Kid Coupons – Sept. 25, 2021

Our boys are not “stuff” kids. We learned this early on, when Boy The Elder was but a wee little lad and we did what normal first-time parents do: Buy him a ton of what I call KidShit for Christmas. The KidShit went largely untouched. BTE, we learned, was more of an “experiences” kid. He had a few toys that he would play with, but man-oh-man if you would take him to lunch or to see Monster Jam …

So, wise parents that we are, we stopped buying him KidShit. Oh, we’d get him a few toys and whatnot for Christmas and birthdays, but what really mattered to him was the set of coupons we gave him that he could redeem for experiences with each of his parents. Boy The Younger came along, and though they differ in just about every other way, when it comes to KidShit, they’re the same. Kid Coupons involve things such as going to the movies with mom or going bowling with dad.

Today, BTY cashed in his coupon to go mini-golfing with me. Some parents might let their kid win. I’m not that kind of parent. Part of it is that it’s important for kids to learn to compete and lose. Part of it is that I’m too damn competitive. In the end, I won by three strokes. But that’s not what really matters. Life has been moving so fast since November. It’s easy for BTY to get lost in the shuffle because he’s extremely adaptable, even more selfless and prefers to be in the background. After Our Favorite African left in July, Wifey Poo and I really refocused our lives on BTY. With BTE back in college, BTY is who’s here and who we need to raise. Today, she is taking him to a movie. We love that kid. He’s so, so, so different from BTE that it makes me wonder how they came from the same parents. But they did, and they’re both individually amazing.

Why Do We Even Have This Thing?

Soon after Wifey Poo and I first were married, we went to the local Wal-Mart on the west side of Hamilton, Ohio, and purchased a two-drawer black metal filing cabinet. After all, we had stuff that needed to be filed now. Important Stuff. Vital Records. Necessary Paperwork.

Over the years, that filing cabinet has made a lot of moves. It’s dented. Worn. Battered. When we moved to New House in August, it just sort of ended up in the equivalent of where it always ends up — the office/homeschool room. Wifey Poo is trying to bring more organization to her life, and she’s itching for more space in Homeschool Central. So I said, “Do we even need the filing cabinet anymore?” I mean, so much of what was once Important Stuff is now Important Stuff Kept In The Cloud. So last night, we started going through the contents of our filing cabinet. Among the things that are now set to be burned in our burn pile (cuz dats what Missourah country folk do!) are:

  1. A manual to a chainsaw whose life ended in 2016.
  2. Medical receipts from 2015.
  3. Mortgage papers from three houses ago.
  4. Assembly instructions for BTY’s dresser
  5. Pictures of Wifey Poo’s insides. (Ew.)

There were a few things we found that were worth keeping.

  1. The receipt and appraisal for the engagement ring I bought then-Girlfriendy Poo back in 1995. I’d been trying to remember the name of the store I bought it from. If you’re looking for an engagement ring in West Des Moines, Iowa, I heartily recommend Herman’s Fine Jewelers.
  2. A copy of a letter of support from a woman named Kathy DeNio that she sent to the publisher of the newspaper for which I had until recently served as editor back in 2009. Ms. DeNio was upset at how I’d been quietly extracted from my position and said that my absence was not going unnoticed. She even said her morning cup of coffee didn’t taste as good anymore now that she couldn’t drink it while reading my work. Awww. I must find this woman. Anyone know a Kathy DeNio who once lived in Faribault, Minnesota?

You’ve had a good run, filing cabinet. But we have to break up. It’s not you. It’s technology.

The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”‘

Fred Rogers

So. Many. Subscriptions.

Wifey Poo and I spent a huge chunk of the afternoon coming up with our October budget. It’d been awhile since we’d put together an actual budget as a team. About six or seven years ago, we were maniacal about our monthly budget. We were on a quest to be debt-free. And we did it. We even were on The Dave Ramsey Show to scream “We’re debt freeeeeeee!”

And then a whole lot of shit happened. I mean, a whole lot of shit.

Monday, we close on Old House. Soon after, we will be debt-free once again. And I need to get a good handle on our finances.

Part of yesterday’s effort was to figure out exactly what we pay for and when on subscription services. I think any tech-enabled family will find they pay a sneakily high amount for access to their favorites. There’s Netflix and ESPN+, Dollar Shave Club and Amazon Prime (and, oh, don’t forget add-ons for Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Photos.) There’s Instant Ink for our printer and AAA to help us when our cars break down. It goes on and on and on. When I tallied them all up, we were paying more than $1,300 a year in subscription services.

Thankfully, the audit allowed me to find some places to trim. Buh-bye, Dropbox and Quip (among others).

Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. We close on Old House on Monday. It’ll be nice to be debt-free again.
  2. BTY has a cross country meet Monday. Gotta see how he does.
  3. The Chiefs play at noon Sunday. I have a bad feeling they’ll be 1-2 by nightfall.

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