Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year?

What day of the year instills more fear in me than even my birthday?  Yes, you guessed it.  New Year's Eve. Oh, I know it is supposed to be a fresh start, a new blank year which offers (or should) a host of opportunities for bettering myself and my life.  So why am I so terrified, you might ask?  My anxiety stems from the worry that history might repeat itself yet again and that we might pass the third year of our unemployment on January 5th and start the clock ticking toward our 4th year.  Since 2010, I have held out great hope that the new year will bring positive changes for us and that our life will return to normal only to have those hopes dashed and find ourselves turning yet another calendar year praying for the exact same thing.  I thought the adage was 'third times the charm,' but apparently that does not hold true when searching for a job as our third year came up dry not unlike our first and second years.  Bummer.

This morning, adding to my already anxiety-filled day (drop the ball already and let's get started with 2013), I read the worst news.  No, not about the fiscal cliff...worse yet.  Kim Kardashian is pregnant and, yes, Kanye West is the father.  The heck with the Mayan predictions about December 21st, the end of the world is upon us now.  I mean, honestly, what the heck is Kim K famous for beyond her mom's awesome Kardashian branding talent?  Now, not only will every magazine and news show be documenting each and every second of her pregnancy, she will then have the requisite 'baby line' of clothing and home furnishings and, of course, her weight loss regime once she record her 'pre-baby weight.'  Not to mention, all the while raking in millions for doing what millions of women have done and will be doing, sans the hoopla, for millions of years.

So, 2013 will definitely be an awesome year for some and I hope that we can get our finger in that pie of success this year, too, preferably with blinders on to the Kardashian baby event.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve's Eve

It is almost show time in our house, the eve of the most anticipated night of the year. Somehow, despite all my rigidity and careful planning, one minute I have a couple of months to prepare and then the next 'pow' the big night comes flying at me as if out of the  blue.  Believe me, I do not take anything lightly or approach things casually and Christmas is right up there at the top of my 'better be on top of this one' list, but with extremely limited funds, four children and absolutely zero spirit, I trudged through preparations as if walking through molasses, plodding and kind of stuck in an 'I don't want to deal with this' kind of inertia.  Be that as it may, I knew it was coming despite my trepidation so I was one hundred percent ready as of last week (at least in gift readiness, if not in spirit).

I have to admit that despite our difficult times of late, I really am a child at heart when it comes to Christmas and I go to great lengths to keep Santa's magic alive for my children.  One of them is definitely on the verge of needing to know the truth about Santa but I cannot bear to tell her the truth this year because I need to believe in this special magic and not have her grow up just yet.  I decided to use a practical reason to continue the magic at least for this year. When she was questioning me the other night, I told her that given our current financial status, the real proof of Santa's existence will be if there are gifts for everyone under the tree come Christmas morning because the only way they can be there is by Santa's magic. She does not need to know that Santa's elves were grandma and grandpa this year and she gets another year of wonder and awe in the season--and so does her mom.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and hoping that 2013 will be a better year for us with a job for my husband and a new undertone to my blogs.  I really can be quite amusing when life is going well, you know?

Ho ho ho

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I just read an article about the supposed end of the world this Friday and I must admit that I simply cannot believe that the end could be so close at hand and that the gods could really be that cruel.  I mean think about it, could I really find my end while in the midst of the absolute worst time of my life?  My husband has been unemployed for almost three years now-yep, not a typo, I did mean years-and we are merely existing, our life is in a shambles and I spend my days near tears (except when my children are around because then my 'game face' is on).  Oh, no!  You can darn well bet I am not going out like this.  Heck, I am barely alive as it is so the way I figure it, I am some serious living left to do and no silly little calendar snafu is going to mess up my chances of making right the last three years (and counting...).

I enjoyed the article because it went on to explain that no one really knows what the Mayans had planned for various reasons none the least of which is that some of their writings were illegible.  The article also stated that it is believed in some circles that the Mayans looked at the end of these years as a new beginning, the start of a new and enlightened future. I need to believe that is true for myself as well. That 2012--and 2011 and 2010--are behind us now and that the future holds something far better for us. Besides, with my Dad's and my husband's birthday this Saturday and Santa arriving late Monday, I simply don't have time for the end of the world as I have too much left to do this week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ad Infinitum

This post should definitely come with a disclaimer because if you are looking for happy and upbeat, you will need to look elsewhere today because I am in a very dark place.  It all started with the set up of our Christmas countdown clock which has become an unfortunate daily reminder of how close we are getting to the third year anniversary of my husband's unemployment. To say that length of time to be without a job is unfathomable or unconscionable would be a gross understatement of the truth. If this were the plot line in a movie, I would think that the screenwriter abused the concept of poetic license and if a friend told me that this was happening to her family, I would think that she was exaggerating for effect. The fact that it is happening to us personally has made it all too real and inescapable. I don't know why it is hitting me so hard this weekend in particular, but I cannot get over the fact that we used to be so normal and now we are simply not anymore-how much we took for granted like paying bills and buying things that made us happy just because we could.

People ask me all the time what else my husband could be doing to look for work and why he is not getting any response to the umpteen resumes he has sent out. As if I had an answer and, more importantly, as if I were keeping the reason to myself for some demented reason.  Seriously, do people really think we are enjoying this?  That we like worrying about how to hold onto the house, the cars, our minds? And other thing, I don't want to have people tell me that they are going to pray for us. I don't want to be prayed for, in fact, I don't want to be thought about at all, I just want to be normal again.  To go about my business not needing any additional spiritual help.  Believe me, I know their thoughts are well-intentioned but I so long to be part of the regular society again--no prayers required.

Since 2010, I have grown to hate this time of year while the other folks usher out the old year and look forward to a new start in the coming year. To be honest, I am terrified that 2013 is coming to bring more of the same bad luck just like 2011 and 2012 did for us. I've some wicked precedent, you know? I am afraid to be hopeful lest I need to prepare myself for another year like this one.

Would that I have a crystal ball that could tell me when this seemingly endless nightmare might truly be over. Then I could handle the countdown to that date, knowing this perpetuation of joblessness would finally have an end.  Since we are masters at networking, rewriting the resume, applying for jobs outside of my husband's comfort zone as well as to those well within his range of expertise, all alternative suggestions to the job search would be most welcome and appreciated.

Remember, you were forewarned.  I told you I was in a dark place (you should have seen what I deleted from this post!)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Countdown Clock

Anyone who knows me either well or even less so knows that I am a black and white thinker, no gray.  Plus, adding insult to injury, I am a lover of rules for anything and everything from important safety concerns to rules that may seem silly to others but that are important to me (doesn't everyone lose it when the milk container handles are not facing to the left or product labels are not facing forward?).  So imagine how upset I get when I start to see my neighbors putting up their Christmas decorations right after Halloween. I mean, seriously people, haven't you heard of one holiday at a time rule?  Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, you know?  How can Santa share a stoop with pumpkins?  It is obscene in my book. Now I know we need to beat the bone-chilling cold that sets in annually the day after Thanksgiving...I am so not a fan of 'here'...but this rush to decorate drives me crazy and seeing Christmas trees twinkling in homes days before we have even carved our turkey is enough to throw me over the edge.  That said, I lost my battle this year and to keep my husband happy (quiet!), I conceded and the outdoor decorating was done the day before Thanksgiving when the temperature was a balmy 50 degrees. But,  my tree will not be going up anytime before the second weekend in December and that you can count on!

Today we needed to tweak the time on our penguin Christmas countdown clock and may I say I always dread this as it is one of those 'press A' then 'press B' after holding down 'C' for three seconds type of set up.  Suffice it to say it is never fun but the frigid temps today made the job even more annoying. We must have set the 4 time blocks 5 stinking times but it still reverted back to the incorrect time each time the set button was pushed. I am freezing, frustrated and cranky and I feel like the biggest loser as we have had this clock and set it successfully for the past three years. Everything seems to be turning against us and now my stinking Christmas countdown has joined the party, too. Last year, my neighbor told me how much she and her children enjoy watching the countdown even though they do not celebrate Christmas. This year, I am going to have to make it a point to tell her to buy a countdown app because it will certainly be more accurate than the countdown we have going on on our front porch.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I really think I am going crazy tonight or perhaps it is its a sign of the times, but I just spent the better part of a half hour reading someone's blog.  While that may not seem like anything out of the ordinary these days this blog was, quite frankly, about absolutely nothing more than the blogger and pictures of her daily wardrobe. Okay, so she had some awesome travel shots thrown in as by her own account, she is married to a 'brilliant businessman' who whisks the family ( the blogger and their three small children) away on amazing vacations as well as business trips that are 'transformed into makeshift opportunities to see the world.'  Impressive. While her travel log is extensive and the photos were quite beautiful, the rest of her blog is quite literally pictures she took of herself in a different outfit everyday complete with descriptions of each item, where she bought it, what she paid for it and how she might wear it again. It was as if I was in a trance. I wanted to look away, really I did, but I was drawn in, unable to click and 'x' out saving myself from further boredom.  I kept turning virtual page after page partly hoping to figure out why anyone would care what this unknown woman wears everyday and partially trying to understand why this woman wants to show exactly that to all her viewers. I wondered who might really care about this until I scrolled down to find the answer for myself. It seems she has had over 650,000 views and, adding insult to injury, she has 547 followers to boot.

