Category Archives: Hope

Thank You Lady at ALDI

I’ve been going to ALDI lately. When my grandmother was alive and still healthy enough to do her own grocery shopping, she used to tell me about the great deals she would find at ALDI. Then a few years later, my mom morphed into my grandma and she would tell me how much she loved shopping there too.

I didn’t get it. I was self-absorbed and in my own little bubble of life. Saving money wasn’t a priority for me – I had plenty. I wasn’t wealthy at all, but I was well off enough that I didn’t need pinch every penny or bother with grocery store hopping just to find “good deals”. I could easily splurge $200 / week at a non-ALDI supermarket and come home with way fewer items. I was fine, I didn’t need to save on groceries.

Fast forward to this year – this one heck of a year – and ALDI is my favorite place to make the most out of $50. I’m no longer judgmental about people that go to places like ALDI. If you would have asked me if I judged before, I would have completely denied it. Now, in the shoes of someone that is carefully watching their expenses, I get it.

I GET IT.

Now onto the real reason why I started rambling — the lady at ALDI. First I have to back-up to the first lady that even got me noticing his kind of thing. When you go to ALDI, the carts are lined up right outside of the store. You must put a quarter in to release the cart. It’s okay though, you simply get your quarter back when you return the cart. This turns into an interesting human experiment to observe in the parking lot.

When you retrieve a cart, there’s almost always someone returning their cart too. Sometimes people wait patiently for one another to retrieve or return a cart. Sometimes impatiently. Sometimes a person that is returning a cart will hand off the cart to another person in exchange for their quarter. Others race to the carts to avoid the cart and quarter confrontation (this is pretty funny to watch).

And sometimes, like I witnessed a few weeks ago, someone will hand off their cart and refuse to take the quarter from the next person. A pay it forward kind of event.

I saw a lady do this and say just that to another person. She said “Here you go, no need for the quarter, just pay it forward.” I was like wow, things like that really happen.

And so I wanted to try doing the same when I came out of the store, but oddly enough there was no around to take my cart so that I could tell them to pay it forward. Darn it.

So the next time I went to ALDI, I did pay it forward and refused the quarter as I handed my cart to a man who looked astonished at what I had just done. He almost looked angry that I didn’t accept is quarter. I briskly walked away and told him it was okay as he was waving his quarter at me. I wasn’t trying to get a good karma quarter back, I just wanted to try it. Just wanted to spread some good will.

The next time I went to ALDI, I did it again. It felt good to do something nice, it wasn’t about handing out free quarters. I wasn’t shocked that I went shopping for weeks and didn’t get a “free” cart from a stranger not concerned about a quarter, but I did notice.

And then last night, I went to ALDI, and as I went to get my cart (with my quarter in hand), a woman handed me her cart and politely refused my quarter. I smiled, graciously thanked her, and went about my grocery shopping.

I want to thank that woman, not just for the free cart and saving me a quarter, but for making me smile and spreading positive vibes in the middle of the hot parking lot. And when I returned my cart, there was no one around, and I got my quarter back.

What goes around does come around. I learned that small gestures to make a difference, on the giving end and the receiving end. It may take time, but it happens.

And thank you mom and grandma, you were right about the big savings at ALDI.

Stifle Me Not

(By the way, I’m totally not being paid to endorse ALDI, I just love it there.)

May 30th Lesson: It’s Not Too Late for My Little Garden

Garden01

I planted a little garden today. Every summer for the past 10 years I’ve wanted to plant a garden. And I never did it. Digging out the dirt, buying the plants, keeping up with the watering – it just all seemed like so much work. But today I just did it.

The bigger plant is a cabbage. It was suffering in a constricting pot, so I moved it to the ground. Then I went to the local gardening shop and bought some tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil, and chives for under $10. I’m happy with my little garden.

I feel like there was so much weight on me in the past and it was a big reason why I never did many little things that should have been no big deal.

Like making a little garden.

My energy was drained each day with daily routines and worries and pleasing people – like my soon-to-be-ex-husband who didn’t appreciate me. My self-inflicted worry and anxiety was a product of the self-doubt and hidden anxiety projected onto me by him.

Why on earth would I want to grow a garden that could possibly not succeed? I was so preoccupied with what could be instead of what is.

I haven’t been able to do much more than get out of bed each day, force myself to blend into society, and help my kids go through the motions of life. What kind of life is that? I don’t have a big urge to do things like skydiving or bungee jumping. I just need to do some little things right now that I’ve always wanted to try.

Today I learned that it’s not too late to start growing the little garden that I always wanted.

