Saturday, May 26, 2012

Price Matching - Do you do it?

There was a time when I was too embarrassed to haggle, or even price match. The conversation is so damn awkward, and it was just easier to pay the asking price then go head to head with a shop keeper or employee who was much more skilled at it than I was. I'm still not that great at it.
These days, many shops are making it easier for us to price match though. My big favourites are Kmart, Big W, and Good Guys. Its brilliant, theres no awkwardness, its written into their service offering that they will price match. The trick is, you need to do your homework first before making the purchase. These 3 stores are pretty well known for providing competitive prices. But there is always someone better if you look hard enough.
The benefits for me of using the price matching schemes instead of buying at the shop with the cheaper price in the first place?
1. Flybuys or Everyday Rewards points. I won't make a purchase just for the sake of getting these points, but if I'm making the purchase anyway, why not rack up the points? They'll turn into lovely gift vouchers later on.
2. Good Guys have got an awesome record keeping system that mean I don't have to hang onto receipts. We've taken advantage of their record keeping on more than one occasion when needing to claim some repairs under warranty. I find they make the warranty claiming process pretty painless too.
3. These shops are all local to me, and often when I have found a better price it is at some smaller chain, or isolated shop that would lose me any savings in the travel time and costs because they just aren't local.

Don't just rely on the catalogues being delivered to your mailbox, or random Internet searches to find your better price. I've mentioned this company before, because I use them all the time. Lasoo have hundreds of catalogues online that allow you to search for the product you are interested in, and narrow down to the catalogues that house it.
Even better, they have an IPhone app, and each of the 3 stores I've mentioned above always accept my IPhone  version of the catalogue for price matching, meaning I've always got the tools with me to get the best price.

Quite proud of that effort since I can't bake
My most recent bargain buy thanks to  Lasoo? Our old camera was stolen from the car where it was waiting to be returned to Harvey Norman for repairs. Loved that Canon, but I needed to replace it urgently for Lolly's 1st birthday this month. Nothing special, just the granny's and cousins in the backyard, but I wanted photo's of the experience anyway.
 After doing my research, I toddled into Good Guys, who had my preferred camera listed for $478, well under everyone else's advertised price of $499. Everyone except Ted's Camera house that is, who were offering it for $449. Thank you Good Guys, I snapped up my camera for $449 with minimal effort, and without the need to drive an hour to Ted's Camera house.
And it takes bee-yew-ti-ful photo's. I'm such a novice, all I want is a camera that does the work for me so that I can just enjoy the moment. And my new Sony produced some gorgeous shots - no touch ups on these babies yet, these are straight off the camera and already looking respectable.