So there you have it, surprisingly lots of people care about this woman and her wardrobe. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that we have such accessibility to people and their daily lives that even the seemingly mundane becomes interesting when someone else is doing it or perhaps she has latched on to the true essence of blogging--give the readers what they want and don't over think the topics.  So watch out readers, with this in mind next week I might be 'wowing' you with pictures of my own wardrobe.  (Note to self, better start dressing more creatively or my readers will fall asleep).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

All In My Head

Let me tell you how I feel today.  Joan Rivers, the comedian, recently wrote a book in which she described, in her inimitably profane manner, how she hates everyone including herself and today I feel as though I could have written that book myself.  My son got me up in the middle of the night and while that is certainly nothing new for me, it did set off a domino-effect of annoyances from not being able to fall back to sleep to being stuck inside the 'dark place' in my head where all the bad thoughts lurk, thrive and multiply.  Rather than leap out of bed feeling refreshed (I think the last time that happened was about 9 years ago), I jumped up feeling agitated and cranky.  The list of things bugging me include, but are not limited to, the fact that I have a doctor's appointment this morning...who really wants to do that?; the way I look (awful); the way I feel (worse); the fact that no matter how often I wash my car (multiple times a week), it never looks clean enough; when one child has a problem, it seems they all do (has no one ever heard of the 'one at a time rule?'); my laundry is fornicating and multiplying (I just know it) so my doing 23 loads a week is just never enough; my favorite shirt has a hole in it (gleefully pointed out to me by the child who wakes me up at night) plus too many more issues to list.

My husband insisted that I write it out claiming that it would be cathartic to get it all out of my head and onto paper (okay, computer screen, but you know what I mean) and I know he meant well but I am not sure it is working. Since seeing my list in black and white, I am crankier than ever and the act of mulling it over and thinking it through have only made me want to add more items to the list namely my husband who made me write it down in the first place.  

pinned from

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crazy Stuff

Given the utter devastation caused by 'superstorm Sandy,' I have heard quite a few comments about the fact that I am probably happy that I am not living on the east coast now since that is where I was born and raised and had lived until 4 years ago.  Most are surprised by my response which is that I absolutely am not happy, not happy at all, in fact.  Do people really believe that a single storm of the century could keep me from pining away about home?  Impossible.  It will take a lot more than massive power outages, downed trees and never before seen flooding to keep me from longing to return to the east coast.  I was devastated when I had to leave as it is was all I had known and, more importantly, it was the only place I had ever wanted to live.  You know how people fantasize about moving to exotic locales or perhaps moving across the country for a change of scenery and lifestyle?  I was not one of them.  I was fine with moving throughout the tri-state area, but the thought of any further than that threw me into a full-on panic attack...and now I am here, thirteen hundred miles from the coast and I am still trying to find my sea legs.  Quite frankly, I don't think I will ever truly acclimate for a lot of reasons none the least of which is my inability to stop comparing everything here to what we had there. 

It is going to take a long time for the area to return to its pre-Sandy self.  Since I still listen almost exclusively to NY radio stations, I have been able to stay abreast of all the news reports and the continued rescue and clean up efforts and I have heard what the estimates are before everything will return to normal.  But, it will. Despite it all, I still wish I could be back there pitching in rather than living here and watching it all unfold from a distance.  Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Would That I Could

We are just at the tail end of a weekend that included yet another college visit.  It was an important one for us as this was the first college that my son actually wanted to see as the other two were more my idea than his. While he has a very comprehensive list of 'wants,' topping the list is that it not be in the state in which we live. He is not a lover of 'here' (my apple did not fall far from my tree, it seems) which concerns me because I am hoping that his desire to leave the state does not make him overlook a great college fit just because it is here.  I have told him time and again that he does not have to worry about me showing up unannounced at his school...honest, I swear...if he chooses a college closer than four hours away.  I am really struggling with the whole concept of him leaving altogether,however.  He is my baby, my little guy, he is not ready to leave me or, more to the point, I am so not ready to be left. I honestly don't have any idea how I am going to cope with this but I am counting the minutes to the summer before college when I am going to have to find the almighty coping skill that will get me through it.  I can guarantee you it will not be pretty.  My husband is already prepping for my emotional breakdown by strategizing how to get my crying, hysterical self into the car when it is time to leave campus after freshman drop off. Good luck to him as I would actually like to see him do it myself...I can be very determined where my children are concerned. 

I must admit that I am quite envious of my son's soon-to-be college experience and I wish I could return to college myself,  but do a better job of truly experiencing the offerings. I spent so much time worrying about getting a job after college and starting out on my own that I did not take full advantage of  my college life and I really regret that now. If I could have done something differently back then, I would have tried to get out of my own way because on quite a few levels, I sabotaged my own future by worrying about it so much back then and I am paying for that mistake right now.  Ironic, isn't it?

Monday, October 15, 2012


In case you missed it, an Austrian man jumped from the edge of space yesterday and reached Mach 1.24 in his free fall back to earth. That is 800+ miles per hour without the protection of a plane around him. We watched the entire event unfold, all two and a half hours of it, completely transfixed that someone could be courageous (borderline crazy) enough to effectively risk killing himself in from of family and friends and the viewing audience as well.  I think what he did was absolutely amazing and mind boggling, surpassed only by the fact that someone had already made a similar jump from a 'mere' 19 miles up all the way back in 1960! What made yesterday's jump even better was that the previous record holder, now 84 years old, was the only person in the command center who was allowed to communicate with the jumper for safety reasons.  I am fascinated by this on so many levels none the least of which is that this gentleman had the wits about him at his age to be able to take down the stats necessary to ensure a safe jump, but also to complete the final check list necessary before the jumper dove out of the capsule. The fact I find most interesting is that this gentleman retains the longest free fall record as that was one record not broken yesterday...and he did it all 52 years ago.  Unbelievable!

Now, let's talk about the jumper's mom.  Oh, my goodness, how the heck did she stand to watch this feat?  Yes, she did cry initially but then she seemed to pull herself together in a way I know I never could.  When the camera panned to her calmly sitting on the couch watching the live feed, she looked as though she might have been watching 'Dancing with the Stars' instead.  Even with the years of daredevil antics I am certain her son put her through prior to this, I was still amazed at her calm persona as she had no idea how this show was going to end.  Thankfully, it ended very well but, boy, it could have been ugly.

Hopefully, none of my children will ever subject me to this type of torture as they all know I would not sit by stoically, calmly watching their antics, hoping for a positive result.  Had that been my son yesterday, I would have knocked that crane driver out and driven my son, still in that capsule, right out of Roswell and then I would have blamed aliens for the disruption.

Monday, October 8, 2012

No Way!

Sixteen years ago today, I was very pregnant, very anxious and, true to the perfectionist that lives inside of me, going crazy making sure that all my plans were in place before the main event scheduled to arrive on October 18th.  I prided myself on the fact that I had read 26 books about pregnancy and a child's first years, I had studied and I was ready for my test.  Not one to leave details to someone else, I had already submitted a carefully crafted and explicit birth plan to my doctor whom I adored as he was an older gentleman who took his time with me and answered the 42,000 questions that I had had, all with kindness and understanding.  Over the course of the nine months, however,  I made sure to visit each with doctor in my practice so that there would be no surprises on the day I delievered.  What I had not planned for (probably because everyone I knew told me that the first child is rarely delivered on its due date) was the fact that I went into labor in the middle of the night on October 8th.  Of course, my bags had been packed a month in advance so there was no worry there except that my husband was so nervous getting out of the house, the bag got stuck in the doorway twice before I told him to turn it sideways to make it through (he also forgot the bag with all my toiletries in it and I had to ask the night nurse for a toothbrush and some toothpaste!).

By the time I was almost in full labor, I had thrown that birth plan right out the window because I wanted drugs and lots of them. Once I had the epidural and I had released my death grip on my husband's hand, things began to move along more smoothly until the doctor arrived.  Now, although I was in labor and I knew I was not looking my best, I pacified myself with the knowledge that my doctor would not even take notice.  I could be unselfconscious and just relax.  Wrong.  Just as I knew delivery was close, the door opened and in walked an extremely young and terribly good-looking doctor with a killer smile who was subbing for my doctor who became unavailalbe at the last moment.  I tried covering up a little (giving birth is not pretty, you know) but realised all too soon  that this was one of those 'whatever' moments and I focused on the birth of my gorgeous baby boy.

So, here we are almost 16 years later and I would never have believed that that little newborn would turn into my handsome teenage son.  He has brought me so much joy and laughter (okay, and tons of sarcasm and eye rolling, too) that I could never imagine my life without him.  In fact, I loved being pregnant so much so that I did it again and again and again and you know what?  All the pain and torture of delivery (and the embarrassment, too) was instantaneously forgotten the minute he was placed in my arms.

