October 8, 2008

14 Years of Marriage

The past 14 years have flown by. Don't get me wrong...those first few years were looooong! Even though the time has flown by, it feels like we've been together forever - in that I'm-a-part-of-you-and-you're-a-part-of-me way.

Doug and I have both learned that there is no magical love that will keep people married for a lifetime. It takes hard work, determination and commitment. Oh, and a sense of humor!

I am definitely the stubborn one in this relationship. Doug has always been willing to work on himself rather than try to change me.

In the Seinfeld Episode, "The Andrea Doria" Elaine (referring to the bad breaker upper) says, "Well, you know when you break up, how you say things you don't mean? Well, he says the mean things you don't mean, but he means them. "

Not with Doug. He has never said a cruel word to me.

I'm one lucky girl!! Here's to 14 more happy years!!

September 28, 2008

Grammar...Oh Boy!

I need to whip out the School House Rock DVDs (or YouTubes). As I teach my kids I sometimes wonder what happened to me in school. I got good grades. But for some reason it seems I didn't retain anything. So now as I try to remember the parts of speech, I find myself singing, "Interjections (Hey!) show excitement (Yow!) or emotion (Ouch!)".

Thankfully, if I really get stumped and School House Rock doesn't help, I've always got mom!

September 27, 2008

Off the Wagon


I've fallen off the wagon a bit. Somewhere between the busy-ness of homeschooling, health coaching and keeping a home, not buying new became less and less important. I recently bought (brand new) "Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines" by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne. I know it would have been better to wait for a used copy, but I just can't imagine anyone wanting to get rid of this book!! And, when you are studying The American Revolution and you need History Pockets....AND....you've got a 4 year old begging to do "Math" (that's what she calls learning to read...go figure), well, you just log on to Amazon and add that thing to your shopping cart before you can even think about The Compact.

Doug (my husband) will every now and then muse, "We need to get back to not buying new." And, as we approach the holidays, I tend to agree with him.

So, let's see where this new resolve takes us!

May 25, 2008

February 24, 2008

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

For almost 2 years we've been home-phoneless. We've been using our cell phones only. About a month ago I decided that I wanted a home phone line again. I'm not exactly sure why. The last time I had to call poison control (our son was stung by a scorpion), I was connected with the poison control several states away thanks to my Washington cell phone number...I'm not even sure they have scorpions in Washington. Maybe that's what got me thinking about it. I didn't want to call 911 and have an ambulance show up at my dad's house on Bainbridge Island rather than at my house in Arizona. And, trust me, with my boys, you want to be able to contact 911 should the need arise...and it probably will.

So, we got a phone line hooked up. However, a phone line without a phone attached is even less useful than a cell phone that calls Washington state emergency workers during an Arizona emergency.

Where does one get a phone when one isn't buying new? I posted a message on a local internet message board stating that I was interested in purchasing any old used home phone. Evidently a LOT of people have phones lying around the house. We ended up with 8 phones! Not one person would take any money for them.

I plan on giving my mom one since she has a phone line but no phone. Anyone need a phone? I could only find 3 phone pluggies in my house. So, if my math is correct, I have 4 extra phones!

February 20, 2008

Gift Card Dilemma

I need your help. I received a $100 gift card to a large department store. Normally, I'd say, "SCORE!" and go shopping. But, things are different this year. What should I do with it?

February 12, 2008

Remembering Charlie

Charlie died yesterday. Charlie was a beautiful, gentle golden retriever with incredibly kind eyes.

He could be relentless when he wanted attention. If there was any chance that you might pet him, he would nudge your hand until you did. The only escape was to sit on your hands. Now I wonder why anyone would want to miss the chance to pet Charlie.

Charlie loved going for walks and was loved by many friends that he met on his daily walks to the coffee shop.

My dad, my step-mom and mostly my sister, Kate, owned Charlie. But, Charlie owned a piece of all of our hearts.

Goodbye, sweet Charlie. We love you.

February 2, 2008

Calming Fears

Many of you have expressed deep concern for us.  There are two worries in particular that I'd like to address:

1.  Our Finances

We are doing fine financially.  Last year or the year before would have been the time to worry about us.  We are rolling in the dough these days.  Okay, that is an exaggeration, but we are doing just fine.

We are not doing the compact because we don't have money.

We are not doing the compact because we need a lot of stuff but can't afford to buy it new.  In fact, we DON'T want a bunch of stuff (the kids would disagree).

We want to simplify our lives.

We are doing this because we want to focus less on material things and we want to make a smaller impact on the environment.  Everyone can do something to be kinder to the environment.  Some do this by learning to recycle in earnest.  Some just decide to turn off the water while teeth brushing.  We are participating in the compact.

2.  Our Sanity

We have not completely lost our minds.

We are quite sane.

We are enjoying being creative and the challenge of hunting for just the right thing.

We do not need an intervention.

Princess Gianna

It was out of character for Gianna to want to go to Walmart with Mimi on Sunday. Usually, she goes nowhere without Mom or Dad. I knew where this was heading. Sure enough, Gianna walked through the front door 45 minutes later with a shiny, pink, plastic package....princess gear! Once they arrived at Walmart, Gianna informed Mimi that she wanted to buy something...now! So, Mimi did what any grandma would do. She high-tailed it to the toy department.

