Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Auf Wiedersehen 2013

Good-bye and good riddance to 2013, not our finest or happiest year for sure.  While that is not entirely true because there were high points such as college acceptances, enjoyable school shows and concerts and all the joy that children bring, there was a mighty low when my husband lost his job again. So here we sit, poised yet again at the start of the new year full of promise and opportunity. The only difference is that this year, I am not feeling it at all. This is the fourth year that we are in the same position without a job and to be honest, I have grown fearful of being optimistic.  More to the point, based on our experiences over the past three plus years, I feel foolish being optimistic only to get my hopes up and then have them dashed yet again. To dream about a better job this time, one more stable and (dare I even say it out loud) one that actually pays well seems almost ridiculous.  But, since the new year is all about fresh starts, resolutions and change, I have decided to adjust my unemployment battle-weary approach to the year ahead and embrace a new, fresh attitude.

This year, I say to hell with positivity (a word I detest even on a good day) and to being the 'bigger person' (my mom's mantra) all the time. Somewhere along the way in my journey these past four years, I got lost.  Terribly cliche, no?  Between this seemingly endless search for yet another job for my husband, the constant tumult of our lives as a result and the chaos I feel we have heaped on our children, I stopped being the 'me' I used to know. These days, I am filled with self-doubt and concern at our inability to turn this rotten financial situation around. I have been second-guessing my choices and I am in a state of perpetual stress.

So, though I am not a believer in resolutions for many reasons, I have written some goals for myself on Post-It notes so that I can carry them with me as constant reminders of staying the course.  While I am hoping that 2014 brings lots of positive change for us, based on the past few years, I am even more cautiously optimistic than usual.  I do know, however, that I am going to try to get a little bit of my old self back by not listening so fervently to what other people feel I should be doing but, rather, to do what I want to do even if that does not make me the 'bigger person' as often as my mom might like.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A New Venture

Frankly, I never really knew what I wanted to be 'when I grew up.'  My eldest has known he wants to be an attorney since sixth grade, never wavered in his decision, not once. I, on the other hand, wanted to be everything and nothing, which I always found odd for a person who sees only black and white in life, not a drop of gray.  I toyed with a variety of professions from psychologist, which I discounted because I was never totally sold on the prospect of being around people who might be unpredictable, to being an attorney which was a dream I never followed through with for a variety of reasons.  Although I always felt that I was the corporate type and proved quite successful as an electronics buyer for a major department store, I knew I had finally found my calling when my first son was born. In an instant (okay, more like 13.5 hours of hard labor), I realized that being a mom was the reason I was put on this earth and just to confirm my suspicions, I tested my hypothesis three more times just to be sure.  I simply cannot believe that in a mere seventeen years since my first was born, I find myself readying for the inevitable departure of said firstborn as he heads off to college.

So, with that moment hanging in the all too near future and with my husband's constant urging encouragement, I have decided to find a little something to do (in addition to taking care of my three other adorable children, that is) to occupy my mind so that I don't go totally insane worrying about my son being away at college. Tall order for this mom, but I am giving it a whirl (the old 'college try' wink, wink). Interestingly, the process of deciding what to do now closely resembled the process decades ago only this time it included my husband lobbing ideas at me, too. Editor?  Nah, been there and did that. Proofreader?  Bor-ing!  Teacher?  Nope, adore my children, but other people's children sometimes not so much. I wanted to utilize my writing skills but I really wanted to work from home, not a fan of traveling in our long winters plus this wallflower works best when she works alone. So, after much deliberation and far too much agonizing, I decided that I was going to try being a writing consultant. Kind of interesting, a blend of using my skill set in an environment in which I am most comfortable, a soft re-entry into the work force, so to speak. There you have it.  Who knows where this decision might lead in the long run, but for now, I am enjoying the planning process and trying not to count the days until we pack the car for the first trip off to college...imagine the blog I will be writing for that journey.  Grab your tissues now, folks, I promise it will be ugly.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Outside the Box

I am currently in the process of transferring items from one website to a new site I just started using a new hosting service (www.intentionalmusing.com).  Since I just had to reread all the essays on the old site, I could not stop myself from writing a fourth entry (!) in what was supposed to be a trilogy of unemployment essays. Lucky me, the saga continues. It seems we are stuck in the same place and yet time has moved forward making me feel ever so ineffectual and wildly agitated. Unfortunately, I seem to lack the ability to find a new job for my husband all while being terribly sad that one of my children seems mired in an issue that I cannot resolve fast enough for my liking. Control freak, who me?

I desperately need some sort of outlet for all the stress and frustration I have been feeling and while writing has always been my 'thing,' my way of finding focus, it, too, seems to be failing me right now. After careful analysis, I now realize why I am not getting as much out of writing as I used to in the past. I write best about what I find most close to my heart and the personal stuff in my life right now is just plain old depressing. So, I have decided to think outside the box and go outside my comfort zone, my comfy wallflower, duck the spotlight safety zone, and totally throw myself out there. No, I am not becoming a cabaret singer or selling everything off and moving to some foreign land no matter how tempting that might be these days. I have always tried to model for my the children the importance of facing your fears head on and so, feeling at a loss about the next topic to write about, I am turning it over to you, dear readers. I have read enough blogs to realize that this is an interesting way to not only discover a little about my readers, but also to perhaps shove me out of my inertia.  Don't be fooled by my bravado because I am a nervous wreck as this suggestion is a double-edged sword. What happens if no one has a question for me or what if I need to face a critique of my writing that might not be so PC?

Well, I suppose I will just have to 'buy a coping skill' because nothing could be worse than being trapped in your own mind or thoroughly bored with your own ideas. I need a distraction from my life right now. Who's brave enough to be the first one to offer a topic or ask a question?  I look forward to reading your comment.  This could be fun all around.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Self Talk

Those who know me well know that I come from a long line of women who worry and being the type A+ person that I am, I have taken the worry gene to new heights. I obsess about everything from the smallest issue like whether or not I can have one load of  laundry washed/dried and put away before we leave for school to how we are going to survive the third round of unemployment without imploding. Both my mom and my husband agree that I even worry about the fact that I might not have anything to worry about though sadly, that has not happened since 2002.  Right now we are facing a struggle with one of our children that has me impossibly sad and being the proactive person that I am, I need (notice I did not say want) to fix this, but the remedy seems somewhat elusive right now. We are working it though and part of that process for me means that I need to talk about it 24/7.  Talking and communicating help me process and order the chaos in my life.  Unfortunately for me, the same is not true for my husband which has led me to talking to my dog, Phoebe, almost non-stop. Poor Phoebe lived through what we in our family call the Boston Debacle, essentially Round 2 of unemployment, and she is sick of listening to me. I have said this before but I swear if she could talk like Martha the Talking Dog, a children's book that my son and I have read over and over, the first words she would say to me are 'shut up!'  Those words might be followed by the suggestion that I get some therapy and fast.

My mom has told me for years to 'talk to myself' when feeling stressed and by this she means that type of calming self-talk which would not only help me to put the situation in perspective, but might perhaps offer a more 'glass half-full' approach to my stressor. Over the past few years, I have talked to myself in this manner so many times that I have begun to tune myself out, basically my self-talk pretty much consists of me telling myself to shut up. Obviously, my 'self' has been talking to Phoebe.

Recently, Phoebe saw me watching my son's new beta fish, Shark.  Afterward, she pranced over and started barking at the little Art Deco tank in which Shark swims happily, staring at us as we watch him swim or nestle in the pretty pale blue blue rocks on the bottom of his abode. At first, I thought Phoebe was jealous that I was paying attention to Shark, but now I realize she was trying to clue him in that he might be my next 'therapist.'  I think if she could speak she would want him to know not to make eye contact with me or I might start prattling on and on about this problem or that, one stress or another, bemoaning how we ended up in this infuriating and frustrating situation. Phoebe truly is precious to want to protect her little fish sibling from me. I actually wish my children were as kind to each other as Phoebe is to Shark. That said, Shark had better watch out because while Phoebe can walk away, he is the proverbial sitting duck and I am feeling very chatty these days.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Get Back

I have never been more frustrated or stuck in a bad place in my life before now.  Emotionally mired in muck. My son often talks about having a teleporter and where he might visit and how quickly he would get there. I know exactly where I would go right now, back in time approximately five and a half years. Why that point in time?  Just to get out of MN?  Actually, no, though my readers would have to admit that my time in MN has not exactly been stellar or particularly happy, but I would want to travel back to the point where we had the option to take the job to come here or to turn it down. The writing was on the wall had we taken the time to read it and I may have (okay, I definitely did) strongly suggested to my husband that we turn down the offer to move here since the offer had been rescinded and then reinstated and I took that as a bad omen. But, no, with no other offers present, we took this one and our free fall into this maddening abyss of bad luck commenced shortly thereafter. Having my car broken into and my purse stolen, having to testify against the perpetrators of the crime in a series of trials that were postponed every three months over the course of two years, the loss of three jobs in fours years and the failed attempt at selling our home, not once, but twice over a twelve month period to name a few annoyances we have had to endure. Seriously, I am starting to believe we will never catch a break.

