Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I originally started this blog on a lark.  My husband pressured me because he thinks that I write well and so he thought that this might be fun for me and it is,  but more than just being fun, my blog has become sort of an online form of therapy for me (and these days, I need it).  It is cathartic for me, having people read the blogs and make comments about them is great, but the opportunity to void my mind of some 'mental noise' of which I seem to have an abundance, is welcomed.  The blog I had planned to write today stemmed from an incident in which woman in a store asked me if I had grandchildren.  Briefly, the gist of the post was going to be centered around that fact that while chronologically (had I started having children earlier in my marriage), I am old enough to be a grandma, the word 'grandma' does not necessarily evoke feelings of youthful exuberance to me and basically makes me feel cranky, annoyed and in need of a serious make-over.  That said, a comment made this morning by my husband so far superseded the granny dig that I decided to write about it instead.  Take a moment and get some coffee or a cold drink, I think this might be a long post.

I feel the need to interject a disclaimer before I get started because at face value, the comment was so banal that it probably would not have even registered as an issue for most people.  Additionally, I am passionate about everything, both positively and negatively, so things usually get to me more than they do the average person.  Living with revolving unemployment (it has become like a boomerang, we get rid of it, but it keeps coming back) and underemployment over the past almost five years has truly not been a walk in the park by any means.  The situation works on your psyche over time, it erodes your self-esteem, heaps on the self-doubt and makes you question your self-worth.  Long-term and repeated unemployment necessitates 'doing whatever it takes' to land the next job from attending endless networking meetings and events to revamping your resume a hundred times so that it is tailored to each and every job to which you apply.  Basically, you need to act like a marionette, dancing along to whatever change the headhunter or HR person pulling your strings wants you to do next.  Then, this morning, my husband informed me that he had been speaking to an HR person last night (at his networking function du jour), and she had mentioned he would need to shave his beard because he would probably not get hired where we live if he were to have one.  Seriously?

Frankly, I am so not okay with that for so many reasons, none the least of which is the beard itself as even I realize that he can grow it back.  For me, it is what the beard represents about which I take issue.  What I resent is that this is yet another string being pulled, another ridiculous and inane step that this man needs to take in order to have a chance at a job. Let me preface this by saying that his beard is not of the 'John Lennon during the Let It Be phase' nor does he resemble anyone from Duck Dynasty.  I am angry that he needs to alter his appearance as if by doing so, he will somehow become a more qualified candidate for underemployment at a particular company.

If effort to find another job--again and again and again--could morph into a real job with a salary, then my husband should be a CEO by now.  He has raised the job search bar so high he is even harnessing his search efforts and giving back to the community by volunteering his time as the head of a networking group at our church.  He certainly never expected anyone to hand him a job, he has put in an incredible amount of time over the past years trying to secure a stable position in an unstable economy.

So, yes, I know I need to 'put on my big girl panties' and deal with the loss of his beard--for the record, that I love-- because he will continue to do whatever it takes (and I will continue to be ticked off about it our lack of choice in the process)to land a job.  Let's face it, desperation is not sexy, but apparently,  it does seem to need to be clean-shaven where we live.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


I had a revelation this morning while putting away the laundry. Before I tell you what it was, however, you will need a little back story to completely understand the excitement about it.  When we purchased our house, the realtor told us that the original owner had been a newly engaged man who was buying the house for his soon-to-be wife.  He had had the carpet removed on the main level and had replaced it with beautiful inlaid wood flooring with a pretty inlaid medallion in the center of the great room.  Additionally, he had had the carpeted stairs replaced with hardwood and if that was not enough to impress his fiancee, he had a medallion installed of two intertwined hearts just outside the master bedroom on the upper landing. Clearly, this guy was a romantic, however, his fiancee was not impressed as she dumped him just before the wedding.  While I have no idea as to the complexity of their issues nor am I suggesting that some inlaid flooring had anything to do with the couple's demise (if so, wow, the girl must have really loved carpet, huh?), as I mentioned I did have a revelation as I stepped on those hearts this morning.  Basically, I have come to the conclusion that my house is jinxed.  Yup, bad juju abounds here.