Aren't grandmas the best?

January 27, 2008

Half Price Delight

My name is Doug.  I am Melissa's husband and guest blogging tonight.

I've been reading this book for about 3 months.  I am not that slow of a reader (I don't think) but trying to read two and three books at time, something will give.

Now don't get me wrong, it's a great book and anyone involved in Marketing / Promotion of any kind would do great to read it.  Heck, even those who speak publicly can learn a few things on how to make talks more interesting and memorable.

I've been able to read about 75% of the book after 4/5 check out's at the library.  This is definitely a book I wanted to buy and keep as a reference.

Melissa surprised me and found it on line for half the price it was at Barnes and Noble.  I got it in the mail and it was very gently used - practically new!  We saved $12  and gave an unwanted book a loving home.

When have you received something unexpected you were really wanting?

January 15, 2008


It's not quite Mutiny on the Bounty, but the little mutineers are on the rise! One of our children, who shall remain nameless, is NOT okay with not buying new. He or she told us that he or she would be buying some things new this year. To which my response was, "No, we are all participating in this together!" I saw the frustration in his face...I mean his or her face. Suddenly it hit me. There will be many things that I will want to say "no" to. There will be plenty of things he'll want to do or not do that I will feel strongly enough about to insist that he go along with. Not buying new just isn't one of those things. I'm not willing to die on Not Buying New Hill. Jackson agreed that when he is spending his own money, he will make an attempt to buy pre-owned. But, he is free to use his money however he wants.

I want to be an example to my kids. I want them to care about this precious planet that God so perfectly created for us. I will not force my convictions on my kids, though. I want this to be a fun adventure. And, so far it has been.

Our new favorite thing to do at dinner is to choose our silverware. One night we went around the table and discussed how our fork was like us and what it reminded us of. Mine was a very simple pattern with a little bit of frill in the middle. That's a lot like me. I love simple things, but I just can't leave out the frill.  This unexpected routine that I'm sure will soon be a tradition, has brought me joy. I smile thinking about it. I never would have thought, as I dug through the plastic bins at Goodwill for over an hour, that buying used silverware would be so rewarding.

January 9, 2008

Nine down, 357 to go...

Well, we've made it 9 days without buying anything new. To my delight, it hasn't killed us...not even close. In fact, not allowing ourselves the option to buy new has given me a lot of peace. I can drive by Old Navy without feeling the need to stop in just to "see what's on clearance".

In case we were wondering whether or not we were doing the right thing (I know I wasn't, but I can't speak for the other 4 members of the family), something really cool happened last week. I was trying to decide whether or not to buy new ink cartridges for the printer. In our compact, we've allowed ourselves to buy new things that are consumable and that we consider a need. I figured putting off the decision was my best bet. Two days later, on a swap board, I found the exact ink cartridges we needed being offered. For a mere $5 (shipping) I saved 2 perfectly good ink cartridges from ending up in a land fill! How about that?

How is life different for us? On the outside, life is the same. However, I can feel a change going on inside. We are thinking about our consumer habits in a totally different way. So far, we have:
  • Filled our silverware drawer with pre-owned flatware. I had a lot of fun picking and choosing from the Goodwill bin.
  • Wondered whether or not we could find a used yardstick on ebay. One member of the family (and I won't mention any names) broke the one we had. We decided it wasn't worth the trouble of having a wooden yardstick shipped to us.
  • Purchased a used book that I could have found $2 cheaper if I had bought it new.
  • Searched for but did NOT find a used Magic Bullet blender.
  • Borrowed a tape measure from my mom.
  • Received a variety of responses from friends and family that vary from, "Are you guys nuts?" to "This is the coolest thing I've ever heard of!"
  • Saved some money!

All of these are different in our life. And we like it! Thanks for all of the great comments. I love reading them, even when they are fake stories of finding used fishnet stockings at hotels.

January 3, 2008

Bummer, I can't buy that!

Two days into the compact, Doug and I both had, "Bummer, I can't buy that!" moments. I wanted to buy some new paint to do touch ups in the house, Doug wanted to buy a T-shirt he found online. His thought was, "Oh, that would be a funny shirt to get........USED!" I decided to use the satin paint since I didn't have any flat (anyone have any Frazee Cottage White Flat paint for me?). So, we have some shiny spots on the wall...big deal, right? I think I'll see if I can borrow a cup of paint from a neighbor.

I've had a few questions I thought I'd answer here:

1. Will you buy used food? No, we buy new food. I will try to buy local when I can, but I'm not stressing about it. I'll also try to buy in bulk to avoid all of the packaging, but again, I'm not focusing too much on that just yet.

2. Can other people buy new gifts for us? SURE! We have no intention of forcing our conviction upon others. The good news is that we won't be offended by a second-hand gift!

3. What are the Etsy skirts? I'll be selling twirl skirts on Etsy. Etsy is like Ebay for handmade items. I don't have any skirts listed yet, but when I do, I'll post a link. My store name is, "MyGigi".

So far so good on the journey...it sure makes shopping trips short and to the point. There are entire sections that I won't buy from so why bother browsing?