Unfortunately, all this stress and flux has now started permeating the lives of my children and I am totally ticked.  Mess with me, mess with my husband but don't dare mess with my little ones...yes, I know they are not that little, but they always will be to me. While I joke with my children about wanting a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes or a to die for Celine handbag for Christmas, all I really want is nice strong dose of pre-MN normal.  Hey, Santa!  Are you listening?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chamber of Horrors

Some months ago, eight to be exact, I wrote a blog post about finally being able to close the book on our terrible years (that would be three) of unemployment.  I stated how thrilled I was to finally be able to not only close that book, so to speak, but to place it high up on a shelf and to never 'read' it again.  Well, last night that same terrible book fell off the shelf and hit me square on the head, opening to yet another chapter but with the same theme.  Yes, my husband is unemployed again. This time it was the unfortunate combination of budget cuts coupled with last man in, first out syndrome.  Regardless of the reason, we are once again thrust into the job search journey...endless reworking of the resume, non-stop networking, hour upon hour searching job boards and the overuse of the phrase 'when daddy gets a job we can fill-in the blank.'  I am going crazy as I type this bracing for all that 'fun.'  Trust me, eight short months is not nearly enough time to forget three years of financial and emotional hell; the wounds were too deep and the scars are still too fresh.  The over-whelming sense of guilt I feel because my children have not known any sense of stability for more than a few brief months in close to four years is truly incomprehensible.

Of course we have no choice...per usual..but to forge ahead and do the best we possibly can, but I must admit that this time it is ten times harder than the before.  Perhaps I will feel differently next week though I sincerely doubt it, but at this very moment I am beyond angry, tired of paying dues, and longing to just feel settled and normal for a change.  Thankfully, Halloween is around the corner because at least I can look like I have some spirit plus I don't need to spend money on a costume.  I am just going to go as myself this year, after all, zombies are all the rage, no?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I have recently become somewhat obsessed with fashion bloggers of late. The typical elite fashion blogger travels the world representing certain major fashion brands.  Not only do they only accrue frequent flier miles, but they are 'gifted' large amounts of free items from said brands and others who might be trying to lure these bloggers to represent their brands as well.  As an offshoot obsession, I have become intrigued with the plethora of photos these bloggers post of their gorgeous homes on Instagram.  The thing that intrigues me the most is not only their beautifully decorated rooms and wonderfully organized huge closets, but the fact that these rooms are devoid of 'stuff.' You know, the kind of things one accumulates in life like papers, knickknacks and paraphernalia from parenting--yup, a lot of these bloggers have children to boot.  Granted these fashionistas have not been married as long as I have but if memory serves me correctly, when I did get married and we moved in together, my husband brought his 'stuff' with him, some good and some (in my opinion) not so good.  Since some bloggers have children, I am constantly thinking about whether or not these children get a chance to play as there seems to be no evidence of such frivolity in the pictures I have seen.  I have even taken virtual tours of their homes and have seen nothing more than an errant high-end play kitchen in the play room, no brightly-colored plastic pretend groceries strewn about either.

I have been told by many that I am a great housekeeper thanks to my mom and grandma's impeccable example and, coupled with a drop of OCD-like tendencies--labels must face forward, milk container's handle to the left, if you try on an item of clothing, it goes straight in the laundry basket to name a few--I try to run a tight ship.  That said, I would not be able to photograph any room in my house and have it look like it belongs in the pages of a magazine.  All of my closets colorized by style, but none look anything like those I have seen on Instagram and I work hard at keeping them in order.

I suppose some might say that the fastest way to feel better about my home would be to stay off Instagram, get back to reality and focus on what we have as opposed to trying to attain a seemingly unrealstic level of perfection.  I could, but, honestly, I would not find that fun at all.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

No Gifts

I love preparing for birthdays (definitely not my own though) and with my son's just around the corner, I am in full-on party and gift mode.  I am certainly spurred on by his non-stop infrequent reminders about the upcoming event, too.  Heck, I have been in possession of his 'master birthday list' since August.  This boy takes his birthday very seriously.  Today, I was discussing birthday planning with a friend whose child has a birthday coming up soon as well so I had asked her what was on her daughter's list.  She replied that not only did her child not have a list, but that she had been eschewing gifts for the past couple of years in the hope of embracing simplicity in her life.  Really?  A teenager looking for simplicity--this one I have got to see. Though I was surprised by the concept in general (but to each his or in this case her own), I was even more surprised by my friend's seeming condemnation of the fact that my son had a list at all.  She thought that he was overly materialistic and by this point--the teen years, he should be looking for other ways to celebrate his birthday beyond 'tangible gifts.' Well!

I honestly don't believe that wanting a couple of birthday gifts makes a person materialistic as my friend implied.  As an adult, I still love getting birthday presents and Christmas presents, throw in an anniversary gift and I am a happy camper, too.  I hope my friend's daughter enjoys her simple and gift-free birthday though I hope that as she grows up she realizes that it is wonderful to choose to live simply, but it is more important to not sit in judgment of other people just because they want to open some presents on their birthday. That is a gift.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


 For me, writing is basically free therapy.  That said, I know I frighten--strong word, but you know what I mean--some of my readers with the depth of what I write and I know some of you must think I am crazy for putting so much of myself 'out there' for human consumption...and feedback.  But, on some level, getting out the words on paper or screen as it is these days, is beneficial.  Okay, so what is my gripe du jour?  In a word, everything.  From receiving poorly articulated emails to annoying phone calls to everyone needing something from me today, I am just out of sorts.  I suppose that now having test-driven my 'new normal' life for a while I have decided I would like to return it but, apparently, there is a no return policy in place. Bummer...really.  

The new normal of my life is like a great pair of jeans that are just a size too small, they still look good enough to wear but I simply cannot wait to take them off as soon as I get home. My friends don't know why I am always complaining when I wear them either, but they just squeeze me in all the wrong places making me uncomfortable and cranky as life sometimes does. I want my old life back, please, because some days my new one just doesn't seem to fit me.

Friday, September 6, 2013


I have a friend whose husband has changed jobs at least 5 times in the almost 12 years that I have known her and she has never had to move nor has her son had to switch schools for any reason.  She would never think of leaving her home as there are too many memories there for her as she has told me a million times.  I used to think she was crazy as I have always embraced change, even searched it out as I grow tired of things so quickly.  Now, after 4 tumultuous years of seeming non-stop change in our lives--almost none of which has been in our control--I envy her life.  I would thoroughly embrace some consistency and lack of flux right about now.  We have had our house on the market, taken it off, put it back on and now taken it back off again because leaving it on, and facing a potential six figure loss in a sale, is simply ludicrous.  I had to take back control and essentially take my house back, too.  We are not leaving anytime soon.  I was just about to let my guard down and think that we might get a little routine in our lives when tonight, we were told that the barn at which my son has ridden for the past 5 years is being sold.  Sounds simple enough except that he has a fabulous relationship with the present owner, who also happens to be his instructor, and she is probably not staying on to continue teaching.  My son is absolutely devastated; he could not even eat tonight.  It broke my heart to see him so sad.

Of course, we put a positive swing on it and,of course, children are resilient and he will move forward, but, wow, it hurts.  I suppose it bothers me even more based on just how much craziness and change my children have had to endure over these past years.  We are war-weary and the battle is not over yet.  My youngest asked me if I really believe 'all the stuff that comes out of my mouth' and the truth is, no, not really, but no one wins if they see me down and they must learn to handle adversity no matter how sick of it we are.

So tonight as I sit here and ponder this past week--not a fun one for sure--I really envy (I know how bad that is, wink, wink) my friend and her calm and somewhat routine life.  I wish that I could change my mantra of 'don't get too attached' to 'let's plan something for next summer' and then be able to stick to the plan.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Is It!

