Saturday, May 5, 2007

Shopping with Lisa

When my two children were in elementary school, I took three years off work to stay home and be a "mom." Times were hard financially, but that time we spent together was rich in many ways, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had a home typing business and would pick up work occasionally, but it seemed very seasonal. There were times, usually during the summer, when I would work 12 to 15 hour days and then I'd go for months with no work. That worked out fine for me--those spurts of work would give us "extra" money for Christmas or to buy the bigger things we had gone without. During the leaner times, though, I operated on a budget of about $300 a month for groceries, gas, and anything else that wasn't a mortage or utility payment. Even an outing to McDonalds for a Happy Meal had to be planned in advance and worked into the budget.

In order to make ends meet, I watched the grocery ads for bargains. One of my favorites was when one of the grocery chains would put whole chickens on sale for something like $1 each. They had a limit of two chickens per customer, so I'd call up my friend Lisa and we'd make a circuit of all the stores in the area, coming home with a car full of chickens to go into the freezer. Lisa didn't need chickens--she just came along with me so I could get around the two-chickens-per-customer rule.

Lisa got ahold of me earlier this week and invited us over tonight for a BBQ. As it turned out, her week was so hectic, she never made it to the grocery store; not a problem--we ended up meeting at a favorite Italian restaurant instead. Lisa's husband Terry and my husband went through school together, and I met Lisa when she started dating Terry, so the four of us have been close friends for over 25 years. Any time the four of us get together, we have a great time!

Lisa's life has always been hectic. She's not one to sit still for long and just relax, unless relaxing is part of some larger social obligation. She packs her life full of family, friends, work, and social events. In many ways, she and I are complete opposites. She's 6' tall and I'm 5'4". She's impulsive in many ways, except when it comes to money; I'm rarely impulsive EXCEPT when it comes to money! I've mentioned my hermit tendencies before; I'm happy spending time alone; she's happiest spending time with other people, and the more, the merrier. I'm sure she doesn't "get" quilting and wouldn't have the patience for it. Sometimes I suspect she thinks my life is pretty boring, but then I believe she understands that what I do isn't at all boring to me.

During dinner tonight, I asked Lisa if she wanted to go over to Trader Joe's after we finished eating to do a little grocery shopping--I knew she needed to go and there were some things I wanted to pick up too (so that I can be a total bum tomorrow and do my hermit thing). We sent the guys off to Borders, where they sat in the cafe, listening to a band, drinking coffee, and chatting, while Lisa and I went shopping. Pushing our carts around, we got to talking about how I used to make her come with me to buy chickens--I don't think we had gone grocery shopping together in the 15 years since.

It's funny how things change over the years but some things stay the same--like my friendship with Lisa. You really know someone's a good friend when they're willing to spend half their day with you, driving around town, buying chickens--especially when they probably had a gazillion other things planned for that day instead.

No matter how you measure friendship--perhaps in laughter, tears, or even chickens--I hope you are equally blessed with a friend like Lisa!


Connie said...

What a great post, I found similarities to things in my life. I have to say I remember the period of time when I quit work to be a stay at home mom and we were on a budget that was as tight as your description was. But like you I would do the same if I had to go back in time. Nothing material could compare to mom being home with kids!

DearGina said...

Great post today:)

atet said...

What a fantastic friendship. Makes you realize you don't have to enjoy the same things as your friends, just understand that it makes them happy. Thanks for the smile.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

I loved that, keep up the good posts....and I hope the need for prozac toothpaste passes soon, even thougnh it has it's good points! Tracey

Happy Valley Quilter said...

Now isn't that ironic? I actually bought my first whole chickens this past week. I've always bought the cut up parts. Chicken enchilada's tonight! YUM!!!

Mary said...

This is so funny, you could almost be describing my sister-in-law and myself. We married brothers and are both named Mary (that just tells you how common the name Mary Johnson is with 2 of us in one family). She's outgoing and I'm the hermit, she's a social worker, I'm a nurse, she's Italian Catholic, I'm Irish Catholic. I'm a quilter, she's not. Although I have 3 sisters, Mary is the *sister* that I really connect with.

I was talking to her yesterday and we're so excited because Keith and I are going to be able to make it to Florida next month for my niece's graduation party.