Happy 16th Birthday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ha! You Lose!

On Monday, when I turned my calendar page to October, I realized that my 'friend,' the criminal, was supposed to be sentenced in the morning.  I thought about it on and off all day, wondering if indeed he would be getting the maximum sentence or if justice would turn its head the other way and let him off easy.  I worried for over two years about this man reliving over and over again the sense of personal violation he had caused me when he shattered my car window, stole my identity and subsequently, shattered my life.  Every three months like clockwork, I received subpoenas for both his trial and his girlfriend's.  I mentally prepared myself to face him in court only to be devastated by the subsequent phone call or letter alerting me to yet another continuance or postponement in the case.  I cannot tell you the amount of emotional upheaval I went through knowing that I had three more months put in front of me, more months of stress and anguish, only to go through it all again--six times for his trial alone, to be exact. When I actually testified this past August, it was liberating and even knowing that I have another trial to face next month (if it happens as this trial has been postponed seven times already!!!), I now know what to expect and at least some of the fear has become manageable.  It no longer consumes me.

For the record, the prosecuting attorney asked for a 20 year sentence as he was being tried as a career criminal.  Today, I received a letter in the mail stating that he got 28 years. This summer,  he boldly refused a plea deal of 10 years which had been presented to him.  I think he may have made a mistake in doing so, don't you?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Rush It?

Let me preface this post by letting you know that I am in a dark place today, a black mood so to speak,  so those of you looking for an uplifting, life affirming read, please check back later as this one will not satisfy you in the least. Right now, I seem to be grappling with the speed with which our lives are flying by, and yet, how we are steadfastly mired in one place while others seem to be moving forward, growing and changing, all the while making plans and actually seeing them to fruition.  It is a marvel to us that we seem to be trying all different options and yet nothing seems to be working.  Maintaining our optimism is really an option that has worn out its welcome and despite my efforts to 'stay positive' for the children, I am feeling pretty battle weary.  I have been dreading the holidays since we started school knowing that they would be speeding our way now and we would be hit full-on while we are still financially unstable.  Which leads directly to my gripe of the day...while it is bad enough that I need to face the fact that the holidays are coming, I ask you, must they all come at once?

I was shopping yesterday and I entered a store which had Halloween displayed out in front, Thanksgiving/harvest right behind that and the entire other side of the store was Christmas-themed.  Holy heck!  It was my worst nightmare come to life.  Had this retailer somehow entered my thoughts and decided to hand me my own personal horror story in a one-stop shopping environment?  My money, lots of holidays to manage...bulked out in my honor. I simply do not understand the rush to get through all the holidays we are supposed to enjoy.  Retailers did not do this back when I was a child and yet we managed to get through each one with decorations and gifts as applicable.  How did we manage to do that with so little prep time?  A wonder, no?

Unfortunately, in our rush-rush society, this seems to be our new normal for the holiday season. So, with that in mind, I am heading to Target and since I find them to always be head of the game, I will be sure to pick up some Valentine cards along with my groceries.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Knowing Headaches

This has been an odd weekend for me.  The days have crawled by for no apparent reason and their length is so obvious, even my husband commented that these two days seem much longer than most.  Try as I might, I cannot put a finger on why they seem unbearably long as the weekend has been pretty good.  The weather has been gorgeous and we have spent a lot of time outside playing plus, despite our usual weekend homework wars, there were no big battles to be fought.  As a matter of fact, I started the weekend off in a particularly good mood as my best friend had brain surgery on Thursday morning and had already texted me (yes, I blown away, too) by Friday morning.  By Friday afternoon, she had already called me and she was happily ensconced at home by 1pm EST on Saturday.  The weeks leading up to the surgery were filled with dread and fear of the unknown and yet, after 4.5 hours of surgery, she was able to text and talk to me the very next day.  We are all amazed and very, very grateful.

Of course, being prone to migraines myself, I could not have survived the weekend without a monster 'post-traumatic stress' whopper of a headache hitting me at 3am this morning.  Nothing starts the morning off right better than being startled awake by searing pain such that I thought my brain was exploding within the confines of my skull.  Being no stranger to these headaches and knowing their aftermath intimately, I braced for a long day and was met with one.  When I told my friend about my migraine (interestingly she has not suffered even a mild headache since her operation), she suggested I try a craniotomy (ever the jokester), too.  So, in honor of her suggestion, and because I am such a control freak, I am looking up instructions for a 'do it yourself' version on the web.  She got quite a chuckle out of my suggestion and told me that she would not have expected me to go about it any other way.  This from the same woman who told me that whenever she is feeling down, she thinks about my life and then she feels blessed.  Gotta love her!

Monday, September 17, 2012


I spend a lot of time really listening to people and what they have to say.  I have a tendency to take it all in, the big picture, not merely their words but the implications that tend to travel along with them.  Because I was born with the ability (curse) to never take anything lightly, I then ruminate about those words and the people who said them, constantly comparing myself to them, for better or worse.  Speaking to me should come with a disclaimer stating that nothing said to me in passing is ever just that, a mere passing comment.  Nothing is situational for me, but all is fodder for my constant mental rehashing.  Where am I going with this?  Well, after too much Facebook and chats with neighbors of late, I have decided that I am a slug.  It seems that I am suffering from a form of mental paralysis that is keeping me from actually living a life instead of merely existing in one.

That said, I do have an extenuating circumstance in that with no income, we are in kind of a bind when it comes to 'living the good life.'  However, I am so in awe of people who make a plan or set a goal and then go after it with reckless abandon (no, never been reckless in my life, but I can dream, can't I?).  I watch Househunters International on HGTV and I am completely amazed at people who have given up good jobs and beautiful homes all for a dream, or at least a chance at it, in some obscure European village or third world country with a gorgeous beach. How I wish self-confidence was a saleable commodity.  I swear I would be the first in line with my credit card at the ready.

I was brought up to think first, fully understand all possible ramifications of my actions and then, if I was certain I could do something well and appropriately, I could act on it. A direct result of all this 'analysis before action' apparently led to my son telling me that I am too much of a 'goody two shoes' to have ever done anything wrong.  He is not completely right as I did attempt to have fun during my college years, however, I certainly have had my feet cemented in the straight and narrow ever since.

So, on this Monday morning when I am feeling wholly disenchanted and bored with where/who I am in my life right now, I am looking to converse with only those who who are equally dismayed or more cranky (as if that really is possible) about their lives for self-preservation sake.  The rest of you happy campers, talk amongst yourselves and  keep your distance until further notice!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Sometimes I think change is over-rated.  Oh sure, I embrace change more easily than most and given our life status right now, I had better be able to adapt or life could get really messy.  I need to embrace the fact that change is good, it shakes up the mind oftentimes brings clarity once I get over the shock.  Our life is filled with more questions than answers, more tumult than stability. I hate to admit it but it is filled with more fear and sadness than it should be especially with young children.  The most import point I try to drive home to them is that change, though sometimes unwanted, is character building.  It requires a lot of inner strength to not become mired in the 'if onlys,' but to focus on making the new alternative a positive and happy experience.

That said, sometimes change just stinks as evidenced by the upgrade on my search engine (I bet you thought I would be taking this blog in a different direction, eh?).  Why, oh, why would this company remove my most favorite element, the ability to email a page merely by pressing the button?  How the heck is this an upgrade?  I now have to copy and paste when I can, but most of the time that is impossible with numerous pages to email, so I just skip it.  Bummer.  I would love to have been sitting in on the meeting of the minds who decided to kill my button in an effort to 'upgrade' their engine.  I would have loved to give them a piece of my mind but there is so little left these days, I cannot afford to give any away so easily.

I did say change was character building, right?  Don't tell my children, but sometimes I don't believe all the things that actually come out of my mouth either.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I am just so restless today thatI am annoying myself.  Furthermore, I seem to have the attention span of a gnat which has resulted in more projects started yet remaining incomplete than I would like to admit.  Perhaps it is a combination of the 'back to school blues' (mine, not my children's) and this never-ending unemployment that is causing all my discomfort today.  I swear, I was in my car this morning and I just wanted to keep driving...fight or flight must have kicked in and, after having fought for so long, flight was looking pretty good. I just wanted to walk along the beach and pick up some shells with the ocean lapping at my toes,  trying to hold onto a little more summer, but I figured a two day drive for the coast was out of the question, so I went home instead.

The same questions keep swirling around in my head--I have tried telling myself to shut up but, apparently, my brain must still be a teenager and it is ignoring me--and all possible solutions simply lead to more unanswerable questions. Believe me, the best way to paralyze a control freak is to remove all aspects of control from her life such as where she might have to live, where her children will go to school, how the heck the bills will get paid.  The inside of my head must look like a tornado just hit it with all these worries and issues swirling around and around.