Back to school.  Those three simple words fill me with such emotion today that I am annoying myself.  If you have been following my blog even for a brief time, you must know by now that my oldest is a senior in high school and you probably already have decided that I am not fine with this at all.  Interestingly, it has nothing to do with me getting older though I am none too happy with that fact either but, my displeasure in his new found 'senior' status stems from what will happen at the end of this short year.  Yes, he is going to graduate and leave me.  Yes, I know how selfish (okay bordering on certifiable, I know) I am being in never wanting that to happen but I feel like a two-year-old in the throes of a tantrum.  NO! NO! NO! I don't want my children leaving home!  I love all the noise and chaos, the endless stream of meals to be made and the never-ending laundry (that might be a stretch) and I love how much they need me even if it is just to find something that had it been put away properly, they would not need me to find at all.

My son's departure next summer will completely upset the apple cart that is my life so to speak.  Take 'back to school photos' as an example.  I have a tradition where each child stands by the front door, hand on the handle, backpack on shoulder, smiling at the camera.  So what will I have to do next year?  Hire a stand-in? Do I really only need to cajole three not four children into taking this picture?  Impossible.  What about my group shot in front of the door?  Who is going to bully the younger ones to get the larger shot in the picture? (that never seems to grow old for him).  Who will yell 'shut up' to his siblings or blast the radio to drown out their never ending stream of chatter all the way to school?  I don't know of any stand-in worthy of such a lofty honor.

Before I became a first-time mom, I read 26 books on everything from baby in utero to baby heading off to kindergarten.  Unfortunately for me, first-time mom never ever gave one thought to 'baby heading off to college.'  Being the apparent glutton for punishment that I seem to be, I never found one of those books for any of my subsequent children either because if I had, I certainly would have spaced those children better than I did.  You see, with my children being spaced as they are, I barely have time to come up for air before the next one walks out the door, too. Damn, I never learn.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Killing Me Softly

I used to think that my children would be the death of me particularly my youngest with his 6.5 year 'phase' of not sleeping through the night.  This summer was a game changer, however, and I now realize that I had been mistaken. My darling angels will not have a hand in my early demise, but selling this house is going to send me straight to a psych ward or six feet under. From the price reductions (yes, we just took another one today) to the frustrations with our realtor to the mayhem that precedes a showing, I am losing brain cells and my patience faster than my Suburban blows through gas. All I want is a little calm for the children.  I swear after the past five years they really have no concept what it is like to live in a home without wondering if they will be there the following year. The 'For Sale' sign is yet another lawn ornament to them, they have learned to play around it.

From the very bottom of my heart today, I am 100% fed up with this process. On the bright side (snarky sarcasm here), we will start the day tomorrow with a brand spanking new price and reworded copy in our listing, courtesy my suggestion.  I need to sell this house and turn the page on this extremely long chapter in our lives. When that moving truck finally pulls up for us, I truly don't know how I will contain myself!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Realty Lingo Must Go

This new real estate lexicon is driving me crazy.  No longer do people simply not like something about your home.  Now, they are 'offended' by it or 'turned off' by it.  It is driving me crazy.  I keep telling my wood floors not to say anything that can be misconstrued as mean to potential buyers but, time and again, the buyers are offended by my floors.  I suppose I should have had a conversation with our brick exterior to turn on its charm because, apparently, our most recent showing did not go well as the buyers were 'turned off' by my brick.  The shame.  While I am certainly not insinuating that everyone who enters my home need clamour to buy it--though that would be nice--I do fantasize about losing all the colorful language in feedback.  I am a big girl, really, I can handle someone hating the look of my inlaid floor.  Of course, it might be nice to hear the realtor tell me that she tried to explain how it is far less costly to buy a beautiful rug to cover said floors than it is to tear up and replace the creepy old wall to wall I have been seeing in our own home search.  As for the brick, that is a personal choice, but I would love to just hear the cold hard truth. With all this crazy descriptive language going on,  I am waiting to be told that our lawn caused buyers' 'heartache' or that seeing my ceiling fan 'ruined their lives.' 

My husband is always complaining that I live in a world that is totally black and white (his world, of course, is way more than 50 shades of gray...minds out of the gutter, please, I am talking about colors here and colors only). This fact drives him crazy but I am a straight shooter, painfully honest, and while I may not make lots of friends as a result, I tell it like it is.  So, please Mrs. Realtor, the next time a potential buyer does not like something about my house, just tell me the plain and simple truth and I will try not to be 'offended' or 'turned off' by what you have to say.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Four Wheeler Woes

Today's post will be a digression from my usual complaints (audible sigh). Please don't think that my daily problems have been solved as they are certainly still in full swing from the stall in the sale of my house, issues finding a part-time job (rejection letter, anyone?) and my general crankiness about the turn our life has taken. I did not want you to get the impression that things were on the upswing here as I know how much you all count on me for adding a little 'happiness' into your life with my blogs.  Remember what my friend told me about how when she is feeling down, she always finds solace in the fact that she is not me. Special, huh?

Okay, enough lead in. The crux of my trouble today is my son's four-wheeler. No, not the fact that my mom bought him this 'toy' that needs to be deemed the most obnoxiously loud and intrusive toy on the planet.  Despite that ( and perhaps because I am going a little deaf from hearing it all the time), he loves to ride this four-wheeler so much and it gives him so much pleasure, I could never complain about it. Which leads me to the problem at hand. At less than a year old, it has already needed its tires replaced twice, had an issue with stalling, needing new parts and an engineering degree to replace them and now the silly thing will not go in reverse!  I have called the manufacturer so many times that they greet me by name. My file is so long it never ceases to surprise the poor customer service rep who gets stuck with me on the phone. Today's call was no different except that now the expectation is that we bring this gigantic...and dirty...four-wheeler to a repair center as the rep cannot trouble shoot the issue over the phone. First, I am exasperated as it is less than a year old and has caused more trouble than my little guy himself plus, second, I have a 'thing' about my car and keeping it clean whereby it gets washed multiple times a week (perhaps once or twice it was even washed twice in one day) and now this toy needs to go in MY car?  This is a big problem.

Basically, I am wildly annoyed that this very expensive toy has had such a problematic few months and that my usually busy little guy is wondering around like he lost his best friend...which also happened a week ago when his best friend moved off our block. What an annoying afternoon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Deck Chairs

It has been a solid four weeks without one showing for our house and to say that I am ticked and frustrated is truly a gross understatement of the facts. Honestly, I spent a lot of time researching which realtor with whom to sign, plus I have spent countless hours de-personalizing our house and making it buyer friendly, whatever the heck that means these days (to me it means trying to be all things to all people all at the same time, a seemingly impossible task). I have consulted with said realtor, touted as the best in the business and the top seller in our area, who seems to offer nothing more than the standard 'everyone is facing this now, the market has changed' answer. Perhaps realistic enough, however, I find it terribly hard to believe that there is absolutely no one, nary a soul, looking in our price range right now who could be cajoled into coming to see our house.  I mean four weeks is pretty long dry spell, no?  No one in a month looking for a nice house, a fenced yard and a cul de sac location?  While I don't have the answers, I am certainly trying to find a way to drive traffic into our home so I am looking for more than a pat answer.

Today I received a call from my realtor's assistant informing me that the new price sheets and new photo sheets were ready.  She wanted to drop them off so that I could replace the old ones in our very pricey marketing folders we had made up for prospective buyers to take with them once they view our house. Interestingly, I had just replaced these pages a couple of weeks ago when we took the first (first being the operative word here and denoting a subsequent change as well) price reduction.  She dropped them off to me and as I was replacing the pages in the same four folders that I had from a month ago, I could not help but remember a comment a friend made to me years ago regarding doing something that was simply 'busy work.'  She said that is was like 'rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.'  I loved the line and have used it often since hearing it as it is so true. All the price changing, pretty marketing packets and de-personalization are all for naught if no one is coming to see the house in the first place.  Color me cranky tonight. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

For Sale Sign

It seems we must have a lot of unrealized power in our city because the moment our For Sale sign went in the ground, we single-handedly shut down real estate sales in our neighborhood. Sales just dried up, nary a house was sold. I certainly hope whichever city is now experiencing a rise in home sales as a result will be grateful to us.  You are welcome.  Seriously, I find the entire selling process infuriating and frustrating. Not only do we have to open our homes to people we don't know (which is a bitter enough pill for me to swallow) but adding insult to injury, we need to deal with criticism, buyers not showing up after appointments were confirmed and price reductions.   I wish we could go back to the time when the owner and the potential buyer sat down together to negotiate a sale thus relegating the realtor, if one was even being used, to a secondary position in the process. My mom sold my childhood home for a good price and a mozzarella (the buyers owned an Italian deli), no realtor present to hamper or chime in on that interesting negotiation.