Allow me to explain my theory.  Not only did Romeo get jilted, but he could not wait to unload his precious 'gift' on the first buyer who came along, a house flipper who knew less about home renovations than I do about rocket science.  When the flipper decided to sell, in we walked all stressed out and frantic that one, we had to move to a place that would not have fallen on my top 200 list of places to live if I sat down to think about them and two, we had about 20 minutes to make a decision about a house before we needed to return home to deal with the move.  Long story short, ever since we moved in we have faced a years' long series of unfortunate events including but not limited to four bouts of long-term unemployment, me testifying for the prosecution in a criminal trial (don't ask), the complete loss of water in our house as a result of some sludge issue in our pipes (which happened the very first weekend after we moved in), and not one, but two major water leaks resulting in replacing not one, but two ceilings.  I could go on but I would bore you and I am already depressed enough as it is these days.

So, there you have it. i am in dire need of an exorcist or my local 'bad juju remover' ASAP.  The moral of this story...and this is really important so listen up...before you get engaged, think long and hard about the commitment, because if you reconsider your decision, you could ruin the lives of a lot more people than just your ex-fiance(e).

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I used to be an electronics buyer for a retailer back in Brooklyn, NY, who was one of the first to run 'Christmas in July' sales many years ago in an effort to increase sales during our traditionally slow summer season.  It was a weird but effective sales strategy and it was kind of fun to help design Christmas ads and decorate the stores while wondering whether or not it was going to be a good weekend to head to the beach.  It was a moment in time, but the real fun happened post-Thanksgiving with the 'official' start of the Christmas season being Black Friday.  My mom and I could not wait to head to the malls the day after we had stuffed ourselves into a food coma to start our holiday shopping.  The anticipation was heightened only by our knowing that this was when we would be able to take advantage of the best sales and feel the excitement of season from the moment we caught sight of the decor adorning the malls and the individual store windows.  I loved that time of year.

Flash forward to the present when the reality is that we actually do start seeing Christmas decor in the stores in July.  Okay, so perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but it is not unusual to see Christmas in the stores come September alongside Halloween and Thanksgiving and for me it begs the question as to why?  What is the rush? Why have the seasons now become more like #summerfallwinter as opposed to what they used to be, true, distinct seasons when we could enjoy the harvest and the beautiful foliage without having to look past Christmas lights in the process.  I know that given where we live, an argument could be made for installing outdoor lights and decor sooner rather than later so as to capitalize on the slightly warmer weather.  Trust me, as a person who has attempted to drive stakes into already frozen earth to secure our ever-popular Christmas lawn ornaments, I get it, but seeing the lights burning brightly in all there green and red splendor before Veteran's Day saddens me on some level.

The retailers are the biggest culprits in the race to Christmas.  I have already received a mailer and an email plus seen more than one reference on my Instagram feed to the amazing sale next week at a major retailer in which the entire store will be 50% off.  It is called something like the 'Pre-Black Friday Sale.' But, I thought Black Friday was supposed to be the start of the big sales, not some random day a week prior to Thanksgiving.  What the heck?  Where is the sense of anticipation?  Again, it saddens me on some level.

Please don't even get me started on the fact that the stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to start the Black Friday rush even earlier. While I am not a person opposed to shopping on Thanksgiving...I think that once the meal is eaten, the dishes are done and the husband is snoozing in from of the TV, I am all in for a round of shopping...I miss the sense of excitement and wonderment that the building of anticipation about the season made all the sweeter.

This is, of course, merely one woman's opinion, but I hate the thought that the last two weeks before Christmas are going to be filled with post-Christmas/pre-New Year's/Valentine's Day sales. Happy Thanks-istmas everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Being Good is Bad