I often tell my husband that I long to someday be able to remove my brain, wash it in a nice sudsy tub filled with warm water, rinse it well, blow it dry and then tuck it in a little bed, nestled deep in a fluffy comforter and soft pillows. My poor brain so needs a nice long rest and that would be sheer bliss.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quiet Hurts

I just accomplished the dreaded weekly food shopping trip in record time so I should be thrilled, but I am not feeling it. I really miss my children when they are at school. Don't get me wrong, not having to battle down the aisles, four abreast, with constant yammering about this or that was calming, however, I would trade all the calm and quiet for 10 things thrown into my cart without permission any day.  I kept looking around for a distraction all the while cursing those moms who had their children with them because their school does not start until after Labor Day. One mom looked completely overwhelmed as her three little ones were running around and trying to climb into the cart. I wanted to offer to take them for a while so that she could shop in peace but I thought she might think I was crazy and call for help.

Having a high school junior this year is not helping matters either. I am completely obsessed with the fact that next summer will be our last 'free' summer together without the specter of packing for college hanging over our heads (okay, hanging over my head as he is good to go).  I cannot tolerate those moms who look at me as though I have truly stepped over the edge when I say how much I dread his leaving. I am certain you know the type.  They are the ones talking about enjoying watching their children 'soar' and 'grow into amazing, independent young adults filled with promise.' I have been told that I should love each and every stage of my son's development and be proud of his achievements, to encourage him to be his own person. Hogwash!  Hey, I am an Italian mom who wants her children close so that I can be overprotective, do their laundry and feed them...lots and often.

To be honest, I am just reveling in my own selfishness today. I don't want to let him go. You see,  it is not just going away to college.  I am more than acutely aware that once we drop him off at school, his independent life begins and I become but a part of his future. I will not be picking him up at the end of a school day and listening to the stories of the day nor will he be hounding me about what is on the menu for dinner. We won't be sitting together at night and talking nor will he be driving his brother crazy...yes, on some level, I will miss that as well.

My other son told me that he was going to try to be like my oldest so that I would not miss him as much. I know I am not alone as it seems we will all feel the void once he heads off to college.  Some more than others, however, as my little one has already laid claim to his brother's lacrosse pitch back. As they say, perspective is everything.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Witness

I know you are going to find this unbelievable because I know I did, but I actually testified this morning. Truth be told and as a direct result of all the continuances, this trial had taken on a life of it's own. I was terrified to face the alleged criminal as I had spent countless nights wide awake, and many hours during the day as well, worrying about how much information he might have retained about me and whether or not he might show up my door to steal from me again.  I know how silly that sounds, but once your identity is stolen, you never know what might happen.  I have had countless issues as a result of this theft both with credit card companies and our very own bank. Not to mention charges from my own gas station that I did not make.  He stole so much more from me than my purse and an irreplaceable, perfect color pink Coach wallet (bitter, you are damn right!).  He stole my piece of mind.

Once I survived--barely, as I am wildly claustrophobic--the 22 floor elevator ride, it was a matter of sitting around and waiting to be called to the witness stand. Thankfully, we got to wait outside the courtroom so it was a little less stressful.  When it was my turn to testify, I was escorted into the courtroom by the DA and told to take the witness stand. I won't bore you with all the details, just one. I saw the DA rifling through something on the desk and then she headed toward the witness stand.  Having seen enough legal shows--remember, we are huge 'Suits' fans--on TV, I figured she was going to show me some exhibits. The first was a credit but the second threw me for a loop as it was my license that I had been keeping as a remembrance from where we used to live.  I never thought I would see it again and I could not believe that I was seeing it I the courtroom today. It was surreal. I thought I had regained my composure until the DA asked if I had given the alleged criminal permission to bury them at his house.  Huh?  He saved these items and buried them at his house?  Once I got over the creepiness factor--okay, truth be known, I am so not over that part yet--all I could think about was how just plain stupid it was to bury evidence of a crime in your own backyard. Honestly, I suppose he is not a fan of crime shows because everyone knows not to bury evidence anywhere near your house.  Right?

So this one is behind me, something to cross of my list of things that need to be done. Tonight I have resigned myself to enjoying this accomplishment...I will worry about the next one in November or at least when I get the next subpoena (that would be number 8 for that trial and yes, I am bitter about that as well).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stroke of Luck

I think it is fair to say that almost everyone, on some level, would like to be lucky or, at least, think they are. Now I am not talking about a 'win the lottery' kind of lucky, but just your 'run of the mill things are working out for you' sort of feeling. I yearn for that feeling, spend countless time throughout the day trying to imagine how it might feel to be lucky, to have something work out in my favor. I am truly not as negative and whiny as I sound but I am beaten and exhausted from all the struggling and stress. So here is my question...can luck be changed ( and it's obvious correlate...where and how do I start?)?

Before we explore this any further, please let go of the suggestion that I need to be more positive or thankful. Believe me I am more than thankful for my amazing children and more than grateful that they are healthy. I used to be a lot more optimistic until things starting going wrong consistently, never turning around. We cannot catch a break.  Everyone has to handle difficult times but then they eventually move forward, everyone, it seems, except a select few who become mired in the hard times seemingly unable to pull it together and pull through.  Remember Brittany Spears and the head shaving incident?  I kind of get it now. Despite all your effort to turn it around and change the situation, you remain mired there, sometimes sinking even lower than you had ever thought possible.

So how does luck change?  Two people told me that I have bad juju (vibes or spirits) and that a good place to start a change would be to burn sage and cleanse each and every room of my house. Honestly, me-matches-house, not a good combo right now. My effort to rid my house of bad spirits would probably render us all homeless standing next to a pile of ashes. Another friend suggested an exorcist (I do remind myself of Linda Blair of late, totally possessed) but I doubt I will be able to find a priest who will perform the ritual.

So I am stumped. We have prayed, searched, changed our outlook, reduced our standards, made wishes on everything from stars to certain times of the day (my children say ' it is 10:10, make a wish') and still nothing changes.  I have tried to be positive and consistent with my children so that their outlooks are not colored by my own but my little guy asked me once if I really believed all the optimistic sentiment that comes out of my mouth. Truth be told, I would be lying if I told him I did but let's just keep that to ourselves, okay?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Question Marks

I am not a patient person by nature but I have had to cultivate at least a little patience over the past few years, less for my own self-preservation, but more to set an example and be a role model for my children. Let's face it, what type of parent would I be if I went off half-cocked over every alleged atrocity I feel I have had to deal with on a daily basis? That said, they have seen 'the real me' more often than I would like especially where our 'unemployment in seeming perpetuity' is concerned or my unlucky entanglement with these two trials is concerned as well.

Jury selection for one trial which had previously be continued 5, yes 5, times already was supposed to have started this past Wednesday.  I had even received a lovely email stating that this time (if I was dumb enough to believe it) there would be no more continuances and the trial would be happening as planned. Given all the trouble I have already experienced with the court, I did not believe the email which is the first truly smart thing I have done in a very long time. That said, my lack of confidence in all things legal these days did not for a moment lessen the blow when I learned that this trial would again not go off as planned.  Too many motions, a proposed deal on the table now...whatever.  It still means more waiting, more anxiety, more doubts and more all around frustration.

Two and a half years of legal runaround as a subpoenaed witness in two trials. When I think back to the day that I became a victim when I was robbed (which was two days before my husband lost his job...notice neither of these issues have been resolved to date), never did I think that reporting the crime would victimize me even more. All told, these trials have been continued a total of 12 times. I suppose it really is true, the wheels of justice turn slowly but sometimes they just grind to a halt.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I am at a loss.  When did my children become so needy?  While I am on the topic, how did they come to believe that what they want to say can be said at any time, regardless of whether or not someone else is speaking or involved in something else?  Specifically, that 'someone else' is usually me.  Sadly, I am actually the source of the problem to some extent as it is I who encouraged them to have opinions and to consider their feelings and needs whenever possible--often to the subjugation of my own feelings and needs.  Now, I seem to have created a monster...or four.

Some days I am so inundated with opinions, thoughts and needs that my mind can barely function on the basics; I find I am stumbling over my own words, forgetting the most obvious ones because there is just so much language flying around in my head. So now that I have identified the problem, how do I make it better you might ask?  I wish I had an answer. One of my biggest issues is that I really love the fact that they are so comfortable with discussing things with me and that they want to share their opinions with me-though maybe not all at the same time might be nice.  I wish they could understand that sometimes less really is more.