Today, even the process of scheduling a showing has become a nuisance because appointments are made via computer. Should be easier, right?  Not so much because if you cannot make an appointment, you need to check the box for 'denied.' It even sounds negative and foreboding.  Hey, wait a minute.  I am not denying any potential buyer entrance to my home but I might need to schedule the showing for a different time, no?  Then you need to call your realtor, who in turn needs to contact the potential buyer's realtor, who then submits yet another computerized request and the process starts all over again. Can't we just discuss a mutually acceptable time on the phone and eliminate all this back and forth?  It drives me crazy.

Now that I have already alienated myself from realtors in general, allow me to further dig my grave by adding that some realtors have permitted the buyers to totally dominate the entire process of selling a home. I am certainly not saying that a buyers's preferences in a new home be discounted, however, it would be nice to have your house sold to a buyer and not merely shown. Not every potential buyer has a rigid list of likes and dislikes, some can be persuaded to see homes that do not have everything they want in it or perhaps, with the right salesperson, a buyer might see potential in a home that he might have otherwise discounted.  Before the advent of the MLS system, realtors were the keeper of the keys, so to speak.  They had the photos, the prices and specs on the homes you needed to see.  Now, since we are all so computer-oriented and live in a 'more is more' society, we look over the photos online (sometimes as many as 32 photos) and then tell the realtor which homes we want to see.  In my opinion, this is the reason why some realtors have moved from a need to sell to a desire to show mode.  Oftentimes, a buyer has a preconceived idea about a house from all the photos and information he has seen online about it, but it takes a good salesperson to encourage him to see it and perhaps make the sale despite the initial reservations.

So it seems that I am again mired in something, not by unemployment any longer,  but by the state of the real estate market.  My friend, who is as opinionated as I am, often jokes that if we ruled the world, things would definitely run more smoothly. I would agree that her sentiment is quite ego maniacal and outrageous, but some days I certainly would like to give it a try.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

With Age Comes Wisdom?

My mood today is as conflicted as our weather du jour, stormy with a minute or two of sun but then back to the dark, black clouds. The past five years (yup, we have been living here that long now) have been such a roller coaster ride but it seems that for the past three, we have been rolling down the track at breakneck speed, no new climb in the tracks ahead let alone any plateau at all.  We seem to be living in a time of our lives devoid of calm, consistency or stability. It frustrates me 24/7 and despite constantly trying to change our situation in countless ways, we seem to be stuck in the downward spiral with a Munch's 'The Scream' look plastered on my face. Pretty visual, no?

In the ever lengthening list of things that tend to annoy me of late, I have discovered that change is one of them which surprises me as I have always embraced it, often seeking change over staying put or sticking with the safer option.  I suppose I craved change because it often happened selectively so that I could manage it, even savor the feeling of the difference or newness of the change. Right now, there are too many things changing at once and none by choice, just necessity.  Aren't I all sugar and spice today?  Some days I feel as though I really could use a drink (nope, migraine trigger), a month long vacation (too expensive) or simply some calm (too elusive, but I think just what the doctor might order).

If only a doctor could write a prescription for calm, but I bet the pharmacy would probably be sold out already with the luck we have been having of late.   Hopefully soon, the winds of change will turn and blow some positive energy our way because all this negative energy is really draining. I saw this quote on FB and thought it really summed up my life right now.  I am, however, eagerly awaiting the day when it will not be so applicable.

"God never gives you more than you can handle.  Apparently, these days God thinks I am a bad-ass!"

Friday, June 28, 2013

On The Market

Selling a home is never easy but it seems that my husband and I have made the difficult sale an art form. The one exception to this was the time we sold our house to my mom and the transaction was akin to my mom asking what it was being listed for and then saying she would pay that price.  A once in a lifetime dream come true.  Our house went on the market two weeks ago and, believe me, I already know that this sale is not going to come as easily as the one I made with my mom. Given our outright lack of luck for the past three and a half years, it really should not have surprised me when putting our house on the market single-handedly shut down the sales of homes in our area.  Prior to our joining the 'for sale' group, houses were selling like hotcakes in our development for listing price and above.  We shut that down the day the hole was dug for our sign.  I am a realtor.com hound even when we are not selling, so I am keenly aware of market trends and priced my house below the recently 'sold' competition for a quick sale. Ha!

I spoke with my realtor last night looking for some insight as to why we are stalled and not showing and I must admit her answer surprised and annoyed me.  She said that she has spoken to a couple of the realtors who have showed my house and they concur that it is really more of a 'theme-house' (like Disney World or Wisconsin Dells???) because of all the inlaid hardwood floors and lack of carpet.  Wait a minute! Did she mean to tell me that people would prefer to live on someone else's old carpet instead of beautiful hardwood floors?  Has no one thought to mention that a potential buyer could put area rugs over the wood floors?  Have anyone ever seen an episode of House Hunters on HGTV where the potential buyers are looking for carpet instead of hardwood?  This is a bitter pill to swallow and I must say that for me it begs the question whether realtors simply show a house or actually try to sell a house because I find it hard to believe that a potential buyer would not even come to see my home because of a lack of carpet.

I suppose I am even crankier about this because all the homes I am looking at are filled with exactly what I detest...the dreaded wall-to-wall carpet.  The last thing I want to be doing is replacing carpet, but it seems it is the first thing that will need to be on my list when we eventually move.  My realtor suggested that perhaps our buyer will need to be someone who is being transferred to our area, someone who is not 'offended' by hardwoods.  So, the way I am interpreting her suggestion is that we need someone from out of town (state?) with an open-mind when it comes to flooring options and who is not over-sensitive nor 'offended' by beautiful inlaid wood floors.  What are the odds?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Midas Touch

It has been awhile since my last post because with the children home from school, I find my time is no longer my own as my chauffeuring and chef duties have multiplied tenfold (at least).  In addition, with all the constant chatter going on and the seemingly endless stream of questions I answer all day long, I cannot stand to hear the words in my head even if I had an idea for a blog post. I feel as though I am in a constant quest for '5 minutes of silence.' That said, as I sit outside in the Florida-like humidity (yuck) and stare at my For Sale sign, I cannot help but wonder why homes were selling like hot cakes in my area, specifically in my development, until ours hit the market and now sales have come to a halt so screeching loud that it is deafening. WTH?  Not only were homes selling quickly, but they were selling for list price and one even had multiple offers. Sadly, we have never had luck when selling a home...our first house sold for less than we had paid for it after three (yes, three) years on the market and we were thrilled to get what we did. Talk about torture.

The most annoying part of trying to sell this house after our awful and ill-fated attempt at moving to Boston last year, is the fact that I painstakingly copied the colors and decor of the houses that I had seen so as to make this house blend in and be more saleable when we needed to move.  The joke is on me, huh?  I just don't get it as we cannot win for losing. If we have hardwood, potential buyers want carpet, if we had carpet, they would want tile. Whatever happened to the time when a buyer would purchase a house and then remodel or repaint  after moving in. It seems that these days every potential buyer wants the homeowner to have designed the home for their needs prior to purchase. I asked my realtor not to give me feedback after a showing unless there was an egregious concern because I am sick and tired of people telling me that they don't like my ceiling fan or that my inlaid wood floors are 'offensive'...yep, I really heard that one last year.

So as my signs swings in the breeze, I wonder what it is going to take to sell this house without losing anymore money as we are already selling for less than we bought it for and doing so does not feel any better the second time around. Trust me. One thing is for sure though, in my next house, I am painting and doing whatever I want because I know that when it comes to selling, it really is all a crap shoot in the end. I might as well enjoy my house, my way while I live there.

Anyone want to buy a nice house?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

3-2-1 Summer Break

By this time tomorrow morning, I will be gearing up to head to school to listen to the Excellence In Attendance Awards and to cry like a baby when that noon bell rings signifying not only the start of summer vacation, but the start of my oldest's senior year in HS and my 'next in line's' freshman year.  I realized this morning as I was mentally preparing myself for my oldest's three week college boarding adventure this summer (and wondering how I was going to keep it together so as not to embarrass him at drop off) that his venture into college next year will not be only a physical separation but an academic one as well for me.  You see, the two of us are in perfect academic sync; he loves to share the details of his classes and we discuss his written essays and plans for projects and I love to listen and discuss things with him.  We have a mutually beneficially relationship where he is totally invested in his academics, but he loves the process of working things through with me and he allows me to be involved in his choices.  I would love to take credit for this fabulous approach but he came to this decision early on in lower school all by himself along with his desire to become an attorney and he never deviated from either plan over the years.

