Get The Picture? By Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 4, 2009


Hopkinses share household but not planet

“You need to get on my planet,” an exasperated Dear Don fumed at me.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I can’t,” I said. “I can’t breathe the air there, it’s too thin. Actually, it’s more like you’re on a Ferris wheel going round and round and I’m on a northbound train and not looking back.”

He scowls back with squinted eyes trying to look mad while hiding the urge to laugh because, well, I am funny.

All because this early Saturday morning we are having a communication problem. I can’t articulate or talk loudly enough and his translator is broken and he can’t hear. All that leads at once to maddening and laughable conversations.

This all started when I casually said, “ If we go to Wal-Mart today I need to pick up bacon; we are out and my monthly Wal-Mart run isn’t until next week.”

That sounds clear enough, right? Well, he answered with: “ I need a new pair of Wranglers so while we are there we can pick up your monthly list and I’ll help you.”

So then I realized that he is not on my page (or planet). You might not be either.

According to the Hopkins budget rule # 4 we only go to Wal-Mart once a month. I went at the first of August and can’t go back until September. The Saturday morning, unfolding before us, was still in August, therefore I couldn’t in good conscience do September shopping and break the rule. I could however bend the rule and pick up a pack of bacon.

You are now thinking “No wonder they are on different planets, they can’t buy bacon or jeans until September?’ That’s confusing.

As the CFO (chief financial officer) of our household I have been making some tough decisions lately to keep us on budget. The rules are there to follow, even though there isn’t any particular punishment if we don’t except that we would wind up BROKE.

Dear Don trusts me to take his lone paycheck and squeeze it until it squeals like the Swine Flu (did I just say that?). The further that check goes the further we go.

Everything is fine but tight because one month after we decided that I would retire his employer decided to cut employee hours. Dear Don has hardly worked a 40- hour week this year! And well, SOMEBODY’s gotta work full time around here.

We have stayed on course with two plumbing emergencies and two pool repairs, extra doctor visits, a new windshield and at one point nearly four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline.

The good news is we haven’t touched the savings account at all and we are now rolling towards the last quarter of this experimental year.

The original deal was that I would stay home one year and we would re-evaluate at year’s end to see if we could continue. So far so good.

Okay, the problem as I see it is not the budget or Dear Don working part time, it’s the planet thing, just like he said. It’s a man/woman thing. It’s been there a long time, I’m sure.

You know the story of Adam and Eve right?  Just don’t bite that apple. Very simple. But Eve, being the frugal-wise shopping woman that she was, decided to pick some free apples from the tree.

Adam, who was SUPPOSED to be in charge, was off watching Nascar or asleep in a deer stand and didn’t see what was going on.

Eve let that slimy snake talk her into taking those apples and the rest is history. If Adam and Eve had been on the same planet he would have been there beside her making sure she got it right. Right?

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at