My husband thinks I am too lenient and available for them and perhaps he has a point, albeit a small one, but with one child talking about college non-stop, I am all too aware of how quiet this house will be.  One day all too soon, I am going to to wish my beautiful children would be needing me as much as they do right now.  That said, a little quiet might be nice!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Networking: A Four Letter Word

I have been struggling with the concept of networking for the past 2.5 years.  One might notice throughout my blogs the number of times I repeat the length of time my husband has been unemployed and one might think that I am doing so to drive the point home to my reader.  That would be a mistaken assumption as the real reason why I feel the need to reiterate that period of time is to, in fact, drive the point home to myself as I honestly cannot get my mind around it and digest it fully--even though I am living every single millisecond of worry day in and day out.  As I have been reminded time and again by my husband, networking is an invaluable (perhaps the penultimate) means of securing a new position.  Per usual, this is not working for us, however.  My husband is a masterful networker, never missing an opportunity to forge what might be the perfect relationship to get his foot in the door.  We always seem to have something pending but, alas, all without the necessary follow through that we had hoped the connection might bring.  Perhaps it could be said that our connections get us to the game, but their ability to close (or get the interview) might need some fine tuning. More likely, however, is that I am so impossibly fed up with this entire process from the job boards and their perpetually open positions, to the interview where the internal person is already essentially hired, to the interviews never obtained despite incredible and relevant experience.  I am so far past 'done' I cannot even put it into words.

I suppose it might be stating the obvious that I am in a rotten mood.  I just went on to check my saved listings and discovered that 'my' house on the beach was sold, the house I was determined to buy when we moved back to the east coast.  Now, did I expect them to keep it perpetually 'on sale' just waiting for me to show up with a  Okay, no, I didn't, but the sale of that house just underscores the loss of the dream that I had to move back home.  My house moved forward and sold itself, but we are still in the same situation. The months moving foreword as we are stagnating, growing more angry and frustrated by the minute.

I wish the new owner of my house lots of happiness and as they are walking down that wonderful stretch of beach that I so happily traversed a few months ago, I hope they realize just how lucky they are to be living in that wonderful home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lost His Mind

On many levels, this summer has been difficult, but recently we have added a new issue to the son is starting to lose his mind.  It started at the beginning of the summer when he felt that he could skate through the heat with nary a glance at a workbook or a blow into his clarinet.  Seems understandable enough given that he is thirteen now and all his 'teenage-ness' is rearing its ugly head, but add a job at the barn to this mix and we have a full-blown case of insanity on our hands. Let's look at this week alone and I know I need not remind you that, as yet, we have only reached Tuesday.  On Sunday morning, he 'hit' me (it seems the men in my family know only the ambush approach to communication) at 7am with the fact that a woman at the barn had given him her keys (OMG) to start her car to shut the windows since it had started raining.  First, shame on her a hundred times over because where I am from, we do not give children the keys to vehicles until they have a permit and we never give them the keys unsupervised the first time (I could go on and on about this but I think you get the point). Interestingly, once I revived and could focus, he proceeded to argue that he knew it was wrong to do it, but that somehow I was still wrong to point that out.  Huh?

Very early this morning, he proceeded to ask me if he could take a horse and ride to another counsellor's friend's house--oh, just across the pasture.  Now correct me if I am wrong but he is only thirteen, is riding a horse that is not his own, across a pasture to a house--better yet to someone's house I have never seen nor do I know the family--riding with people from the barn whom I do not know and who are not his instructors.  See the problem?  He doesn't.  Plus, adding insult to injury he had already run this one past my husband who told him 'not to even go there with mom.'  Sound advice, if only he had listened.

So clearly, my son has lost his mind.  If  I still had any mind left, mine would be going right about now, too.  I find it remarkable that two people could have four children and that each could be so different from each other.  Believe me, I am terrified as this is child number 2 but I think it will be children 3 & 4 who will really make me a candidate for the cuckoo's nest.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Okay, this is a good one.  Since our move here four long years ago we have had some unbelievably annoying things happen to us.  My purse was stolen not by just an unscrupulous teen, but by a 'criminal kingpin' as he was touted in a local newspaper.  As a result, I am now embroiled in over 2.5 years of legal mess, receiving subpoenas like clock work every three months for not one but two trials that never ever seem to get resolved in an actual courtroom.  My husband lost his job but out of respect for those who continue to read my blog, I will say nothing more about that debacle now.  There have been many other things that have happened but tonight's issue is a head scratcher.  We have been receiving what I had thought to be wrong number calls  for the past week or so.  Tonight, I got a call from Walgreen's asking to speak to someone who clearly does not live in our home.  When I told the pharmacist that the man she was asking for did not live here, she was shocked and stated that he had just left MY number as his contact number.  Okay.  Breathe.

So, what did I do? I immediately checked the internet to see if I could figure out what might be going on.  Of course, there this man and his wife were sitting pretty in my city with MY number listed as their own (yes, I realize this is not their fault but still).  I contacted our carrier who said he had not heard of anything like this happening in his entire career (I was not surprised at all because I hear that all the time when I tell someone some strange nutso thing that has happened to us.  I mean who gets let go 5 weeks after being hired, hmm.  Ever hear of that before?  I think  not).  Almost 45 minutes later and a 'technical work ticket' has been pulled for our problem, hopefully with a resolution in our favor in the near future.

In all honesty, you cannot make this stuff up.  I would write a book, you know,  but who the hell would believe it?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't Ask

I was having what I thought to be a casual conversation recently until the inevitable happened, the conversation made an awkward turn and my friend asked how we were doing. For most people, that question is completely innocuous and can taken quite lightly, however, for me it is the question I dread most these days given our situation.  Try as I might to steer all reference to our prolonged unemployed selves away, people always ask.  While I certainly don't mean to sound unappreciative of my own friend's concern, the depth to my uneasiness about this line of questioning makes my skin crawl.  My close friends not withstanding, I just cannot understand how people could continually ask a question for which I am sure they already know the answer.  Honestly, my husband has been unemployed for over 2.5 do you think I am doing right about now?  My 'favorite' question is when someone asks what we plan to do next or if we have a Plan B.  We actually have had Plans B, C and D but we tried those unsuccessfully about a year ago.  As for what comes next, who the heck knows.  We are trying our best but nothing seems to be working in our favor.

How can someone have the nerve (insensitivity) to tell me about how devastated our children must be. I would most certainly have to be brain dead and heartless to not be obsessed with the negative impact this situation is having on our children and their future.  I have actually had someone make a comment to me about how my husband and I are not 'making any memories' for our children such as eating out or taking vacations.  What do people think that at the anniversary of our one year unemployment my husband and I decided to take it for all it was worth just to screw the children up some more.  I mean c'mon.  Use your head people.  We are not just statistics but real people with feelings (lots of them) and guilt (more than you can ever imagine).  Think before you speak.  My husband even suggested it might be cathartic for me to write a book about what not to say to unemployed people--especially those who have passed the one year mark (just ignore those who have passed the two year mark as they really are too devastated to articulate how they are anyway).

While it is absolutely impossible to put yourself in our shoes right now and know the depth of our frustration and fear for the future, just know that part of the process of my surviving these circumstances stems from my ability to 'pretend' we are normal sometimes. Rather than beat an already dead issue (we cannot say the phrase 'dead horse' in our family because my son is a rider!), we will not be okay until my husband finds a job.  So now you know, don't ask anymore.  Okay?

Friday, July 13, 2012


I suppose it being the middle of summer and all, one might expect the title of this blog to relate to the weather  but one would be mistaken.  'Hot' actually refers to my mood and not the soaring temperatures.  Without disclosing all the details of today's (interesting that it is , in fact, Friday the 13th) frustrations, let's just say it was yet another day filled with annoying neighbors. I am so tired of being patient and understanding with them.  You see, I was brought up to believe that I needed to be 'the bigger person'--it is my mom's almost all-time favorite mom-ism--which translates loosely to taking the high road at all times.  I was also taught to respect other people in the fullest sense of the word from their opinions to their time, property, feelings and everything in between.  Apparently, a few of my neighbors did not have the same upbringing or, if they did, they have selective retention and they did not retain the important things.

I am tired of being Mrs. Nice, of being accommodating to disrespectful children and their parents and of being taken advantage of just because I chose to stay at home with my children (emphasis on 'my').  My mom tells me that I am 'too nice' and that I should be treating those in question as they treat me--please take note of the fact that this is in direct opposition to the way she raised me!  Apparently my nieghbors' behavior is ticking her off as well.  Break point!

I read a book many years ago that related to a woman's inner bitch.  I am beginning to feel her ugly head rising from deep within my soul and I have the distinct impression I might be embracing her before summer's end.  My outer good girl is cracking and my inner bitch is craving her chance in the sun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


We just moved rapidly past the 2.5 year mark of unemployment--do we really count those five weeks of glory in MA, I think not--and we are still battling this demon.  I must preface this by saying that I am in the worst mood ever today, a mood I have not been in in quite a while.  I cannot seem to be able to get away from myself and my own dark thoughts of what will happen to us and when this nightmare will be over.  Adding insult to injury, I had a moment this morning and resumed trolling the job boards.  Big mistake.  Obviously, I have become a self-proclaimed job search queen given my experience and it enrages me to see the same positions open month after month after month.  Seriously, what is going on in these companies?  Are they planning to fill these jobs (or at least purge them from the boards) or are the hiring managers so paralyzed by their quest for perfection (and the glut of potential candidates) that they cannot make a decision.  Let's face it, I have been accused of being far too black and white in my approach to life, grounded in realism and unable to 'lighten up' and 'just be,' but I also know that some companies have to be hiring someone,

I have to believe that the law of averages would dictate that with all the resumes we have sent out and all the networking that has been done by both my husband, myself and my mom, there has to be a job for which my husband is suitable somewhere in the continental US.  For heaven's sake, he has close to 30 years experience in the same field and while I know he has some things going against him, his skill set has to add value to the efficient running of a creative services department somewhere in the nation.

