It’s the least I can do.

I don’t like scary movies. I’m not into fight scenes or high-impact-action types. The flip-side, I’m not a hopeless romantic either. B- always says I only like to laugh, A. what’s wrong with that? and B. it should be noted that comedy and satire are different forms. Thrillers I could do without but regardless of the genre, one thing remains true, I do appreciate and honor a good true-story. I have this little saying “the least I can do is hear their story,” in which I apply to anything that had it been fiction I wouldn’t give the time of day to. Yet when it’s real, I feel compelled. Everyone has a voice, a story, a perspective to be valued and to be shared.

So tonight, after a crazy long day, I sit reliving moments that weren’t ever my reality yet in some patriotic way, were.

These moments need no picture painted. We all know. We all remember. We all have watched the footage, millions lived it and thousands didn’t survive it. It’s not my story to tell but what is, is that just like you, I remember that morning. My very routine, mundane Tuesday until the moment I heard, I know the young lady and can hear her voice now, as she ran down the hall telling us. The moments I watched. I know where I was. I hear the voices, and the silence, of my classmates. We sat hundreds of miles north in a little New England school stricken with an unfamiliar pain that for most of us, being so young, was unfamiliar. The look on my english teacher’s face when we watched the south tower get hit, then fall, shortly followed by the north, and the fear for people scattering like red ants. I remember it was one of the first times that tears fell down my face without the emotional build up that usually accompanies it. I didn’t know I was crying. I didn’t know I was emotionally vested, much like an emotional draw to a movie. Unfortunately (the obvious) this wasn’t a movie.

Fourteen years later I find myself glued to a TV screen, clutching my cross pendant, taking deep breaths, watching one documentary after another, about events I watched unravel live over a dozen years ago. I should be sleeping but I can’t turn it off. It’s honestly, probably the reason I’m not a fan of fictional dramatics. We live in a world of action and pain; climatic dramatics fill our newsfeeds, radio stations and larger-than-ever-intended TV screens. WHY do I need to watch “make-believe story-lines” in movies, when our daily reality is scary enough? By the way, TV screens largely magnifying 5:00p news-broadcasts? Is this necessary? I feel it makes it worse. I digress… different soapbox, different post. The difference is that you can’t change reality. Someone’s experience, existence, personal story, I can’t change it. I can however, honor it. And the only way I know how to do that is to use my senses to feel, to listen, to be empathetic, to seek understanding and offer compassion. I can take action where/when it’s deemed appropriate but that’s not always an option. So, in my little world I feel like the least I can do is listen and hope; that in the grand scheme of things I can honor one person’s life/story/mission by listening to it.

If it scares me, scars me, or plants seeds of visions (good or bad) I’ll never get rid of, that story left an impact on me and for that, and much like 9/11/01, I can at the very least, file that story in my heart.



A $$$ Lesson in Humility

It is without question, I am cheap. I seek great deals. I bargain shop. I buy upcycled and recycled without question. I blame my father lol. BUT. And there is a but…I’ve learned a great, great lesson in a little thing called investing.

Now I’m not talking stocks and bonds. These are far too rich for my blood; or in the most recent days perhaps the smarter choice, but the DOW is neither here nor there. I’m talking about when you get to an age when you realize that there is a reason some things have been discounted. One must learn to choose wisely among their options and this is the precise lesson I’m talking about.

For example, there is a reason why $0.50 hand soap is $0.50…it Now there are some brands that are the exception. For example, I will take the Kroger brand of ANYTHING over they name brand. Even their pasta sauce is superb, and that’s direct from the Sicilian herself. Another prime example of buying for cost rather than investing, furniture. We have purchased 2 dressers in the past year from a local name brand retailer, and no it’s not the obvious choice you are thinking of, but it is in the same extended family (here’s a hint: big red balls) and you know what, both dressers have busted at least once since purchase within the first 6 months. #ishouldveinvested

Second, when purchasing a car, the dealer will (of course) try to upsell you on just about anything. Typically and historically I would always advise: stand your ground and shut down at the end of a sale. However, I have learned a very humble lesson in a little thing called “Gap Insurance.” If you don’t know, click the link and now you know. Get it. Without question, it’s worth it. I humbly admit, I was too cheap for the additional $12-$15 increase in my monthly payment and the only thing that saved us from paying for the next 4 years on a completely totaled vehicle was the knowledge of an expert insurance agent who really had my best interest in mind. Thanks, Matt!

These are humbling experiences for me because I purchased them with the bottom line in mind. What I’ve learned is that SOMETIMES longevity pays off. SOMETIMES the best way to save money is in the long haul. It does no one any good, nor their budget, to spend $80 today on something you’d assume will last at least 2-4 years, if not longer. Only to have it bust within six months. Then, you not only have to find something more durable i.e. expensive, but you are the damn $80! I don’t know about you but I can’t part with that kind of money. And It certainly makes me bitter to know that I had to learn this lesson the very,very hard way. However, I will take the opportunity to point out that it is an art to identify a savings and an investment. They are absolutely not one in the same. It may take more legwork but ultimately pausing, giving true consideration and making a thoughtful purchase, whether it is a cup of coffee, a new pair, or package, of socks, or a new car, I’ve learned, can be the best way to make the frugal choice.

Happy Saving!