His brother, however, the all too soon-to-be freshman takes a completely different approach to school.  Though quite the intellectual powerhouse, this son believes the whole 'tell mom about your academic day' thing is way over-rated, perhaps even preposterous.  When my oldest and I are deep in discussion about an essay on Machiavelli or the merits of using one quote from Plato over another, my other son regards us with an eye roll and a smirk, often reminding me that we will definitely not be doing the same thing once he gets to high school.

Truth be known, I eagerly embrace the differences in all my children and I love the unique relationship I have with each.  That said, not only will I mourn my academic relationship with my oldest when he is away at college, but I am a tad terrified of how I will be handling my other son throughout his high school years.  I must admit though, what he lacks in sharing on the school front with me, he more than makes up for with his endless discussions about all things computer-related.  He might not seek me out to discuss an essay, but he certainly comes to find me to tell me a joke or a story.

So, although the weather is certainly not befitting the last days of school before summer break, by tomorrow at noon the bell will have rung, my tears will have been shed and my children will be chattering on about the fact that they are now 'rising ___________ (fill in the appropriate grade).'  Let the games begin!  Hello, summer 2013.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


As I sit poised with only 5.5 days of this school year left, I feel compelled to talk about the end of the year and the summer ahead and yet it is a blog I simply cannot write because I am filled with emotion at the thought of my son entering his senior year of high school.  I feel as though I had no prep for this, one minute he was a newborn in an adorable knitted cap nestled in my arms and the next, this.  People tell me that I will get used to it and that I need to let go.  Well, I don't let go.  Honestly, as much as I know he needs to be independent and go off to college, I am simply too selfish to understand how so many of his new memories will be made without me. Yes, told to me, but done either alone or with others. I have seen every milestone to date and now I need to give that up on some level.  I know I must handle it and 'buy a coping skill' as my close friend has often told me, but this is a tough one.  It is a direct hit to my heart.

So, I cannot write the words swirling in my end as this particular year draws to a close.  I have already written enough to start yet another seemingly endless crying jag as I try to figure out where the heck to buy that coping skill and how to buck up and be a big girl about this.  Instead, I leave you with this to ponder.  Why in the world has 'Pregnant Kim Kardashian' not figured out that people will stop making fun of her swollen feet if she would just stopping posting pictures of them?  Media hound plus pregnancy brain is a lethal combination.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Free For Real?

It never fails that when I sit to write there is usually a battle between two ideas which boils down to the blog I want/need to write versus the one I know I am going to write.  There really is no formula to choosing beyond trying to stay as PC as possible and trying to opt for the theme that will not scare readers into thinking that I have finally gone over the deep end--certainly don't need the men in white suits coming to take me away although it could be argued that on some days, a nice long respite in a padded room might just be what I need.  Today, I really wanted to write about the weather and how we feel doubly (fill in the blank) as we just made it through 7.5 months of winter hell to be greeted by no spring but variant and all-around crappy weather.  Our poor varsity lax team has only played four games this season--which ends Friday, mind you--and even their re-scheduled games are now frantically being re-scheduled again.  It stinks.  I realized, however, that beyond those two sentences about the weather I could not write a blog that was fit to print as it would be filled with profanity and probably some creepy comments about the state in which we live. Instead,  I am taking the high road this morning and have decided to blog about a new genre of bloggers I recently discovered, fashion bloggers.

Much to my husband's dismay, I have become somewhat obsessed with fashion bloggers of late. Ii know that begs the question as to what would be so interesting about a person who takes pictures of herself and then tells you where to buy the items, but I am here to tell you that my interest goes far deeper than discovering that Zara is a really cool site for shoes (no, really).  My interest was piqued when I starting realizing that a large percentage of these women were quite young, more oft than not between the ages of 24 and 35, and while they discussed having full time jobs and some having spouses, there was no way that their income could have afforded them the opportunity to buy all the very expensive items they were showing on their blogs.  My husband said that they must be getting the items from their sponsors as a marketing promo but because a majority of these items are luxury brands, I did not believe him.  I hate to admit it--ask my husband and he will agree--but after some research I discovered my husband had been right (yikes!). Unbelievable.  What a sweet deal--the free stuff, not my husband being right. I know that this is a simplistic approach to looking at this because I am sure that these women travel a lot to promote their blogs and work hard for the benefit of receiving these cool items, but, wow, what fun!  Sometimes, they even post pictures of the boxes of stuff they receive and what will be showing up on their blogs soon.  Since I am not a fan of TV at all, following some of these blogs might be my own demented version of reality TV--a dirty, little secret (not anymore though).

To some it may seem vapid and self-serving but on some level, this would be a fun job for me right now.  I would love to get goodies in the mail from Celine and Tory Burch and then photograph them and talk them up on my blog.  Of course, I do shy away from pictures as a rule and I have passed the age range of most fashion bloggers a 'few' years ago so I think I may need to rethink this career choice.  I suppose I will just take some time each day and live vicariously through them knowing that youth is fleeting but that these bloggers seem to truly be making the most of it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Going Slightly Mad

For most people, May brings flowers, Mother's Day and thoughts of summer soon to be arriving but for me all it seems to bring is indigestion. Allow me to explain.  At our old school, the curriculum was devised so that the bulk of the work including major projects and performances were all scheduled prior to May, so that we could enjoy those last precious weeks of school as the weather turned warmer and our children's thoughts turned to outside.  That is not to say that the children did not continue to learn and work hard, but the pace definitely slowed as we approach the end of the school year.  When we step into May at our current school, we are basically boarding a bullet train on a treacherous stretch of track careening toward that first week of June when we are thrust from the train, academically and emotionally spent, but thankful that we survived yet another year's end.  Personally, I cannot keep another 'must do' item in my brain as it has expanded as far as it could go within the confines of my skull.  I swear I think some of the the things I need to remember are dripping out of my ears during the day which is why they are either not getting done or I am redoubling my effort to get them done ASAP.  Between three sports schedules which ran amok due to the weather, projects, papers, tests, concerts, performances and the like, I swear I don't know how to keep it together throughout the day let alone make it through to the next month.  Mommy guilt consumes me but since I have yet to figure out how to clone myself, I simply cannot make it to two lacrosse games and a Mom/Daughter Tea all on the same Saturday afternoon.  I cringe when one of my children says guess when such and such an event is because I can almost guarantee that , if it is in May, I already have two other things scheduled for the same day and time or at least a time close enough so that getting to all of them will be next to impossible.

I really do think that the stress of this is getting to me as last week I tried to put the milk in the microwave thinking it was the refrigerator and I have not called my children by their rightful names since mid-April...truth be known, I have even called my daughter by my dog's name. Sad.  So when you see me on the last day of school, a crying mess because my oldest will be a rising senior and my other son will be a rising freshman (already!), just ignore me and know that at least I survived May once again. It might not have been pretty but it will have gotten done.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I love rules; they help to define me, though at times, they confine me as well and I often fantasize about those who can break the rules and never give the consequences another thought.  I am currently dealing with such a person through an eBay transaction and while she is frustrating me to no end, I am intrigued on some level by her boldness (I wanted to write something else there but I am trying to keep this PC).  I have a 'no return' policy when I sell but this buyer decided that she did not like the item she had just bought so she emailed me that she was returning it anyway.  Despite re-stating my policy to her via email, she sent me another email last night with a tracking number apparently having sent the item back already.  Now, breaking this rule was foolhardy for quite a few reasons none the least of which was that she had voided her buyer protection from eBay by not having contacted me or them for approval for the return first.  The greater issue, however, is that I now have not only the item back but her payment as well.  Seems like the problem is all hers, right?  She broke the rule and now she is going to pay for it twice, no?  Ah, there's the rub, the part where my great upbringing comes into play, the part where not only do I know it would be unethical to keep both the money and the item, there is no way I ever would--even when the rep that I called from eBay told me in other words that that is exactly what I should do under the circumstances. Remember, I was taught by nuns so this was a no brainer for me.