Obviously, I am also a control freak and the absolute best way to throw me over the edge is to present me with a huge problem and then allow me no way to proactively find the solution--oh, yeah, and then just keep it moving in an unchanging, stifling, slow crawl ad infinitum (throw in two trials moving concurrently in exactly the same manner and you really have a recipe for disaster).

I have begun to feel quite akin to that lowly hamster in the wheel.  Calgon take me away!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Being such uber-readers of my blog you have to have started worrying about me by now, no?  I mean, after all, it has been a whole ten days without a post in sight.  Oh, sure, you have probably started thinking that perhaps my life has turned around and we are happily ensconced in our 'new normal' or perhaps traveling to some exotic location for a well-deserved and long overdue vacation.  Some of you might even be thinking that I have gotten just so busy with the hustle and bustle of summertime fun that I could not grab a spare moment to regal you with the details of my new found and exciting life.

Alas, the real reason for this ten day hiatus may indeed have something to do with the overbearing temperatures we have been enduring because I have a wicked case of 'writer's block.'  Perhaps more appropriate terminology might be that my brain is fried--literally.  I can't think.  Basically, 'I got nothing.'  I am going out on a limb here, but I am guessing that deep in the throes of the summer heat, no one cares if we are still unemployed (we are) or if I am still impossibly depressed (I am) but, if you are like me (don't get too scared, I don't think you can catch bad luck from reading a blog) you are looking for some way to cool off and lighten your mood.

I apologize for not being able to offer some light-hearted banter to distract you from the seemingly never-ending heat wave.  While my words fail me of late, however,  I will give you a visual of my thoughts right now (no, it is not a picture of my husband happily employed, so rest easy) and where I long to be...

I give you what I affectionately like to think of as 'my beach'--Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA

Stay cool...

Monday, June 25, 2012


Last year, my son informed me that we would be watching a new show on USA entitled 'Suits' partly because of his love of all things related to the legal field and partly because of his being enamoured of the main character, Harvey Spector. To my son, Harvey is the embodiment of all my son yearns to be--rich, powerful,  intelligent and a great dresser to boot.  The show became 'our thing' to watch on a Thursday night and I loved the closeness I had with my son as we both discussed the plot, characters and how we thought the storyline might develop.  This summer, as we awaited the show's return, my son decided to dabble in a little 'truth is stranger than fiction' by trying to emulate Harvey Spector's aggressive and dynamic personality in the quest of a job for himself.  My son sent out letters to twenty law firms in the area soliciting a position as an unpaid summer intern (at 15 years old, with no license, he is somewhat limited in what he could do).  My hope was that the mere act of writing and mailing these letters would be a learning experience for him--my dream was that he would hear from at least one firm.

Well, this morning my son channeled Harvey yet again to 'wow' the senior partner of the law firm who had contacted him last week.  After an hour and a half interview (yep, for an unpaid summer intern position no less), my son landed the job!  Could I be anymore proud of his initiative and ambition? I think not.  He clearly left an impression on the senior partner as well as he told my son that he reminded him of himself. I had actually thought that the job description would encompass lots of grunt work but my son was asked to bring his laptop as he would be working with a law student doing legal research!  So rich and powerful will come in time, the intelligence he clearly possesses and he is a fantastic dresser already (what other 15 year old boy would choose Brooks Brothers as his favorite store?).  Harvey would be so proud but no where near as proud as I am of my son right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Title Search

Last night, I was reading a magazine while my family watched TV but I got distracted by a commercial for yet another reality series, this one entitled "Mountain Man."  Honestly, the premise for the show is totally irrelevant but it did start me thinking about other reality shows such as "Hillbilly Handfishing," "Hoarders" and "Gator Boys" and how they could possibly have a following.  If they are in any way remotely entertaining, their value is completely lost on me, however, I started to realize that just like my grandma had always told me, 'there is a cover for every pot' (or, in this case, viewers for every one of these inane shows).  If this is true, then there would have to be viewers for my newly conceptualized show about my husband and our quest to find him a job.  Can you imagine the networking opportunity a reality series would provide for him?  Let's face it, we have tried everything else to no avail so I say what the heck!

Clearly being the talented writer (bah ha) in the family, I am the logical choice to develop the show and, of course, my caustic wit (bah ha again) makes me the perfect fit for narrator as well.  My husband and I will do the talk show circuit with him explaining what he actually does (did) for a living--believe me, not even our family truly gets the scope of what it is that he actually does so this is a very important step--and he can regale the likes of Kathy Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer with the highs (very few) and lows (way too many) of the job search process.  The public will love us and our story as our viewership will be constantly reassured that their lives are not as bad as they had thought--heck, they could be us.  Our show will be a TLC or History Channel hit right up there with the likes of 'Toddlers and Tiaras."  The show cannot fail as we are like a train wreck--you simply cannot look away.  Companies will be clamoring to get their hands on my husband.  Now, if only I could come up with the right name for the show.  Wait, I've got it!  "Screwed!"

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have always questioned other people's motivation for doing something because in order to live my life happily, I need answers.  I am not one to move merrily along in a fog of denial or to feel that ignorance in any way, shape or form could possibly be bliss.  I crave reason and explanation. So imagine my concern when my husband called me over to the computer to see a new Linkedin invitation from the owner of the company who had just let him go after only 5 weeks of employment.  For those not following my blog closely, that job came after over 2 years of unemployment and required a move back to the east coast--a move that would have made me extremely happy.  Now, because of this man's seemingly irrational or at the very least unusual decision, we find ourselves re-opening the job search.  This same man had encouraged a quick sale of our house (which is currently off the market as my husband searches for a job yet again) to alleviate my husband's traveling back home from the coast each month.  This same man who devastated not only me and my husband but our children as well now wants to be a contact on a professional networking site?  Just plain crazy.

I know there are those who will argue that the owner's decision was 'just business' and that we should not be taking it personally, but that is impossible.  Business is business but professional (and personal) ethics should be a part of the business world.  Had he not deceived my husband and told him that the company would be restructuring in a month or so, we would not have put our house up on the market, had the children test into new schools or looked at houses.  Likewise, my husband would not have lost valuable time networking and continuing to look for a permanent job.  So now I am going crazy trying to understand why this man would want to 'connect' with my husband.  Let's face it, how could it not drive me crazy as this man had to knowingly look at my husband's name and think before he hit the 'connect' button.  To what end?  Does he want to check out my husband's contacts?  Why would he want my husband to have access to his contacts?

My saddest realization is that to this man, my husband meant absolutely nothing.  He is not thinking about what he did to us at all but, rather, he is looking to expand his contact list as that is all my husband would be- yet another name on an ever-lengthening list of contacts.  Well, since my husband called me over to read the request, I told him exactly what I thought he should write in response.  After we cleaned up the language a little, he did send a message to him.  I had hoped my husband would have written my original message but, you see, he is far too professional to have done so.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ride On

I just received a call from my son's riding instructor telling me what a 'rock star' he has been as a counselor at riding camp thus far.  I could not be more proud of him and how he is handling all the hard work it takes to both help run the barn and the camp efficiently--of course, coming home everyday smelling like the barn and its inhabitants is a horse of another color (sorry, I could not resist).  I should not be surprised by his determination and love of the sport as he made the decision to ride back when he was a mere three years old.  As we drove by a riding stable on our way home one day, he spied the horses and said 'me ride hawse, Mommy.'  Perhaps most parents in this situation would have written this utterance off as your typical three year old comment but my son suffered from a speech issue which greatly delayed his ability to string two or three words together until a couple of years later.  Believe me, he spoke and I listened.  The fact that he said that phrase to me still sends shivers down my spine.  I immediately looked into a camp which started teaching preschoolers the basics of riding and he attended for two years.  At the end of the second year, he asked to take lessons which I allowed him to do despite how scared I am of the sport and of seeing my small son riding that very large horse.

I was just telling my dad this morning that I started buying lessons in 10 week blocks because with my son being so young and with tastes and wants changing with little ones as they do, I did not want to commit to a longer period.  Well, my rider is now 13 years old and as of this September, he will be riding for 8 years.  He has experienced falls, not placing high enough for his liking in shows and, unfortunately, lots of bullying at school (but who is enjoying the last laugh now as my son is hanging out with the girls at the barn as a teenager). But he has never wavered in his desire to continue riding.  I suppose it really is time to buy more than 10 lessons at a time now, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Working Summer

Each year as summer break approaches, I attempt to plan out the summer often assigning the season a theme.  We have seen 'The Summer of Eating Healthy' and 'The Summer of Death' (way too many road kill sightings for my blood) among others.  In addition to my themes, which may or may not be followed through but which sound super-organized and motivating at the end of the school year, I plan our 'working' time which revolves around workbooks and math facts.  The workbooks are certainly not greeted with the same enthusiasm as mom's crazy summer themes, but the children do them none the less.  Of course, the fun of it for me is all in their individual approaches and how true to their personalities they approach the work.