And there’s much more to be done…

Stifle Me Not

May 29th Lesson: The Creativity is Coming Back

When I was engaged to be married, I remember being so full of ideas and creative energy. My favorite place to be was the craft store. Pinterest wasn’t even around then, but it didn’t matter because we had MAGAZINES. I clipped out pictures and generated ideas from my own mind for my wedding and my friend’s bridal shower. I found a new love of scrap booking. I made my friend, who was also my roommate all through college, a scrap book as one of her wedding shower gifts. I had an entire room of my house filled with crafty things and scrap booking materials.

After having my daughter, I was going to make a small scrap book dedicated to her. I just found the scrap book and paper, nine years later, in a box that I was cleaning out.

Apparently, my creative energy died somewhere  between getting married and now.

I also used to have another blog, which I started when I was pregnant with my daughter and I kept it going for about four years. I have always loved to write about everything and nothing all at the same time. One day, I just stopped writing. Sometimes I go back and read my old posts and think I was quite funny.

But my motivation for doing anything that took time away from every day routine just sort of went away.

Lately, I want to do stuff. I actually want to write each night after I put my kids to bed. I don’t feel like it’s chore. And tonight I decided that my daughter and I would reuse the empty scrapbook from nine years ago to make a summer scrapbook this year. I got out my big bin of scrap booking supplies and showed her all of the old goodies I had. She loved it. I loved it. It was so much fun. I can’t wait to see how it looks by the end of summer. And there’s other little things that I want to do…

My creativity is slowly returning. After a long hibernation, I can feel new ideas wanting to come out. It’s been so long.

Stifle Me Not

May 10th Lesson: Timing is Everything

Today I was in a big funk. I didn’t do anything particularly productive.

Wait, I did fold three loads of laundry. And I did apply to two jobs.

I spent entirely too much time on the cover letter for one. It drained me. Cover letter writing shouldn’t drain me, but it does. When I’ve been a hiring manager in the past, I hate reading the cover letter and go straight to the resume. I was trying to make it not suck. Trying not to suck is tiring. Like “Hey, I don’t suck, here are my skills and experience, but I’m not boring, wait, I have a personality, but not too much that I seem desperate, and oh I like your company, and I’ll fit into your culture, and do you like me enough to call me yet?”

So after doing a whole lot of nothing this morning, 3 loads of laundry, and two job applications, I was just a little over being stuck in this no-job rut. I’ve been trying to make the most of my time “off” by spending quality time with my kids, doing some much-needed yard work, cleaning out weird shit in the house that is long overdue (like the freezer was disgusting, ew).

After I put my son down for his nap, I cried pity party tears of frustration and was overwhelmed by my own unknown future. I just like to just get things done. Too much thinking gets me to over thinking which gets me into trouble. I let myself have my pity party, and then went back to checking various social media sites entirely too much. And in the midst of my despair I saw a new email from a company that I had talked to at the end of April. It was just a phone screen interview with the recruiter, so I knew the next step was either a rejection or a phone call with the hiring manager.

Before opening the email, I braced myself because the first sentence started out with “Sorry…”, but it was the beginning of a quick apology for them taking so long to get back to me. It was a positive email from the recruiter asking about my availability next week for a second phone interview with the hiring manager.

My tears of self-pity instantly vanished and I had a little ray of hope again. I can do this, I just need to hold on a little bit longer. And this is one of the jobs I actually liked and hoped for a call back.

The funny thing about this position is that a similar situation happened in April. I had just gotten a rejection email from another company, I went into pity party mode, and the next thing I knew I was reading an email from this current company asking for a first phone interview.

Today I learned that sometimes timing is everything and you just have to wait. It may not work out, but then again it might. Let’s stay positive for this one. I want this one.

Stifle Me Not

May 7th Lesson: Cleaning Up the Pebbles of Abandoned Hope

For the last year (maybe more, seems like forever) there have been several bags of pea pebbles in the driveway next to the garage. Some of the bags were split open and the pebbles oozed onto part of the driveway. Dead leaves were collected on top of the bags. It was an ugly mixed up mound of pebbles and dirty leaves sitting there like an ugly eye sore.

My husband originally bought the pebbles to create a bed of gravel under rocks around a fire pit that he built in the backyard. The fire pit was built and has been used, but the layer of pebbles that were supposed to go under the paving stones never made it there. He just gave up. I would nag for him to clean it up, he would respond with some good-at-the-minute response, and then he would ignore it.

I wasn’t the one that wanted the fire pit that bad, so why should I finish it? And I didn’t leave the pebbles out in the driveway, so why should I clean it up?

Weeds were starting to grow out of the pile of pebbles and leaves. The hope was gone that anyone else was going to do it. Clearly I am the only one.

Tonight I cleaned up the pebbles. It took me all of 10 minutes to do it. I was taking the trash out, looked at those pebbles and just thought “My driveway looks terrible, that needs to go.”

Today I learned that I’m not waiting around anymore. I’m taking responsibility for what needs to be taken care of, mine or not. I’m letting go of hope that someone else will take care of it for me.

Stifle Me Not