I resent being put in this position because not only do I really need the money I will be refunding, the bottom line is that I hate knowing that she 'won' by breaking the rules.  Yes, I do know that I am being the 'bigger person' and doing the right thing, but that does not stop it from annoying the heck out of me as this woman blatantly did what she wanted and got away with it.  I suppose she is pretty lucky that she pulled this stunt with me as the next time she might not be met with an ethical seller and she may lose both her money and her purchase. It would serve her right!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stress Kills

After much soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that my husband and I committed an egregious parenting mistake when we embarked on this wonderful journey called parenthood.  Actually, it is a classic newbie error precipitated by our childhoods being marked by parents who always made decisions for us and whose households were anything but democratic.  Our parents said it and we did it--or else.  Personally, though I absolutely adore my mom and love her madly, I knew that there were a few things about her parenting style that I would tweak when I became a parent.  So, we decided to encourage our children to speak their mind (respectfully) and we offered choices so that they would feel empowered and capable from a young age. Likewise, we wanted them to always feel comfortable to question our decision about something if they could effectively substantiate the reason why they might want us to reconsider said decision. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!  Want to know why?  I say this because now we cannot find the 'mute' switch some days.  I swear they have opinions about everything now and they are more than happy, thrilled in fact, to share those opinions what seems like 24/7.  Next to 'mom,' 'I think' are the most often used words in our family.  Despite knowing better, it is so easy to get caught up in the maelstrom some days I find that I am substantiating my reasoning instead of reprimanding them for being so oppositional.  For Mother's Day, I either want a referee shirt/whistle or 'four children who listen' (which is what I tell them I want every year).

Please don't get me wrong, for the most part, knowing that my children can not only articulate a point but back it up logically with examples, often quite compelling ones at that, makes me feel that we did something right.  However, while I would not like to return to my childhood where 'children should be seen but not heard'--though I do fantasize about it on days like today-- I would like a lot more calm some days and a lot less attitude. I bet that my children will have an opinion about this blog, too!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Absent Spring

Everyone I know is absolutely sick and tired of winter here. Oh, we did turn the calendar page on winter last month but it simply will not leave us alone. Today, we not only have unseasonably cold temperatures but we have also had more snow, hail, freezing rain, still more snow, more hail and now freezing rain again and it is only 3:30pm. Lest we grow excited about this finally ending the longest winter ever, meteorologists are alleging we are in for more snow later this week.  I fear for the forecasters as I am sure there is plenty of 'blame the messenger' sentiment around here and, trust me, I have a lot of pent up frustration stemming from not having seen dry pavement in I cannot remember how many months. There is not enough vitamin D around to change my mood and uplift my spirits as I stare out at all the snow and ice on the ground in mid-April!

There is also another terrible offshoot to this weather that surpasses even my crappy mood...my unbridled desire to eat myself out of house and home. This is not your average person's hunger fueled by boredom, no, this is all out savagery brought on by being cooped up in my house, my children jumping from one thing to another in order to stay occupied because they cannot go outside, and my desire to put myself into a food -induced coma so that the next storm will not reduce me to tears. While others crave exercise to raise their spirits, I crave baked goods. You will not find a little sticker on the back of my car proudly telling the world the number of miles I have run as I have yet to see one with a zero on it.  Let me know if you ever find one as it has my name written all over it.

Well, the hail is hitting the windows again. Time to bake some cookies!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Weather" or Not

I am certain you have all seen TV shows that bear a warning before airing such as 'violence' or 'mild nudity'--as if there is such a thing as 'severe nudity.' What the heck is mild about nudity?  Anyway, I digress. I just want you all to know that before you read any further, this post is presented with such a warning.  No, I am not writing in the nude and then posting pictures of myself, but I want all my Midwest-loving readers to know this post may not sit well with them as I am on a tear about the weather here and I am having trouble understanding why so many people just take this weather in stride.  Yes, I certainly understand that if you were born and raised her and it is all you know then you must be more accepting, but I am finding this crappy weather one gigantic bitter pill to swallow.  I don't want to blindly accept that this is my new normal.  Instead, I am choosing to have a tantrum today, so here goes. 

Okay, it is April.  Hail?  Seriously?  The worst part is that this is just the beginning as the forecasters are predicting 4-6 inches of snow later this week. S.N.O.W. in April!  Please don't tell me that it is 'spring snow and it will gone so quickly' as my feeling is that it should not even be here at all...in April, which means spring to the rest of the country.  You know, maybe you have read about it? Daffodils, warmer temps, perhaps some grass turning green.  I took my reflector sticks out of the ground this past weekend but I think I should put them back in so that the plow does not take out our basketball hoop as it did last year if the predictions are accurate.  

My boys play the spring--emphasis here--sport of lacrosse.  They are on the practice fields wearing layers of clothing akin to football players (winter sport!) and have had their opening games cancelled due to inclement weather...in April!  As I sit here today ruminating about how much I want to move back home, I am anticipating a phone from one of my best friends telling me that today's forecast is 78 and sunny. Of course,  I already know as I still listen to an east coast radio station which is proving to be both a blessing and a curse.  My friend loves to rub it in about the weather and she seems to have so very many chances to do so with us living here.  So, a word to the wise today, if you see me milling about please don't ask how I am doing because I may just have to tell you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bullet Train

My house is eerily quiet today as the children have returned to school after a two week and one day spring break.  Although the first week was not the best marked not only by impossibly rotten weather but also doctor appointments and illness, the second week was considerably better and a whole lot more fun.  The weather cooperated beautifully and we actually started to believe that spring was not merely a concept but, in fact, it just might be a reality for us, too.  Mother Nature must have been annoyed at our excitement, however, as her need to show us who is boss brought single digit temperatures yesterday and though sunny today, we still have a real feel of only 25 right now.  Still, we have tasted spring and know it is on the way.

I have never been a fan of returning from spring break as it seems to place us on the fact track to the end of school, unable to catch our breath until we are thrust out of the craziness and into summer break the first week of June.  As if the daily lacrosse practices are not enough, we still have riding, games, concerts, a Transition Dinner, two birthdays and lest we not forget, more homework, tests, projects and for those older children, the dreaded end of year finals.  I must admit that if those things are not enough to bring tears to my eyes, the fact that my oldest will be a rising senior come June is enough to throw me over the edge.  My children think it is hilarious that the mere mention of this fact or anything related to it turns me into a crying fool.  My daughter, who seems to share the same 'quick to tear up' gene that I do, is constantly watching my face when college talk starts to see how long I can hold it together before I break down.  Sadly, she does not have to wait long as the water works are almost instantaneous.

Friends and family tell me all the time that I need to let go and understand that this is the next phase in his life and a wonderful new beginning for him and for us.  Poppycock!  Of course I understand that intellectually and I would never do anything to stand in the way of this new journey for him, but I never thought I could miss someone so much before he has even walked out the door.  To think that he will no longer be part of our daily lives bugging me in the morning about what I might be making for dinner, sending me funny emails or checking out houses with me during Parade of Homes is an almost impossible concept for me to manage.

So, on this first day back after the long break during which my children and I enjoyed our time together, I am feeling terribly melancholic as I sit here alone (after having run hither and yon picking up last minute sports items for said children) and think about the end of school.  I would love to say that I just need to get through this and then it will start to get better, but with a rising freshman come June, I get to re-live this feeling all over again all soon...and then again...and then one more time. Think about it, if I am this out of control for my first child, can you image how I will be for my last? I think I should start interviewing therapists right about now.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Second Week

So here we are deep in throes of our second week of spring break-a break that was supposed to include a lovely trip to Chicago that unfortunately had to be postponed due to a work conflict.  Just perfect.  Our first week included a series of doctor appointments, a trip to the dentist so that my youngest could have a tooth pulled, an eye doctor appointment so that my oldest could get contacts and one unfortunate round of a 'stomach thing' by the same poor child who now has one less tooth in his mouth. Add to that some seriously frigid and obnoxious weather and you have the makings of a very long week off.  As if that was not bad enough, the advent of social media ramps up the crankiness as now not only do we know where all of our friends are vacationing, we also have the opportunity to see the amazing white sandy beaches they are enjoying, the luscious food they are eating and pretty much every step of their glorious days in the sun. To those who feel I should get a life and get off of Facebook, let's not forget about the fact that three quarters of my children are connected. So, while I am trying to shield myself from what I cannot have right now, my children get some perverse joy out of showing me each and every FB and Instagram picture I may have missed. I never knew my daughter had so many friends and, of course, each and everyone of them just loves to take pictures and post them ASAP.  Have we forgotten how to just enjoy a moment while capturing the memory in our minds instead on our phones?

Okay, yes, I am cranky and whiny with no excuses or explanations ( they do exist but I am just keeping them to myself...for a change). Thankfully, the weather seems to be better this week so with my boys outside playing lacrosse non-stop, I know that spring really must be here even if she has not shown herself in all her glory as yet. I know once we head back to school, we will be on a proverbial bullet train speeding toward the end of this school year, a mere two months away. So in order to keep current, watch out friends as I may start posting some of my own pictures of our last week of break including high points such as yet another eye doctor appointment, haircuts and perhaps a movie. How envious you will all be. I just know it.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Enough Already!