My eldest, a textbook firstborn, knows what he needs to accomplish and for the most part--hey, its summer so some lazing around is downright necessary--he gets it done with little complaint.  My next in line starts strong but after a week or so realizes that our morning routine consists of work and that school was out a week ago (hence, no more work) and begins to fade...and whine, a lot.  My daughter is an eager beaver who 'loves, loves, loves' school and will sit with her books and work on them both inside and out not unlike her mom who used to do the exact same thing each summer.  Be assured that this same daughter could not be any more opposite her mom when it comes to everything else beyond academics just to keep me on my toes.

This leaves my youngest, the little one who would make the penultimate military school candidate.  His approach to these workbook pages is nothing short of neurotic--again, yet another maternal trait I passed on--waking early, reading first and then immediately getting started without prompting.  The best part is that he will continue with this 'do it early so it does not need to be done later' approach for the entire summer.  I wish I could bottle his work ethic (yes, he is this way with everything that needs to get done) and sell it.  Heck, I wish I could douse his brother with his enthusiasm then maybe we could have a whine-free summer and stay academically current to boot.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The First Day

Our summer vacation officially started yesterday but since the children did have three and a half  hours of school, today marks the true start of summer break.  Given that we had our sights set on moving (I will not even begin to bore you will the emotional trauma of taking the house off the market for all the wrong reasons), the reality of this summer is far different from the one I had planned back in March.  That said, it is upon us and we need to make the best of it and since I am not one to run from a challenge, let the games begin!  Thus far this morning, aside from my usual daily chores, I have mediated approximately 121 sibling squabbles.  I have encouraged continuing the practice of daily reading with my little one (not his favorite thing to do but this is non-negotiable), encouraged his sister to straighten out a cabinet in her room (how is she my daughter???), dropped the pup off at the groomer, attempted a cursory food shopping (amazing how 4 children could have oh so many opinions) and put up tent in our basement (of course they are not happily engaged together in it as promised, but  I since I was not in the slightest optimistic about that, no harm, no foul).  That said, it is now barely noon...on Day is going to be a long summer.

This afternoon we need to pick up our fresh smelling Phoebe from the groomer and then eat an early dinner as we have a Little League game tonight.  Not exactly the way I would have planned my birthday but at least is not 105 degrees like it was last year. A small victory in the war of an unstructured summer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

If It Can, It Will

Sunday morning was just like any other weekend morning except that as I was washing the dishes, I noticed a distinct and lacking quality to the water I was using.  The quality I was looking for was temperature, namely heat and not the icy cold temperature I was feeling.  I really wanted and needed some warmth as I knew (I am pretty smart about things like this), this could not be good.  Hey, when I am right, I am right, you know.  My son often jokes that he wishes I could 'call' some good things (like lottery numbers) the way I just 'know' when things are going to be bad.  Of course, this dramatic drop in water temperature could not be something simple that a plumber could fix with only a modest outlay of money.  Oh, no!  Given our wicked run of misfortune these past few years, I had an inkling this one was going to be a whopper.

One big leak and one emergency call to the plumber yielded a brand-spanking new hot water heater for the next owner of our house.  It would have been nice if the old water heater could have sucked it up and lasted for a few more months but as my best friend tells me 'if I did not have bad luck, I would have no luck at all.' I could not agree with her more.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Breakdown Lane

A few years ago when my children were attending a school back east, one of my best friends who worked off the same exit as the school, handed me a cheat sheet of sorts.  Because she had traveled the same road for years, she had written down a variety of detours for how to get to the school if the main highway had too much traffic.  Although we lived only three exits from the school, the most direct route was a main thoroughfare that could make the trip either fifteen minutes or an hour depending on the flow of traffic.  Armed with my cheat sheet, I knew I could simply get off the road at any of the three exits and reduce our travel time considerably.  I wish my life had those viable detours right now.  Actually, I would settle for just one.  Detours to my life right now set off cataclysmic domino effects which all seem to lead to dead ends, not faster or better ways of taking the journey.

Another friend tells me that she often needs to find moments to 'just be' which is her way of finding 'clarity in the moment.'  Clarity?  In the moment?  I am never 'in the moment' because my mind is constantly assessing situations, prioritizing and weighing potential ramifications of all that I do.  I have been told that my mind is like a computer with way too many programs open and running in the background--always.  I once bought a yoga DVD to try to help in my quest for calm.  I ended up yelling at the TV after 10 minutes because the yoga master was moving so slowly I had lost my patience.  It made a nice donation item.  I hope the recipient found the calm and focus that had eluded me.

I am still looking for that detour.  Maybe one day soon, I will get a new cheat sheet so that I may skirt some of this traffic in my mind.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Magazine Expectations

I never deny the fact that I have a love/hate relationship with HGTV stemming from a love of the show 'Househunters' but with  the concern that the very same show is raising potential buyers' expectations to impossible heights.  Yes, you guessed it, we are trying to sell our house and we are definitely running into buyers who are clearly not only watching the show, but taking copious notes as well.  This weekend, I stumbled across the HGTV magazine and an article on what a seller should do to prep his home for a quick sale.  I read the article and I think I passed out from the shock of it, but once I came to, I realized for certain that we may never sell our home.

The article was filled with little tidbits like removing 50% of the contents of your closets so that the potential buyer thinks you have ample closet space.  Okay, where do we put the 50% we just removed?  We can certainly not put it in a spare room (if we had one) because then we would take up valuable floor space thus making that room seem smaller than it already is--a realtor no-no.  Shall we then rent storage space?  Who is paying for that monthly bill and what happens if the seasons change while we are trying to sell and we need those items back in our now half-empty closets?  Frustrating, yup?  I also read where sellers should replace soap with fresh bars or bottles before each showing.  Seriously?  Likewise, neutralizing paint colors--i.e. repainting those designer colors you fell in love with for those with a tone more appealing to the masses.  Quite frankly, we don't have the money nor the time for this foolishness and buyers need to have some vision when traipsing through the homes of others.

I have always taken great pride in the way I keep my home with clutter to a minimum, daily vacuuming and colorizing my closets--yes, all of them.  If a potential buyer cannot look beyond the fact that we are still living here without the disposable income to reduce our closet contents by half, repaint and top off our soap bottles before every showing, maybe he should stick to looking at new construction exclusively.  That way someone else's life will not be in the way of the buyer's 'visualizing himself in the space' (that is realtor-speak for a buyer trying to decide if he likes your house or not).

Friday, May 25, 2012


So here is my dilemma for the day (okay, so it is not just the dilemma for today but it has been my dilemma for far too many days it seems) to help my husband find a job.  Yes, for those of you who have been following my blog since its first post, I am still on this topic.  How could that be you might ask?  I wish I had an answer for you but I just don't.  Had anyone told me that my husband would be unemployed for almost 2.5 years, I would never have believed them.  Let's face it, how could that be possible, right?  He has umpteen years experience, all in the same field; he has been promoted many times and had reached a considerable level before unemployment relegated us to this unfortunate position.  We become more disheartened and depressed as we tick off each day --which turn into weeks, then months, then...well, you get the picture--because we are taking all the necessary steps to finding a new position. Placement agency...check, attended weekly sessions for two years; networking...check, my husband has spent over 2 years on a caffeine high with all the meetings he has been to; online job boards...check, these are my domain and I scour them multiple times daily sending potential jobs to my husband for review.  Personally, this is the least satisfying aspect of the job search as I cannot get my mind around how these positions can remain open for so long on the boards. Is it just terrible housekeeping or do companies simply not want to fill the jobs they list?  He sends resume after resume but it seems they all land in the abyss as no one calls to set up an interview.

A word about the resume since I seem to be on a roll.  Given my bent toward writing and my husband's desperation to get an interview, his resume has been revised approximately three hundred times (okay, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration...295).  I know this resume so well that I should be call prospective employers and tell them instead of sending the written version.  Heck, I might be onto something.  How much worse could it get?