Friday, May 11, 2012

10 Fingers, 10 Toes.....and something else

This is the blog title that sprang to mind as I stared entranced at the monitor at my little man. My busy life, the fact that I have not made time for appointments, the unplanned interruption to my career, all of this melted away in the moment of watching my baby boy flex his fingers, yawn, and roll around.
For those moments I was 100% hooked on being pregnant again.
And any confusion I had about having a boy? Gone. I am as in love with him as I am my girls. Where before I couldn't picture being the mummy of a boy, suddenly his place in our lives is so obvious.
But the blog title became even more meaningful a few hours later. I got a phone call. Apparently some Doctor reviews all of the days ultrasounds, and types up letters. And she wanted to see Husband and I for a consultation. It was 4:30 in the afternoon, I'd had a rushed but euphoric day at work following my scans. And I listened dumbly while this women beat about the bush, trying to not to tell me why she wanted to meet with us. "Just something we picked up when reviewing the scans" she said. "Need to discuss in more detail".
There was something else. Besides his fingers, toes and penis, there was something else.
A marker of Down Syndrome. Could I please come back with my 12 weeks scans so they could take a closer look.
By this stage the tears were streaming down my face as the implications of my lack of effort with this pregnancy became clear. I didn't go for a 12 week scan. I didn't have time so I didn't worry about it.
"Come in anyway, we still have things we need to discuss".
I have had 48 hours of hell. Beyond the immediate, blubbering download to Husband over the phone, and the need to get myself together long enough to tell the boss that I most definitely would not be in on Friday, I shut down. I didn't share with anyone. I needed to process.
I tried to research. What were the implications of a baby with Down Syndrome? Was it a higher risk pregnancy now? Was there a chance of losing my baby? What would my baby's life expectancy be? I've seen many children with Downs, and some adults, but I don't recall ever seeing an old person. Would my baby outlive me? Would he need care all his life? How could I organise that care after I was dead?
I've always tried to teach my children compassion and understanding for others with mental handicaps. And suddenly this seemed like a horrific thing. Compassion. Sympathy. Like its something to feel sorry for. My baby was going to have people feeling sorry for him. Children looking askance at him. My perfect little boy.
The guilt settled in like a blanket of depression, and I curled up in bed early on Wednesday night. I didn't make time for this pregnancy. I didn't go for earlier scans, or doctors appointments. I haven't even really celebrated this pregnancy, figuring I would give myself time to think it through properly later. My little boy was being punished because I didn't care enough. I stressed and worried about the quality of my boys life and health for a few hours, and carefully ignored my husband when he finally ventured in to talk after putting the girls to bed for the night. I pretended to be asleep so I could continue to worry away in the privacy of my mind, even though he probably need to talk as much as I didn't want to.
A text message came through from a very good friend. She followed up on the ultrasound by text earlier that day, and I'd given her the highlights, telling her I wasn't ready to talk yet. Later.
Her text message read: Special children are given to special families.
And this feels right. If my little man needs more help in life, then I know my gorgeous little family of four can give it. I finally asleep with these words.
Thursday was Lolly's birthday. I put away my thoughts for the day, determined to leave them all for Fridays appointment. Lolly deserved 100% of my time, and she got it. I had already arranged for the day off work, and she and I enjoyed some us time first at a play gym in the ball pit, to be joined later by a dozen little baby cousins for a mini party. We had a great day, even though she had zero concept that it was her day. Time enough for that later, we will have a family BBQ next weekend to celebrate properly with cake and decorations, and will make a bit more of a fuss out of her and her twin cousin Aneesa (same birthday!) then.
Finally on Thursday night husband and I talked. And I finally got out verbally all my fears and questions about my little mans health and future.
Lets be clear. My husband thinks I'm nuts. While I was researching local schools that cater to children with Down Syndrome, he was was researching the implications of doing the amnio fluid test to find out if the baby actually has Downs.
But I'm a details person. This is how I cope with stress. Having a plan means having some control. But we agreed, there was never a question that we would not proceed with a pregnancy based on something like this. But where I had been convinced before that I would be doing test, now I knew that unless there was a good medical reason for doing it, there was no way I was proceeding. The odds of miscarriage were way too high.
The meeting was ridiculously anticlimatic. I have increased chances of my boy having Down Syndrome. But the chances that he doesn't are higher. The odds of miscarriage if I did the test were higher. My boy is showing one of the markers of Down Syndrome. Additional fluid above his nosebone. But this is not conclusive. Without doing the test I have no way of knowing for sure, and I'm OK with this. We agreed to take it as it comes. If he does, we will manage. Its a long time between now and September, but I will let it go for now. If he needs extra help after he is born, then it will happen.

Now, I am stupidly happy to know that I have my boy on the way. It's time to celebrate, and it's time to put this pregnancy in its rightful place in my life. First.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 fingers and 10 toes....

Tomorrow is the day. THE DAY. The Ultrasound. I've been so busy these last couple of months, that I haven't really given myself time to be pregnant, and when I stop to think about it I feel so guilty.
By 18 weeks pregnant with Lorelei, I had been obsessively monitoring the Huggies website to keep track of how big my wee bubba was, and whether she had arms, legs etc. I'd been for 3 GP appointments, 2 Ultrasounds, 2 hospital appointments, and had my third booked in. And preparation, wow. I could have had the baby already and not found myself short of anything that was needed.
Um. With this poor little bundle of goodness, I pee'd on a stick. Eventually I got around to getting a doctor to confirm the obvious. And I've since been for a hospital appointment. Just one. And I haven't had time to book another.
So tomorrow I will head off for an ultrasound (my first) and reassure myself that there are the right amount of heartbeats, fingers, toes, heads, and suss out the gender while I'm at it. Its not that I care less with this wee one, but I don't have time to be pregnant right now.
I don't even know what gender I am rooting for. I'd like to be completely unbiased and say I don't care, but I think I do. Of course the main prize is a healthy baby, but I think maybe I'd like a third girl. I'm not sure how I feel about having a son.
Everyone says boys are so much easier, and they are so loving with their mummies but I really enjoy girls. I don't know what I'd do with a boy. I grew up in an all female household, and having a husband has not really changed my living conditions (thank you multiple bathrooms!).
Am I a terrible mother? People seem to either assume I want a boy, or assume that I just want a healthy baby, but no-one seems to think its a valid position to maybe want a third girl.
Maybe its a good thing I haven't had time to invest mentally in this pregnancy yet. I haven't really had a chance to fixate on anything, so whatever I get will be nice.
Wish me luck for 10 fingers tomorrow!