Monday, August 22, 2011

Insane or Genius? Does it Really Matter if the End Justifies the Means?

There was never a genius without a tincture of madness. - Aristotle

Today I made a suggestion to my ex-husband that could very well backfire on me. Awhile ago it was suggested to me that I consider this idea as possibility. Initially I thought it was crazy but yet, I could never quite get it out of my mind.

I married a man who is not prone to compromise nor is he interested in ideas that are not originally his. While married, I frequently had to make suggestions in a round-about way that gave him the feeling that he came up with the idea.

Today I took a leap and suggested that we go to Walt Disney World together. Together as in, myself, my two sons and him. Together as in, we'll see more of each other in that time than we have in the three years we have been divorced. Together as in returning to the place where we honeymooned only this time with our children.

Am I insane or what?

We don't discuss things well. We don't get along well. And compromising is something similar to a drug deal; I'll give you this, if you give me that but we're doing it without looking each other in the eye and we won't speak of it again.

Yet, I have a feeling this idea could also make me a genius, well a financial genius at least.

He and I both want to take the children to Walt Disney World. We were sort of in a rush to be the first one to do so. I knew that he was going to get there before me until I talked to him today. He let me know that as he looked into the cost of a trip there, he didn't think it was doable.

Once I made the suggestion that we go together, splitting the cost of airfare, food, tickets and hotel rooms (not the same room but maybe two rooms joined together by a door that can lock!!). I realized that this insane idea may actually be briliant. And to my surprise, he is actually thinking about it. He just might see the sensibility in this idea.

And so, like Aristotle said "There was never a genius without a tincture of madness." My insane idea of going to "the happiest place on Earth" with the man who I once loathed, at times hated and sometimes pair his name with profanity, could turn out to be a pure stroke of genius!

And if we can conquer a trip of this magnitude, maybe the next 13+ years will be smooth sailing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm a Gluten Free Drop Out!

Yup, I failed! I'm not very ashamed to say it. I could not handle a gluten free lifestyle.

My journey and eventual failure began about a year ago. I developed some health issues of the gastrointestinal nature (I'll spare you the details. You're welcome!). I lived with them for a few months without giving it too much thought. Finally it occurred to me that these issues were not normal. My research on the internet left me with two options.

I was most probably lactose intolerant or had a gluten sensitivity.

Neither of those two options left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. This girl right here LOVES her cheese and her bread! My abdominal love handles  cushioning  plumpness  (fine, I'll admit it) fat would be proof of my long time love affair with both.

I decided that I'd choose the lesser of two evils and promptly broke up with dairy.

For six months, SIX MONTHS I avoided milk, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream! I avoided cereal, because no matter what they say, soy milk is not all that. I passed on Mint Moose Tracks. I ate my favorite Mexican foods without cheese.

And I found very little relief! Certainly not enough to warrant a lifetime without pizza!

I happily reunited with dairy products and received a personal phone call from dairy farmers across the country (ok not really but I'd like to think they appreciated my renewed relationship!).

I returned to the internet and with a giant gulp of air, decided to attempt a gluten free diet.

I have a track record of jumping into things head first without taking the time to look at all options. *insert family and friends saying "DUH!"* And this gluten free diet was no exception.

I did well. In fact I found it to be rather easy to make the changes. Sure I wasn't able to have toast or pizza or a nice warm waffle with butter and maple syrup, but I was making do.

Until I wasn't!

About three weeks into this I began my actual research. I asked my go to experts on the Gluten Free lifestyle (Kate of Not the Crazy One and Tiffany of The Nerdy Baby) some very serious questions.

When in the hell am I going to feel better?

Their answer...awhile! Some improvements after two months, a few more after six months and major improvements within nine months to a year!


This was not information that I had prior to starting this journey. Nor did I know that gluten can be found in SO MANY things. Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, chocolate, gum and ranch dressing!!

The good news is that there are many gluten free options of the foods I love out there. I found this to be true at a number of my local supermarkets. What I also found out was that gluten free foods are not budget friendly.

And so my head first dive into a gluten free diet left me with a few concerns. I was hungry! And I am broke.

My budget just can not handle the increase in food prices. I have very little to work with and I rely heavily on coupons to bridge the gap between what I have and what I need. Gluten Free foods do not always fit into the category of budget friendly. There are certainly ways to do gluten free on the cheap, just not as cheap as I need it to be.

And so, with great reluctance (ok only a little reluctance), I decided to postpone this lifestyle until such time that I can afford to increase my grocery budget.

I grabbed the first sandwich I could find and bit into it. Yep I'm a Gluten Free Drop out and damn it tastes good right now!

I was advised that the book Healthier Without Wheat would have been a great resource for me to read before making dietary changes. I will read this before I try a gluten free lifestyle again.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Welcome to A Five Star Life

In 1992, I started my life as an adult. I entered college, fell in love for the first time, dabbled in college life and received my first credit card.

In 1997, I left college, started my first job in my desired career, dabbled in the single life and started paying for the debt my college years allowed me to acquire.

In 2001, I met a man. Meeting that man led to getting married, having two kids and becoming a stay at home mom. It also enabled my husband and I to acquire even more debt.

In 2008 I began a new life, as a single mom with two beautiful boys. A single mom who had no job, nowhere to live and debt. Life as I knew it changed both for the better and for the worse.

Since 2008 I have learned many, many lessons about life. I have struggled financially. I have struggled personally. I have had to parent two young boys who were very much confused and scared. I have had to fight for my children whose needs were special.

I have slept less, ate more and cried even more.

I have worried.

I have been angry.

I have questioned my choices.

However, during this time I have learned to enjoy some of the most amazing moments with my children. I have been given a gift of clarity.

I have watched a little boy with very few words and a severe case of shyness become a big boy with no fear and a rapidly expanding vocabulary.

I have watched an amazingly brilliant five year old with more anxiety and fears than any adult could handle become an eight year old with clarity and wisdom beyond his years.

I have laughed.

I have smiled.

I have cuddled and hugged and kissed.

And I have cried tears of joy.

I have learned to take those small average moments in a difficult life and turn them into above average memories.

Please join me as I blog about these above average moments. I will be writing about anything that comes to mind; my children, politics, a great new product or a moment of complete and utter crap.

I hope you will stick around to be reminded of the little things that can make your life A Five Star Life.