How much longer until this terrible chapter in our lives will be over.  What next?  How do we make something happen?  Imagine how much better my blog would be if I could just move off of this topic?  I feel as though if I were writing to an advice columnist about our situation, I would need to sign my letter "hoping for change...and soon."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Big Show

The last of our school productions is tonight and our youngest is the participant.  Thus far, he has sat through two band performances, one school musical and an Honor's Band Recital (not to mention a few lacrosse games thrown in for good measure), but tonight he is the star of the show--in my eye's anyway.  I have had quite a preview already given that it is all he has spoken about for weeks and yet I am so excited about tonight's performance.  I am marveling in my little one's enthusiasm as he as always been the reluctant participant--the child who looked like a deer in headlights up on stage and oh, the torture it was to convince him to get on the stage in the first place.  I could never rest in the audience for fear that he might have a breakdown and need to be removed from the stage.  Okay, it only happened once, back in pre k 3, but it was gruesome.  Picture this.  I am the penultimate wallflower, the type of person who goes out of her way to stay out of view and there is my son, on stage, quite visibly 'losing it.'  I tried giving him 'the eye,' trying desperately to mentally cajole him into pulling it together and staying on stage.  Alas, he wasn't buying any of my desperation and his quiet sobs soon became and all out cry fest.  I had no choice but to remove him from the stage lest he disrupt the rest of the show for the other parents whose children were regaling them with their rendition of Skidamarink. In the meantime, sweat poured down my back as my eyes darted for the nearest exit, my son in a football hold under my arm. It seemed as though time stood still and everyone eyes were on me, partially annoyed at the disruption and partially thankful that it was my child causing the ruckus and not there's.

Thankfully, I have no such worries tonight as my son is a changed boy, no longer the one cowering in the back, but confident and eager to get on the stage (and get it over with!).  I must admit, however, with my high schooler attending an uber-special political dinner tonight and my little guy ready and happy to take the stage with his friends, I long for that preschooler who could not bear to be apart from me. If only I could turn back the clock for a little while to be needed like that again.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Home Buying Madness

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am not a fan of television.  I come from a long line of TV lovers or should I say TV addicts and despite their best efforts, they have yet to sway my feelings toward the tube.  That said, I will watch one show and it is that same show that seems to be doing me in with regard to the sale of our house.  I love to watch Househunters on HGTV, domestic or international, both on most nights.  I just love it.  I love playing voyeur and poking through other people's homes, seeing how they live and deciding whether or not I agree with the couple's ultimate home choice.  Now, here comes the problem.  Potential home buyers must be addicted to the show as well because now if your wall color is not neutral enough or your home does not 'have the right flow for entertaining' (do all these people really entertain that much?), your house is knocked right off the list.  Back in the day (you know, when there were fewer realtors and buyers understood that they were not buying the furnishings, merely the house), you bought a house with 'good bones' and then you understood that you got to choose your own paint color, change carpeting you did not like or buy new appliances...these things would not be provided for you.

It is bad enough that the expectation is that that you need to 'de-personalize' your house so that the potential buyer can picture his/her things in it.  Huh?  I am still living here, right?  Not everyone can afford to store all their things so that buyers can look at an empty house.  Have some vision people! Open your minds!  You are not buying the current homeowners stuff, just the house.  Jeesh.

Every time I hear someone on Househunters say they do not like the ceiling fan or the color of the walls, I cringe.  Perhaps I need to produce a show myself.  I might call it Homesellers and then we can get homeowners commenting on potential buyers.  Think about how much fun that would be.  I would love to tell a potential buyer that I do not want to sell to them because their little boy just jumped up on my son's bed (true story) and she did nothing to stop him.  Payback is, well, you know what it is and in this case, it would just be sheer bliss.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Marking Time

Yesterday someone told me that I should look at this time of my life as an adventure.  The interesting thing is that in the beginning, I suppose I did exactly that to some extent.  Back in January of 2010 when we first found ourselves unemployed the prospect of change and of not knowing where we might be living had a certain appeal--despite the terrifying financial pallor cast over it. I never felt as though I totally fit in here in MN so the prospect of a move was, in fact, part of my adventure.  Of course, as the months and then the years (!!!) flew by, my optimism and the spirit of adventure quickly reduced itself to a stark, cold reality and a nauseating sense of defeat.  It is impossible to understand how powerless you can feel as you try to be as proactive as you can in finding a new job--endless phone calls, resume revisions, online applications and networking with anyone and everyone you meet--and still no one is calling you for an interview.   I spend a good part of each and every day grappling with trying to understand how all these positions can be listed on job sites but it seems as though no one is trying to fill them.  Law of averages dictates that if we do all the right things, sooner or later someone is going to call for an interview, no?  My husband is convinced of this--me, not so much anymore.

Now the adventure has turned into one of those unbelievable stories that you see on the news.  You know the type like that poor bear who was saved from being stuck in the tree only to be hit and killed by not one but two vehicles a mere few days later.  The uncertainty of not knowing where we will be living or where the children will be going to school is not an adventure at all--it is a full-blown nightmare with no end in site right now.  So, call it what you will, but after two plus years of marking days, I call this my own personal hell.  Adventures are over-rated.  I will opt for stability any day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Mother's Day?  Really?  Wasn't this supposed to be the relaxing, wonderful, stress-free day where I got to do what I wanted?  I suppose my children did not get the memo as my day was filled with the usual laundry, ironing, cleaning, vacuuming, report proofreading, arguing over Latin projects, a science project, meal making, kitchen cleaning and dog walking that every other Sunday (or day for that matter) consists of.  Yet something was different.  My husband was missing from the mix as he is out of town and yet he still had presents ready for me this morning just as he always does.  My oldest 'played Dad' when doling out cards and gifts while my husband sat with us at the table listening in--okay, he was not sitting there exactly but the phone was set on speaker which had to suffice.  The fact that he put the time and energy into buying and then wrapping these gifts prior to leaving means the world to me.  I know it bothers him that he could not be home today but that is what made it a special day for me.  Given our current situation it would it would have been very easy--and certainly understandable--for him to get lost in his own head and to have forgotten to buy something for me knowing how unnecessary it really is right now. 

So maybe I mediated the same sibling squabbles throughout the day and grew weary of answering the same questions as I do every day, but it was special none the less because my husband is teaching our children the importance of making mom feel loved even if distance separates us right now.  Of course, if he could teach them to squabble less, I would really appreciate that, too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Letter

For those just tuning in, my purse was stolen from my car over two years ago and going along with the rotten luck I seem to be having of late, it was not stolen by a mere teenager looking for some fast cash.  Oh, no!  My purse was stolen by a group of criminals that police from multiple jurisdictions have been trying to apprehend for quite a while.  The good news is that they caught some of them and, interestingly enough, that is the bad news as well.  I am now a subpoenaed witness in two trials that have been postponed a total of 11 times over the past two years.  I am not an eyewitness but for reasons I shall not go into here, I must be present in the courtroom.  The alleged criminals have all the rights as apparently, the victims lose theirs when they are victimized.  Out of frustration and my never ending need to explain why I get so frustrated over these postponements, I wrote the following letter to the Assistant DA yesterday.  Please note that all names have been removed from the letter for privacy purposes and to keep me from getting into anymore trouble than I already am.  I certainly do not think that anything will come of this letter, but sometimes I need to be heard even when no one wants to listen.

Dear Ms. XXXX,

I just got off the phone with XXXX and I must say that I am more than a little upset, not with her, mind you, as she has always been most pleasant and forthcoming, but with the MN judicial system as a whole.  I was just told that the (insert alleged criminal's name here) trial has been continued for the fourth time.  First, my experience as a subpoenaed witness in both the (alleged criminal) and (other alleged criminal) trials has shown me that victims have no rights, unlike the alleged criminals.  I never knew that once a person received a subpoena, all his rights were eradicated.  Second, I did not realize that trials could be continued repeatedly for such issues as unlimited changes in attorney, judges taking vacations without replacements and more reasons that I have not been made privy to.  To think that in total, these two trials have been continued 11 times and counting is mind boggling to a mere victim like myself--so much for the concept of a ‘right to a speedy trial’ that I thought existed.  The alleged criminal perpetrated the original crime and then the state of MN re-victimizes us by allowing those alleged criminals the opportunity to play the system.  Clearly, if the (alleged criminal) trial had been completed in February, he would not have had yet another opportunity to switch attorneys and cause yet another continuance.

I thought that having my purse stolen was awful but it pales in comparison to having these trials take this long to be resolved.  There is so much more to my life than these trials that I am obsessing over—terrified of the actual testimony itself. I find it unbelievable that that there is no system in place to allow the victim the chance for video testimony or signed affidavit—of course, that is because the criminal has the right to face his accuser and the victim has no rights. I am not even the one who is making any accusations as I did not see anything in the first place!

 Two days after my purse was stolen, my husband lost his job.  He searched for two years and finally found another one.  Five weeks later on Good Friday, April 6, 2012, he was let go as the company restructured and reduced its senior management team.  I am beyond stressed with worry about our lack of income, about my children and how they are coping with this all over again and the thought of potentially losing our house.   To think that these alleged criminals are working the system as they are because they are being allowed to while I worry about when I can have some closure to this nightmare is certainly more than a little frustrating.

Ms.  XXXX, I am a writer and I write partly because it is cathartic but also because I feel that if you don’t let others know how you feel or why you re upset, than no one can help you.  I simply cannot believe that I cannot put this behind me and that I have absolutely no control over this situation.  Clearly, being victimized over and over again is quite difficult to handle.  I just want to have closure with this awful time in my life.

Thank you for understanding.