Mandy: college graduate, super-sinful unwed mother, narcissist, graphic artist by day, disillusioned writer by night, also super-sinful liberal, feminist (need I mention?); mixed bag, you know.

This is an Unsolicited Parenting Advice-Free Zone. I bitch; you listen; isn't that how blogging works?!

Drinks will not be served. But wouldn't it be awesome if they were?
Blissfully Unwed

I Donated Plasma (and Possibly Some of My Dignity)


As you may have heard (or not, whatever, you know now), I have been spending what are typically my working hours at home now for a few weeks, searching for new and more gainful employment. Not being bound to a desk all day by this invisible chain called a paycheck, I’ve spent my time producing more delicious but very possibly (say it with me) diabeetus-inducing home-cooked meals, and fewer blog entries. Just in case you were wondering.

I guess we’re a fortunate little lower-middle class family, because, with his job, B has been able to keep us afloat and even pay for a few weeks of daycare in the name of an uninterrupted job search for Mandy. Unfortunately, though, this tragic (shut up, it IS tragic to me) budget squeeze has required us to cut back to the necessities - and I think we all know how I feel about necessities. Unless I get to define them, you know, but, as the only person in our home who prefers wine to three square meals, AND the one without a job, I’m pretty much SOL on this occasion. So, today, I decided to give back a little by donating plasma for some extra beer money cash.

From the jump, I felt a little slighted by the fact that I would receive a smaller sorry-we-stole-part-of-your-blood compensation package than my fellow donors who were lucky enough to weigh over 150 pounds (THE HUMANITY!) would be given. I wasn’t too unhappy with the amount they gave to people who can’t help that they’re small dammit, so I moved along with the process.  

No one has ever had trouble accessing my veins. I’m not saying those little blood subways are EASY, but they don’t typically object to being poked, either, if you get my drift winkety wink wink. Today, though, of all days, when we actually stood to make some money instead of losing it to a doctor, my veins suddenly developed some dignity and retreated far beneath my armskin to sulk and refuse to come out and play. Or, you know, maybe the phlebotomist sucked. Either way, they plunged the needle what turned out to be way too far into my right arm, took only half of what they needed before it was tapped out, and had to stick me again in my left arm unless I just wanted to leave without my blood or my money which NO.  

As I sat there, wondering how an organization that pays individuals to give up their bodily fluids in a fairly unpleasant procedure has the gall to turn away individuals who have had sex for drugs or money since 1977, my phone rang. Taking the call would have violated the rules of the donation floor, and I didn’t want to risk an infraction that could get me kicked out without what appeared to be most of the blood in my body, so I let it go. I did, however, manage to discreetly (I think… my bar for this shit is so low) listen to the resulting voicemail, which was left, it turns out, by my job recruiter. She had called to report good news, although she revealed no details (but, I mean, really, there are only so many kinds of good news an employment agency can deliver to a job seeker). I’d been in a pretty docile, it’s-all-good-I-don’t-use-that-vein-for-anything kind of mood, up until that point, but, after hearing the message, I started clenching and unclenching my left fist with a vengeance, unable to think about anything other than returning the call, in hopes that I would soon be spending my afternoons earning more than the $30 this vein-abusing place was paying me.

After I finally escaped into the main lobby and returned the call, it turned out that the news was, indeed, very good: I passed the online test I took earlier this week as a perquisite for an interview with the company I’ve been dying to work for. Can I get a HOLLAAA up in here?! The final interview, in all its glory, is tomorrow, followed, hopefully, by my acquisition of 100% company-paid insurance, guaranteed bonuses and the extra $10k a year that I did not earn at my last job.

I’m not trying to sound like I’m better than all my fellow donors, but I’m pretty sure that nobody walked out of that place happier today than me.

Mother Plans On Spending Nothing On Her Son in 2013; is My Hero

Hattie Garlick and Johnny, two: 'People Ive never met have said theyll take the challenge with me

See this lady right here? We have a lot in common. Her adorable child bears a great resemblance to mine (thus the adorable), she has a blog, and she has resolved to avoid spending any money on her son this year. Why the stingy parent business? I’m glad you asked.

I grew up digging through sale bins at thrift stores and yard sales for Barbies with clothes, battery-operated toys with still-charged batteries, or - and this was solid gold - a Polly Pocket toy with the Polly doll still inside. This gave me the impression that low-budget childrearing was the norm - right up until I had my own child to rear. Then, I stopped ignoring the images crowding my social media feeds of the latest and greatest accessories that my friends were buying for their offspring - offspring that couldn’t even ask for a snack yet, let alone demand expensive toyage.

I get it: consumerism is a powerful force. Sure, many of us don’t all feel all that compelled to buy our children this year’s version of Tickle Me Expensive as a matter of necessity. Be that as it may, though, most of us still want to avoid being known as the Goodwill Parent. And, in today’s “pics or it didn’t happen” world, it’s hard to give the impression that you’re buying the shit without actually buying the shit. And, if you’re not buying the shit, what ARE you buying, you selfish asshole?!

In the end, this whole thing comes down to every parent’s weakness: our desire to give our kids the best of everything. It’s a marketing strategy particularly effective on frightened and uninformed pregnant first-time moms, which is probably why it’s so played-out that it makes Call Me Maybe look fresh and exciting. But is a $50 pair of shoes for a kid who can’t even walk yet really “the best?”

I’m not sure what my takeaway would’ve been, had my childhood been ruled by consumerism. I do know, though, that I wouldn’t have learned that commercials aren’t a very good source of information if my parents had bought me everything I saw on TV. A go-kart that wasn’t rigged with a tiller engine and pool mat seats wouldn’t have taught me resourcefulness. Buying new, name-brand clothes wouldn’t have been a lesson in how to spend a little money and look a lot awesome.

Most importantly, there is my mom’s mantra, “You didn’t need new toys; you had each other! You were happy with sticks and dirt.” Without it, I wouldn’t understand the importance of family, and how much more valuable it is than anything you can get at Babies R Us.