Be A Tightwad – Don’t Waste Your Money on This Book!

I read the good reviews of The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn on this site, but decided to begin my tightwad ways, so I took it out of the library. After reading about 5 pages, the book languished on my bedstand, costing me 5 cents in overdue fees because I forgot it was even there. I am so glad I didn’t waste my money on this book. I have several issues with it:

1. Organization: Amy Dacyczyn’s book is horribly organized!! On the cover are enticements such as “Tightwad crafts and hobbies.” I was interested in this topic, so imagine my surprise that neither craft nor hobby was listed in the index!! I couldn’t find it, so I gave up looking after about 10 minutes. Same for some of the other cover topics. And since the book is based on newsletters, there is no rhyme or reason for the listing of the topics.

2. Tone: much of what Ms. Dacyczyn suggests seems to be because of mean-spiritedness and lack of experience. She goes on and on, using anecdotal evidence, about how today’s kids are so jaded they don’t enjoy a walk in the woods or making cookies. So untrue!! Most kids love to do these things – their parents don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t do it often, but as a teacher I can tell you that children talk about these times in school with their classmates showing great excitement. She uses what she calls “Creative deprivation” so that her kids enjoy the one JUNIOR ice cream cone they get a year! I was by no means spoiled, but you don’t have to make a huge deal of out ice cream! It is an innocent pleasure, and part of childhood, to love and eat ice cream! Most of her ideas seem like she is depriving her kids so that she can write about it and make tons of money! I would hate to be her kid – especially if I was the one who had XXX in all my clothes to show I am the third girl! Yikes!! And if I want philosophies on effective child rearing, I certainly wouldn’t listen to someone so cheap that she deprives her kids to make a point. I’ll listen to someone who has a clue about child-rearing.

3. Ideas – many of her ideas are impractical and useless. I am sorry, Amy, I don’t want to donate my body to science to save on my funeral costs. And the ideas readers send in – there must be a contest to see who can come up with the most ridiculous way to save a penny! Lots of winners here!!

So between the lousy organization, the meanness of how the author treats her poor kids and the useless ideas – be a tightwad and do NOT buy this book!!

Nancy Lee Dunn


Keeping the Flame Alive

Many couples look at each other after a certain number of years and say to themselves, “Is this all there is?” Aging, graying, we don’t look the same as we did 20 years ago. Often, the sexual flame is gone, as is the ability talk to each other. If you have children, conversations have revolved around their needs for so many years that you don’t know what else to talk about. How do you rescue this relationship? How do you find things to talk about? Sorry to disappoint, but I am not going to give you tips like you would find in Cosmopolitan such as “The five most effective sex toys to liven up your marriage?” No, I am going to give you much more practical advice, advice that will help your marriage grow in the long run: take some classes together and learn something new.

What saved my marriage entailed taking some classes with my husband, which meant we spent an extended period of time with each other, learning something new that we were both excited to discuss. And in my experience, communication is the key to keeping the flame alive.

I had been taking pottery classes for about two years when I suggested to my husband that he try it. Once a week, we would meet for a light dinner, and then go to class together. Although we worked on different projects in different rooms, it was nice to both be there, hanging out with the other students, learning new skills and having fun. We did join forces for one project: we decided to make tiles for our bathroom walls. He rolled out the clay and cut the tiles, and after they were bisqued, I glazed them. We have a lot of pride in our new bathroom, created by both us of, sprung from many conversations of what we wanted.

Another class we take is jewelry class. We have to travel 1 1/2 hours to get to class, so we have extended time in the car together. This gives us a chance to relax and chat. During class, we learn a lot that we talk about later. After class, we go to the small city nearby, have dinner and then spend some time in the local bookstore. We have set up a small studio in our basement for jewelry making, so many evenings we are down in the studio, working on projects, listening to music, and just spending time together.

Communication is the key for keeping the flame alive, and learning new skills gives you and your spouse something different to talk about, and the opportunity to see him or her in a new light. My husband is a very good designer, of both pottery and jewelry. I never knew he was so creative and had such a good eye for design. I see him differently now, which adds to the spice in our marriage. This simple practice has really cemented our bond, because we have new, shared interests. It doesn’t have to be art, it can be anything you can share: sports, either participating or watching, travel, shared projects. Just make sure that what you share involves some learning, because that gives you a lot to talk about and share, renewing how you see each other and the spice in your marriage.

New Novel -The Equalizer

The Equalizer, the name the murderer was fond of, watched the gentleman as he finished spraying his boat. His yacht, really. It was at least 70 or 80 feet long, and completely pristine looking. Big, white, obnoxious. A neighborhood could live on that boat: a village of hundreds could eat for a year on how much it took to fill up that boat’s huge fuel tanks just once. It turned the Equalizer’s guts to see so much excess, so much waste, for the enjoyment of so few. And not even a deserving few. A corrupt Wall Streeter and his spoiled family – haughty anorexic wife, Botoxed to death, worse than that Victoria Beckham. Snotty, entitled adult kids. Oh, the Equalizer knew what those kids were like. As a scholarship student at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, the Equalizer had had to deal with those bullies for four years. The rules never applied to any of those kids, or the family on The Neptune, as their boat was dubbed. Even the name was ridiculous. The owner, the ironically named Nate Humble, was anything but, and probably had visions of himself as the God of the Sea. Maybe he would like to go back to the sea, the Equalizer thought, and quietly laughed. It was almost time. Mr. Humble was about to meet his karma, his fate, his destiny, whatever it might be. The Equalizer breathed deeply as Nate headed down into the parking lot. It was almost time.

Sarah Marren, Detective First Grade, finished her run in front of the precinct house, located at 5th Avenue and 75th Street, Manhattan. At 33 years old, she was the youngest First Grade detective in NYC, and she was the only female assigned to the prestigious Major Crimes division. She received her promotions from top notch police detecting, which had been recognized by her superiors, after solving two tough cases, both dealing with the murders of young teens. The city had exploded with fear after the first death in which a young girl had been stolen on her way to the Brearley School, where she was in 10th grade. Her battered body had been found over on the West Side, near the river, two days later. Detective Marren had been the one to figure out who had the means and motive to kill the young lady – it had been a depraved uncle, who had been abusing her for years. The second case involved a young boy who had been killed coming home from basketball practice at Horace Mann. He never returned home, and was found two weeks later, also beaten and abused. Sarah followed some leads and her gut and arrested the murderer, a pedophile basketball coach. She had been on the news, in newspapers, and her face beamed across the country as the Blonde Bombshell Detective. Sarah was incredibly annoyed by all of the publicity, but it made her superiors in the department happy, which led to both of her promotions. So she could live with that.