The last two days were a crazy whirl of ice storm, blizzard, and power outages, none of which are at all typical for our winters. Snow, and only snow falls straight downward, and is so light and fluffy it can pile five inches thick on a power line before gravity takes hold of it... That's what a snowstorm usually means. The past few days, though, have been filled with wildly-flying slush. Yuck. It's been nice and warm--in the upper 30s and 40s--and I haven't even set foot outside because the storming is so nasty. Power went out twice yesterday and once this morning, but was fortunately only out for an hour or shorter each time. I wasn't sure how I was going to feed Matt and Little Bear supper last night if the power didn't come back on!
We all came down with a cold more than a week ago, Little Bear, then Matt, then me. Little Bear is getting close to being over it, I hope? He's still sniffly, but we haven't had an hour of coughing in the middle of the night since Sunday or Monday. He developed an ear infection on top of it and the pediatrician gave us amoxicillin, which it turns out he loves the taste of... it's certainly no struggle to get him to take it! She warned us that it could cause diarrhea, but no one said anything about it dying the mess orange-red; that was a shock. I guess I'm supposed to be intelligent enough to figure out that he's ingesting pink dye twice a day... But really, why do that to a mom who's probably sleep-deprived given that she has a sick kid?
The word of the week is "Ding!" Every time anything in the apartment makes a chiming, ringing, buzzing, etc sound (dishwasher, dryer, microwave, phone...) Little Bear looks up from whatever he's doing, turns back and forth until he figures out what it was, then runs over to the device shouting "Ding! Ding!" I think this is the first onomatopoeia he's learned on his own? He knows animal sounds, but that's from Matt and I reading him books... And we also taught him the "vroom" for trucks, "boom" for things falling, etc. It's exciting to hear him picking things up for himself.
Since, goodness, as long as he's been able to sit up, Little Bear has liked to sit on the bathroom counter while we brush our teeth. (Yes, we keep a hand on him, or at least stand right behind him now that he's bigger.) For a while now he's known how to work the faucet, and will happily turn it on and off, on and off. I'm grateful that he finally seems to have gotten tired of sticking his socks in it. But so this morning, as I set him on the counter while I got his amoxicillin ready, it didn't register that he was holding his stuffed polar bear. Until the water was running and the bear was in the sink, filling the sink basin, taking a bath and splashing water everywhere. Oh child.
For some reason, Dave Ramsey has been all over my feed reader this week. I know a lot of people have been helped to get out of debt by his techniques, and I'm sure his money management methods work for many people. His 'credit cards are evil' philosophy irks me, though, severely. Ramsey says, on his website: "Responsible credit card use does not exist. There is no positive side to credit card use." I'm sorry, but that's just not true, and it really seems to deny the existence of free will. Now I do understand that he is talking to people who are largely trying to get out of debt, and so he is taking an approach similar to AA: vilifying the object of the addiction/problem. I remember a conversation with my sister after she attended some AA meetings for a nursing class, where she was struggling to understand how good adults she respected could ever have even one drink if alcohol was such an evil thing. Alcohol is like credit cards: inanimate matter, which people can use well or poorly. The "vilify the object" approach may work, may even be good, in helping addicts overcome a problem, but just because some people are incapable (for whatever reason) of using an object rightly, that does not mean that everyone is incapable of doing so.
Obviously, we have a credit card. We also follow a pretty strict budget, eat "mystery surprise casserole" at the end of the month if another shopping trip would put us over budget, and pay our balance in full every month. We certainly could use cash for all of our purchases the way Ramsey recommends, but we don't, for two reasons. First, contrary to Ramsey's claim that "when you pay cash, you can 'feel' the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards," both Matt and I find that spending cash thoughtlessly or frivolously is much, much easier than doing so with plastic, because with the card, we can see the numbers in our budgeting software. Cash purchases simply "don't exist" in our minds; once the cash is withdrawn from the bank, it's out of the system and not accountable-for. And secondly, we live in Alaska. Traveling anywhere out-of-state is obscenely expensive, and flights all the way out East to see his family run easily $1200 per person. Spending an entire month's pay on a trip, even as important a trip as visiting family, sure doesn't sound like good financial stewardship to me! By using the Alaska Airlines Visa card, though, and using it for pretty much everything, we are able to earn free tickets. As long as we pay in full each month, and we do, we believe that we are indeed using our card responsibly.
Sorry for the rant... No more finances for a good long time, promise! It's just been eating at me for a while. I should probably follow the kid's example and go to sleep... Have a lovely weekend! We are hoping (okay, maybe not Matt) to hit at least one of the Christmas bazaars around town tomorrow and finish up Christmas shopping so that I can get out-of-state gifts sent out in the next week or two; all of the mail in and out of Alaska bottlenecks through one post office in Anchorage, and it's generally accepted that anything shipped out of Alaska after December 2 won't get where it's headed until after Christmas. (So I'm not just being absurdly organized, it's actually important.)