It includes some "very good" comments from the followers and readers on how they handle the income of their household - some one income families; others, two or more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The husband is employed. The wife is not. The pay check has his name on it. Is the money his, hers, or theirs?

The latest celebrity couple break-up that may end up in divorce court reminded me of an Oprah show I saw years ago. The socialite wife was defending her reasons for asking for a substantial amount of alimony from her wealthy, soon-to-be ex-husband.

While married, she’d spent much of her life managing his. Their social calendar was full; events to attend, parties to host, volunteering, and fund-raising. She also needed to spend time keeping in shape and staying attractive, i.e. spas, gyms, and shopping. And, their home needed to reflect his position, so she hired decorators, cleaning help, and caterers. She managed it all.

Most of the women in the audience thought she was spoiled and greedy for expecting a sizable divorce settlement – because the money was “his.”

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, and often being in the company of other stay-at-home moms, I’ve gotten some general pictures of how various couples handle the money.

A few examples (in no particular order) of what different wives/moms have said:

- I pay the bills.

- He pays the bills.

- I’m glad I’m home to get the checks in the mail from his business, because we’d be broke if he gets to cash them.

- He works. It’s his money. He deserves a new car.

- I need to ask my husband if I can buy that.

- I don’t work, so I don’t want to spend too much on myself.

- I’m stressed. I think I’ll go shopping!

- He puts what I need in my account, and if I need more, I’ll tell him to put more in it.

Fortunately, my husband and I agree on most money issues, and the check with his name on it, is deposited into “our” account. I don’t “ask” for money; I’m a little too old for that.

I digress.

The money does not feel like it’s his or mine – just feels like it’s there to take are of ourselves, our home, our children, and our future.

A few years ago, I read a book titled, The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts. She advocated jobs and careers for women; that skills should not be lost. She also warned that women should not be caught without an income if the husband should leave or die.

While reading it, I was reasonably open-minded and objective – to see her point – and I did see some of it. But did it make me want to change my life; to get an income paying job and be a “working mom” example for my daughters? (I think she touched on that, too.)

No, not yet.

Did it make me afraid?


Without going into personal details, I’ll just say that a few things are “in place” in the case of Husband and me not living out our golden years together.

Many aspects of our lives can be successful based on trust and wisdom, but some people will fail. And if that’s the case, I hope there will be a second chance.

What are some of your opinions on one-income households, joint accounts, separate accounts, alimony, etc?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Author/Book Signing Groupie

A. J. Jacobs and me
look at my hands - I must have
been talking about my blog

I’ve been to three book signing events within five days. It’s become one of my favorite things to do. Does that put me in the nerd category?

The first event was held at Barnes and Noble. Stacy Hawkins Adams spoke about the path to the publication of her first nonfiction book, Who Speaks to Your Heart? plus entertained us with a Q & A, complete with book giveaways as prizes.

She’s had success with two series of page turning, Christian based novels, six books in all, and is now promoting her new book. I’m looking forward to reading my copy – autographed, of course.

Two days later, I was sitting in an audience at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center listening to A. J. Jacobs. I discovered him on…was it Oprah? Anyway, I saw him again on another talk show, too, promoting his book, The Know-It-All. This guy read the entire encyclopedia, but don't let that mislead you; he's quite funny.

I talked to him a minute or two while he signed copies of his other two books for me. I told him I was an information junkie. Too bad I can’t retain enough of it. Oh well, maybe in my next life.

Another two days later, I was at the Book & Author Dinner at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, sponsored by The Junior League of Richmond. This was a treat from a friend who knows how much I love books.

Six authors discussed their latest work: Sam Beall, Sarah Blake, Noah Boyd, Dean King, Phyllis Theroux, and Abraham Verghese. I decided not to purchase any of their books because I already have a few new books waiting to be read. But, from this group of authors, I will probably read at least one of the impressive books presented that night.

I’ve heard it said that surrounding yourself with people and things relating to your dreams, goals, and interests is “a good thing.” Eventually, you may accomplish your particular goal, but if not, at least you’ve had fun.
What is your "gotta do" or "gotta see" or "gotta go" thing?
(For those of you who speak the Queen's English - "gotta" translates to "I have to."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Child? What Child?

It’s Saturday morning. Everyone in my house has somewhere to go…except me! Husband and two oldest daughters are volunteering at a home – fixing up, painting, etc. Youngest daughter has a digital photography class. I take her and her friend, Kylie, to the bus at the middle school at 9 o’clock, which transports them to the Math and Science Center.

Back home after the quiet drive, I take inventory of occupants. Yep, it’s just me and Layla the dog. No gotta-do errands, no appointments, no tennis lessons, etc. Hmmm…what shall I do?

I eat breakfast, digest, run for twenty-five minutes, and then walk Layla. I have a leisurely phone chat with one of my girlfriends before deciding to do something around the house.

The mound of clothes to be sorted and distributed to each child’s room, awaits…but…I think I’ll check email first and see if anyone has commented on my latest blog post.

Bloggy friends are in my in-box. “It’s going to get busy later, so I’ll write a couple replies and read a couple blogs, too…just for twenty minutes.”

Two hours later…

“AHHHH…Oh my God!”

It’s 1:50. "The bus will be back at the school in five minutes!" No time to empty my tea-filled bladder. I snatch the snoozing dog off the comfy chair, grab the leash, my purse, and the key, then race to the car.

During my four minute trip (I’m probably shaving off one of those minutes), I visualize the police coming from out of nowhere to stop me for speeding, and how embarrassed I’m going to be. More importantly, I’m planning my pity inducing story.

I pull onto the bus loop; no sign of the yellow bus. “Whew!”

(I was worried because no other kids get off at this stop, therefore, no other parents would be around; and my daughter’s friend was not with her on the trip home.)

Before I can relax and slow down my heart rate, I see it coming.

Daughter gets in the car. With a smile, I say, “How was your class Sweetie?”

What happened when you forgot your child?
No children? What important someone or something did you forget?
fess up :)