Dear Mr. Identity Thief,

Let's break up! I am so sick and tired of your 'all about you' approach to this relationship.  It is very one-sided, you know?  The way you sneak around and keep opening charge cards in my husband's name and then buying merchandise online.  It is totally ticking me off.  I especially detest the way we get charged for your purchases and how we never know what we will be hit with next as you really seem to be on a spending spree right now.  Frankly, we are not exactly in the best financial shape right now and your actions are certainly not helping our credit or our emotional well-being.  I would love to know what you are buying with all that money.  Care to clue me in?  Of course, being no stranger to identity theft,  I know that most identity thieves purchase gift cards as they cannot be traced.  The criminal who stole my identity is still on the loose as she failed to show up for her sentencing and has been eluding the police since January.  Nice, huh? I feel so safe knowing she is still skulking around and not in prison.  Since my plan is to break up with you maybe the two of you should get together as you certainly have a lot in common.

Being the nice person that I am I would never want to encourage you to go bother someone else with all your nonsense in order to leave us alone, instead I just pray every night that you get caught and end up in jail where you belong.  I will tell you a little secret though...I am not that nice and I have wished some other things happen to you as well.  At least I am honest which is certainly more than I can say for you.

Now leave us alone!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Driver's Ed

This morning was a typically quiet morning for me filled my the usual errands such as my almost daily trip to the post office (happy eBayer here!) and buying some 'important' item that one of my children requested before heading off to school.  Sounds easy enough, no?  It would have been had I not been a magnet for the world's most annoying drivers.  There must have been a contest that I was not aware of because the bad drivers were out in force today and everyone of them seemed to track me down on my little less than four mile jaunt into town.  There was the person who rode the brakes for a mile plus long stretch causing me to travel at the break neck speed of 5 mph in a 40 mph zone.  Then there was my friend the tailgater who clearly wanted to try out the dimensions of my trunk and, had I not been paying close attention, probably would have since he rode so close to my bumper.  I thought I might have have been finished with annoying drivers once I lost 'up my bumper' until I practically ran into my friend "Mrs. Stop at the Green Light."  I will admit that I have made mistakes while driving, accidents would be non-existent if people did not make mistakes after all, but at least I react to blaring car horns.  This woman had zero response to my horn--none--which causes me great concern.  Was she sick, merely did not realize the light was already green, was she stoned?  I don't mean to make light of this as this driver may have been having some sort of problem today but how scary to think that she was non-reactive to a car horn.  I am terrified to think of the accident she could have caused had I been too close to her or if the driver behind me had not been paying close attention to the road.

I now have a new driver in our family so I worry all the time, and not only about his driving, but I am concerned  about the types of drivers I met today and how my son will react to them being so new behind the wheel.  I was thinking that perhaps we could all benefit from a driving refresher course every few years or so that might remind drivers that signaling a turn is a good thing and that cutting someone off and then proceeding to drive well below the speed limit is not.  A little common courtesy when driving goes a long way and so does remembering that red means STOP and green means GO.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oh, The Irony!

This morning my husband mentioned to me that he needed to leave for work earlier than usual.  Being so thrilled that he has a job to leave the house for I was not even going to ask why but he volunteered the information anyway.  I wish he had not.  Apparently, he was off to have a networking meeting with someone he had met along his journey to employment because this person wanted to know how...wait for it...he landed his current position with this particular company so quickly.  "Quickly?," I said or perhaps shouted.  This was quickly?  Let's review and you make the call.  Three years ago he started applying to this company and over the course of those years he applied for 20+ positions and asked quite a few of the company's employees whom he knew for assistance.  Apparently, it is next to impossible to get into this company without help from the inside.  Your resume needs to be accompanied by solid recommendations from current employees to move forward, for the most part, so if you don't know anyone who works there, your resume had better be freaking amazing or you need not waste your time.  After multiple interviews, we then waited a grueling few weeks for a response which to some may seem like a short period of time. However, for those who have waited countless weeks only to find out that you were the front runner who lost out to an internal candidate or that the scope of the job had changed and you were no longer being considered, these weeks were inescapably long and anxiety-filled.  So, I think 3 years of applications, putting yourself on the line with friends, multiple interviews and the killer wait to the decision do not 'quickly' make, do you?

My daughter always mocked the fact that her older MS brother consistently forgot to bring home his gym clothes and would always need to take a fresh pair from home.  She could not understand how something so seemingly simple could present such a problem for him...until she got to MS herself this year.  Apparently, she suffers from the same ill as her brother and cannot remember to go get those gym clothes.  When I asked her about this she told me that she had not realized how hard it could be to remember to go back to the gym before leaving school and that she had been wrong to laugh at her brother. It seemed like an easy thing until she had to do it herself. She also went on to tell me that she was only 11 years old and that she had plenty of time to remember the lesson about not judging a person without walking a mile in his shoes.  I hope she does.  Quickly, huh?  I think not.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Big Fat Liar

 Remember when I mentioned just a few blogs back--go ahead, I will give you a few minutes to either read it for the first time or refresh your memory by re-reading the blog in question...ready?--about taking the book of our life from the past three years and putting it high up on a shelf so that we never have to read it again?  Well, this morning it 'fell' off the shelf and hit me square in the head. I told you that I was going to move forward, but I lied as I am still mired in the past.  You see today is an emotion-filled day for two reasons.  First, my son was born fourteen years ago today.  He was born a week past his due date which foreshadowed his personality though I was not aware of that at the time. He is wildly passionate about everything, both negative and positive, which makes for an interesting if stressful life with him. He believes that all thinking must be 'outside the box' which adds not only to his incredible personality but also ramps up the stress level as I could not be anymore linear in my thinking if I tried.  Stress aside, he never fails to make me laugh with his incomparable voices, imitations, facial expressions and dance moves.  I love him to pieces.

On a different note, one year ago today we waved good-bye to my husband as he began his drive to Boston to start his new job.  I had everything that I wanted at that moment; we were going home.  Five weeks later, we crashed and burned and something inside me snapped. I am definitely not the same person I was a year ago and despite trying to move forward and not dwell in the past, dwell in the past is all that I seem capable of doing these days.  Talk about a life-altering event.  Losing that job changed everything from my attitude to my son's college choices.  It has made me leery of feeling that happy as I now spend my time waiting for the other shoe to drop and even if it does not, just like Pavlov's dogs, I am conditioned to be wary.  The worst part is it seems that the shoe does drop thereby further reinforcing my concerns and worries time and time again.  A vicious cycle that I have been unable to break as yet.

The new job is good but it is 'here' and not 'there' and while I always thought where we lived would not matter, I am finding as I grow older that it really does matter to me.  My post-Boston debacle self has also come to realize that for the 'new me' good enough is not really good enough at all.

(author's note:  for those concerned that I am going to be a real party pooper for my son tonight, fear not, I am a master at leaving my feelings on paper where my children are concerned.  Pancakes (his birthday dinner of choice) and cake (what's a birthday without cake?) and presents this evening...with a double shot of Rolaids to follow.  Party on!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bid On This

Want to know a dirty little secret?  I have become an eBay reseller.  Interestingly, if you query 'what is eBay' as I just did you get quite a euphemism ('an American multi-national internet consumer-to-consumer corporation.' Thank you, Wikipedia) for its real-life function which is a online garage sale on steroids.  My son had been after me for the longest time to sell on eBay but I always dismissed the idea as ridiculous because of how time consuming posting an item seemed to be.  First, you had to take pictures, then download the pictures, then upload the pictures to the site, then price the item, write a description and the worst step of all...figuring out the postage.  Of course, the bottom line was always was too much effort for far too little return.  Then I got an iPad and I got the eBay app and a whole new perspective took hold.  What had been complicated was now akin to 'one stop shopping' and my new 'job' took shape.

I cannot believe the incredibly weird things that people sell on the site from Bentleys to used Victoria's Secret bras.  Now I don't know about you but I am unsettled at the thought of other people even trying on clothes before I buy them even though I wash the items before I wear them. But a used bra?  No way! The amazing this is that they are hot sellers with bids in the double digits for each one. I also love the stories, either factual or an effort in creative writing, that sellers put in their copy especially in the engagement ring section.  One of my favorites was written by a man who said that he had gone out of his way to upgrade his wife's engagement ring but that she wanted a Louis Vuitton bag instead and she 'made' him put the ring on eBay so that she could get the bag.  I love it, fact or fiction, it makes a great read.

