Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BRAND (01/12/17)
TITLE: Genius Blogger
By Leola Ogle
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That all changed when her father-in-law, Charles, moved in with them after her mother-in-law’s unexpected death.
Some people are just too OCD to be around. Charles was such a person. “He drives me bonkers,” Jessica told Brandon. “He rearranges the pantry, the medicine cabinet, the linen closet, the towels hanging in the bathroom – you name it, he has a system.”
“Honey, look at it as a gift. He keeps things organized. You have to admit, organization is not your strong characteristic. He cleans shelves while he does it, so that’s a plus.”
Jessica let the conversation drop. Why tell Brandon that his father hovered over her while she put groceries away. Or put anything away. He took over the folding of towels because he had a certain way he liked them. She did appreciate that the pantry was organized – neat rows, labels all facing forward.
She also appreciated he cleaned, especially since she had a part-time job. There was one thing, though, that violated everything she professed.
Charles’ obsession with brand names.
He only used a certain brand of coffee, mayonnaise, catsup, peanut butter, toilet paper, aluminum foil, and the list goes on. And, they were all the most expensive brands. The same thing with clothes – designer brands only. Jessica’s budget was screaming foul play. Her blog posts seemed lies. She had four kids, two they were helping through college, two in high school, and her kids weren’t picky like their grandfather.
She wasn’t without compassion for her father-in-law. Her mother-in-law’s death left him as defenseless as a small child, or a sailor adrift at sea. Charles was needy and clingy. He did contribute to household expenses, but her budget still didn’t stretch far enough.
Trying to reason with Charles was as futile as reasoning with a baby. “This mayonnaise is good. Just try it,” she cajoled him.
“Store brands are never creamy enough. Or they use too many eggs or not enough eggs.” He took a bite of his sandwich and scowled. “Yup. Just like I thought.”
“This catsup is runny. I don’t like it.”
Eat it, Charles. Your grandchildren do.
“This coffee tastes like mud.”
It won’t kill you, so drink it.
“This bread. Why’s it doughy? They didn’t bake it long enough.”
Oh, so you’re a baking expert?
“The waistband on this underwear itches. I can’t wear cheap underwear. It keeps me awake at night.”
Quit being a crybaby. You are a grown man. You’ve been the head of the largest advertising agency in the nation. Act like it.
Jessica was frustrated enough with Charles to spit nails. She struggled to keep her father-in-law happy without enabling his idiosyncrasies, and do justice to her blog followers by adhering to her frugal shopping rules.
Something had to change. Jessica was desperate, so she prayed and asked for God’s help. Without going into detail, she asked her blog followers to pray.
The answer came. Brandon told her it didn’t seem an answer from God, but it worked. The peace that settled over the home and Jessica’s spirit had to be from God.
Days settled into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Jessica grew to love her father-in-law. God showed her how He saw Charles – an old man shattered by the loss of his wife. Charles coped by controlling what he could because he could not control, or stop, the death of his beloved wife.
And the brand names? Maybe God didn’t show her what to do about that, but what she did worked. She found a design program on the computer that allowed her to make labels. She simply changed all the labels on the food she bought. Charles never knew and didn’t notice a difference in taste. She bought expensive bread once and reused the bag, putting the store brand bread in it.
After two years, Charles told her, “You know something, Jessica. I think I’ll be okay with whatever you buy. Saving money is what you do and it makes you happy.”
Jessica grinned. “Well, I do like to save money, and if you’re sure it’s okay.” She kissed his cheek.
“You are a genius blogger budget-master, honey. Isn’t she Dad?” Brandon said.
“She sure is.” Charles winked at Jessica.
He didn’t know, did he?
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