It's been a rough couple of days around here. I won't, at present, write another stultifying chapter of the horse-choking tome, "Living With Bipolar Disorder," but suffice it to say that Alex could use your prayers and kind thoughts. We may or may not be drifting into that wonderland known clinically as "mixed states," which pretty much means that you're depressed AND hypomanic/manic at the SAME TIME. Sound like fun? No? Well, you're right, it isn't. And on top of that, his bronchitis that became pneumonia is back, in bronchitis form for now. So he ain't doin' so great.
My anxiety level goes up when he's not doing well, and we just try hard to protect Bella from all of it. She's an awfully sunshiney kid, so I hope that means we're succeeding, at least to some extent. For Pete's sake, it thunderstormed tonight, which meant we had to dose the DOG with Klonopin. Thankfully we only have the one with severe storm phobia. We're a psychiatrically well-versed household.
In big news today, besides visiting the doctor, we grocery shopped and picked out a Christmas tree. Isabella is BESIDE herself about Christmas already, asking daily, "IS IT CHRISTMAS?" She's also reached the age where she declares that she "wants" every single toy she sees on T.V. or in a magazine or catalog. When she pointed out the miniature, operable Barbie's Escalade the other day, I got to pull out one of my mother's old chestnuts, and I'm happy to report that it works JUST as well on her as it did on my sister and I back in the good ol' days. She showed me the picture in the catalog, and said, "MOMMY! I want THIS!" I put on my best Voice That Sounds The Way I Remember My Mother's Sounding, and said, "You do? Well. You know, you just MIGHT be able to get that for Christmas. But I can tell you for sure, that if you did, it would be your only gift, because it would be such an expensive gift. Is that what you'd like?" I let her mull that over for a moment, and then added, "Would you like to have this electric car, and NOTHING ELSE, or do you think you'd rather have several smaller gifts?"
"I want SEVERAL." That's my girl. (Later, when we were alone and I admitted that I'd played a hand from my mother's deck, Alex asked me, "You'd have totally gone for the Escalade, though, wouldn't you?" To which I had to answer, "Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And then I'd have been sitting there in my electric car wishing I had more presents to open.") I was the "one big gift" kid, whereas my sister was the "lots of packages" kid. It was a good working system. Our gifts were always equal in value, but we often had the choice of how we wanted that gift allowance distributed. The same rule went for shopping for clothes, which meant I usually wound up with one or two top-dollar outfits, while my sister milked that clothing allowance for maximum clothing-changes. I've learned since then.
We went with an artificial, pre-lit tree--a Frasier Fir--for our new home, too. Which is odd, since Alex and I have both always been firmly in the "real tree" camp on this issue. But when it came right down to it, "PRE-LIT" won out over just about every other consideration...plus the fact that we like to have a tree up from just before Thanksgiving to at least January 6th, and we know the fake one will last. It's really pretty, and has something like 1300 lights on it. That WE don't have to string.
All I really have left to report on from today is our fascinating grocery-shopping trip. I'm still playing that coupon game hard, and holding steady at an average of just over 50% savings. Today's receipt reflected a 40% savings, BUT, that was including a new $20 hardback book, a $10 Southern Living Recipe Collection, and at least $20-worth of non-sale items that I just wanted, like Sweet Acidophilus milk (it just SOUNDS yummy, no?) and Activia yogurt, to try to put some good flora back into my gut. Anyway, I still got a rush when I saw, on my receipt, "You saved $97 today." Yup. Nearly a hundred bucks' worth of free food always lightens my mood.
But the funniest thing that happened at the grocery store was when we checked out, and the sweet lady running the register first let Bella stand in the cart and hand her the groceries, and then lifted her down and let her scan everything, including the coupons. We were tired and wanting to get home, but the way it delighted her made us hold our tongues and be patient. And seriously? After just a few items, she knew exactly how to look for the bar codes and run them across the sensor, listening for the beep, and then sending the items down the conveyor belt to the bagger. It was cute, and I can prove it, via Alex's cell-phone camera:
Now I know where to send her as soon as she's old enough to pull down a paycheck. And that fruit punch is Daddy's.