While I don't know how long I will continue to enjoy this vehicle for spring cleaning and making room for new things, with all the hours of research I have been doing and all the crazy items I have seen up for sale, 'caveat emptor' should be emblazoned under the masthead of eBay site.  Happy bidding!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Where Did He Go?

Okay, I have looked everywhere.  I checked downstairs, upstairs and outside but there is no sign of my husband anywhere.  I am staring to get really worried because his car is missing, too.  He is always here after I drop the children off at school so I just cannot imagine why his car would not be in the driveway or why he is not sitting at the computer when I walked in.  Oh, wait a minute...he got a job!  He is not here because he is at work. Strange.  I suppose this is yet another 'new normal' for us.  It is going to take a while to get used to, you know?  Three years is a long time to be out of work and from my perspective to have another person hanging out with you daily when you are used to riding solo was no walk in the park.  We have always had very clearly defined areas of responsibility with my husband's being work and mine being the children, the house, the errands and, of course, Phoebe.  With him home for so long, he started encroaching on my territory which was definitely a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he took over all the after school driving which was fabulous.  I thought a lot about how I wanted to handle the 'flip-side' explanation so that I would not sound like a wench nor would I hurt my husband's feelings. Suffice it to say, then, that I am a very controlling person who enjoys being solely in charge of her domain--having to include my husband in the daily decision-making process really cramped my style (was that PC enough?).

That said, I am going to miss the morning coffee he always bought for me and the lunch companion with whom I shared all my thoughts, anxieties and dreams.  All I know is Phoebe had better watch out because I am going to talk her little fluffy ears off.  So the way I see it, it is a total 'win' for me as my husband is working and my new companion only looks at me affectionately but offers no opinions.  It is nice to start to feel normal again.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Three years and 18 days.  A terribly long time to be out of work but as of today, we get to change that status to employed.  I must admit that as thrilled as we are to finally have a job, the victory is surprisingly hollow.  After having fought a very long and very difficult battle, and battle it was, our victory brings with it a whole new set of problems as the salary is far from what we are used to and the job is located here...and we all know how much I fantasized about leaving here, now don't we?  My mom, an incorrigible optimist (did I mention I take after my dad?), wants me to look at this as a stepping stone and to continue to work toward my dream of moving back east. I must admit that I do get frustrated by our new found need to 'make do' with what we have and I long to return to my old life, not my life of three years ago, but the one before that when I was genuinely happy.

 I have learned a lot about people and relationships over the past three years and I have certainly learned a lot about myself.  I may have joked a lot about going over the edge, but interestingly,  I never really did go over.  In addition, I learned that it is going to take a long time before I feel safe with this new position if I ever really do at all.  I had everything that I wanted before we crashed and burned in Boston all in a mere 5 weeks.  We were completely blindsided. To be honest, I am still trying to move past that.  I remember standing on the beach there in March not believing that I could ever be that happy and then...well, let's not go there right now.

So, if life is like a book, let us close the cover on this horror story and shelve it way up high, out of reach, so that I never have to see it again. Then let's try something new, a different genre. Let's crack the spine on a new story written with humor and a happy ending because although we may not have been earning a paycheck these past three years, we have definitely earned our chance at a happy ending.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Arrest Warrant

There I was this morning, going about my day not even thinking about the anxiety-producing trials that I had been subjected to last year when, out of the blue, I received an email from the victim's advocate. Trust me, after the ordeal I went through over the course of two plus years with this nonsense, just receiving the email was enough to throw me over the edge, but then I did a foolish thing.  I read it.  Apparently, the defendant did not show up for her sentencing yesterday morning.  It begs the question why not, no?  Well, she decided to steal something in another city and was caught on video doing so.  I was now being informed that yet another arrest warrant had been issued for her but, the frustrating fact is that she is out and about, back to her old tricks--don't think she ever stopped, right?  I suppose the fear of going away for seven years was not enough to coerce her to stay on the straight and narrow nor is the post-trial process stringent enough to keep her in one place and get her to show up for her own sentencing.

In addition, I was assured that her probation officer was to have seen her last week but it seems she was a no-show there as well.  In and of itself that was not encouraging and perhaps should have been a tip off that she was not going to be bothered with showing up at the sentencing and then heading to jail.  I mean, seriously, she has more 'work' to do.  To say I am annoyed would be a gross understatement of how I am feeling at the moment.  Back when this whole trial event started, I was told that I had to show up because I had been subpoenaed and that there was no 'out' for me despite my fear in having to face the defendants.  I was also told that had I moved (ha) back east, I would need to return for the trials regardless of the fact that I do not fly and that it would have taken days by train to get here for a ten minute testimony.  I did my 'time' dealing with this farce and now I really do feel that the defendant has 7 years of jail time that I want to see her deal with.  After what she put me through, it is the least she could do.

The email also stated that I need to wait until she is apprehended again.  Ah, justice, sometimes the wheels grind slowly but this time, they are turning in reverse!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Seven Is Not So Lucky

I'll admit that ever since the 'Boston debacle' (as I call it) when I was lost in a blissful euphoria but then crashed to a low I had never thought possible, I have had trouble with happiness.  Perhaps not in the way you might imagine.  It is not as if I do not like to feel happy, but rather, I am terrified of happiness because it has become a prime indicator that something crappy is going to happen.  Take, for example, our move to MN.  Everyone should know by now that I was very unhappy--bordering on manic--about the move but once we arrived, I was hell-bent on making a go of it, of changing my attitude and embracing our new life here.  Stupid. Just when I was happily (note the word) ensconced in helping the children acclimate to their new school and decorating our home (22 months after we moved here to be exact), my husband lost his job.  I will leave out all the minutia and the day to day roller coaster of life with this type of stress and fast forward to February 2012 when we put our house on the market and readied ourselves for the big move back east.  Woo hoo, it was awesome!  We even took a trip to check out schools and housing and we were greeted by the most glorious and unseasonably warm weather that we spent our afternoons playing on the beach...in March!  I had not felt that happy in forever. Stupid. Until April 6th when our world, once again, came crashing down around us.

I tried to start my morning off in a happy mood despite it being Monday and the start of a particularly busy week including lots of after school activities plus semester final exams which always put my son in the best of moods (wink wink).  Unfortunately, my mood was dashed--no shocker there--as there was an issue with our insurance (a big and potentially dangerous one) and my husband, who had been trying to deal with the mess while I was running an errand, looked as though he was going to have a heart attack, our agent was no where to be found (nor has he since returned a call nor answered my emails) and my poor dog looked like, once again, she had drawn the short straw being chosen to live with our family.

Not only do I think that happiness is over-rated, but I also feel that it is quite unhealthy for me as the fluctuations in blood pressure from happiness to its subsequent (and oftentimes inevitable) crash are killing me.  I think a nice dose of the mundane, a few weeks of calm, no fantastic highs/Hell-like lows, might be just what the doctor has ordered.  Now if someone could tell me how to have a few weeks like that, I would be golden--but not happy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


It is the second day of the new year and I am already tired of listening to everyone's far-fetched resolutions for personal health, mental engagement and social awareness.  To be honest, you and I both know that a large percentage of these high-minded though well-intentioned resolutions will not be adhered to much beyond the end of January.  Not only that, but I find it hard to believe that so many hopeful people will become more self-actualized or, worse yet, stay 'true to themselves' ( I have never really understood that one) until year end or beyond. Please don't misunderstand me.  I do give these resolution-makers credit for their eagerness, goal setting ability and all around optimism, but I ascribe to the 'actions speak louder than words' mentality that makes me the ever unpopular realist in my family.

So, this year, as in years past, I did not make any resolutions that I know I cannot keep.  I also never promise anyone anything for the same reason. Instead, this year I decided to change it up and  run counter to the popular norm of attempted bettering oneself for the new year. I decided that it ought be more fun to turn my life on its edge and model some less desirable behavior. For instance, lots of people start exercise regimes but I am going on a feeding frenzy, a veritable descent into couch potato heaven.  Be true to myself?   I am not even sure I like myself these days so why be true, maybe if I model myself after someone else, I might be happier.

By now you may be thinking that I really did fall off the edge and that I must have lost all common sense. Let me assure you that I still have all my marbles...they may be a little mixed up, but they are all there. I am simply so tired of rhetoric and of people all talking the talk, but not following through with their actions. It may seem simplistic but I just wish that people would spend less time talking and pontificating about all the changes and improvements they are going to make to their bodies and their minds and just do it.  Stop telling me and just show me.  Let 2013 be a year of action, not talk.  Okay?