A few weeks ago I took my children to the dentist and parked my new car in the then empty lot in a small strip mall parking area where the dentist is located.  When their check-ups were complete, we ambled out to find a small SUV butt up against my bumper.  Did I mention it was a new car?  I thought so,  but it bears repeating.  Given that there was a large logo on the side of the car and that that logo matched the one above another store in the mall, I quickly deduced that the driver of the car must be in the store.  Pretty smart, eh?  I pulled my car up a few inches to see if there was any damage because my plan was to let it go if there was none, no harm/no foul.  However, when I saw the scratches and the dent in my bumper, I decided to head on in to see if I could discuss the issue with the driver.  To be honest, given the lows we have been experiencing of late, I was not agitated by the damage but more resigned to the fact that something else had gone awry and I would need to get it fixed.  Rather than drone on about the minutia of finding the driver, I will cut to the chase.  The man walked out of the store and immediately became belligerent, cursing and yelling at me, and calling me some very unsavory names...all in front of my youngest, who took it as his cue to jump in the car.  Even he sensed that this was not going to go well.  This man then accused me of doing the damage 'a week ago' and then attempting to blame him for it.  He continued to yell obscenities at me and is the best part...when I said I was going to call the police, he dared me and then hit me in the arm.  Yup, this out of control man hit me in the arm!  Truly frightened by this erratic and seemingly crazy behavior, I sought help and called the police.  Long story made very short, the police came and he continued to hurl invectives at me, all while telling the police that I was a 'crazy b****.  One of the police officers asked if I wanted to file assault charges and I foolishly said no.  Ah, hindsight is indeed 20/20.

Fast forward to last night, when I received a call from his insurance company stating that...wait for it...they had spoken to the driver and he not only denied hitting my car, but he said that I had hit him instead, therefore, they would not be paying for the damage to my car.  A few things jump out at you after reading that sentence, no?  For instance, you mean to tell me that their 'investigation' consisted of asking the guy if he did the damage???  Honestly?  I wonder how many times the insurance company pays out on damage claims.  They just ask, accept the answer and move on?  The gentleman from the insurance company did not question this driver as to how I could have hit his car if I was not driving my car at the time and was, in fact, in the dentist office?  Nah.  Why bother to truly investigate the claim?  Hey, the guy said he did not do it, right?

So, a couple of personal observations from this experience.  First, I should have put aside my fear about charging him with assault and I definitely should have done so.  He put my children in jeopardy and he certainly 'terrorized' me and touched me.  Yes, as the policewoman pointed out, even a hit in the arm is assault. Second, shame on him for truly being all the things he called me and more.  He could not even keep his anger under control when speaking to the police.  Third, three words. Anger management classes.  Get some help.  There are more things swirling through my head as relates to this incident but the last thing I want to comment on is the insurance company and their lack of due diligence.  It was insulting to receive a call like that after having gone through the stress of dealing with this driver.  I had to call the police on this guy and their investigation of the claim is based solely on the fact this guy said he did not do it.

While I don't know any more of this driver's character than what he showed me himself that day, I am sure of one thing.  Despite his wild show of anger, he is one lucky guy.  I,  on the other hand, now have a damaged car and a damaged view of justice to boot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Don't Want To!

I hate change.  Though I must admit that I used to be a card carrying member of the Lover Of Change Club, that card received a ritualistic burning once the changes in my life became fast and furious, out of my control, and none too pleasant.  One of my best friends, a true hater of change herself, could never understand why I so openly embraced the opportunity to try something new or to purge the house of things I no longer needed or wanted.  Every single piece of her life, each trinket or souvenir, means so much to her.  It is almost as if, should she get rid of something collecting dust, her memory of that item or time in her life would vanish leaving her feeling empty.  There was once an opportunity for her to move to a larger home with the storage that she craved but lacked, but though she did consider it--for about 30 seconds--she ended up staying where she was because the thought of packing and leaving the house in which her son had grown up, paralyzed her.

My metamorphosis from loving change to hating it was a slow one, an almost imperceptible wearing away starting from from the time of my husband's first round of unemployment, through the second, third and now (come tomorrow) fourth time and my son heading off to college.  Nothing pleads 'no more change' quite like your first born leaving the nest.  Ouch! For all the positives for them, watching as my children move out of our house and on to their own lives is not all fun and games for me.  We are about 7 weeks into his freshman year and I am still waiting for him to pack up and come home, so that we can return to what I once knew was normal.

Tomorrow, Halloween, I will be facing yet another change, one my youngest brought to light when he was feeling sad the other day.  When I asked why he was feeling down, he told me that he was concerned about Halloween because my oldest used to orchestrate a big candy trade and this year just wouldn't be the same without it. I don't know how my oldest did it because he stopped actually trick or treating a few years ago, but he would tag along walking our dog. But, when we returned home,  he could take two random pieces of candy and parlay them into a bag full during this candy trade.  Talk about skill.  In reality, he took candy from his siblings that they did not like and then traded it back to them for stuff he liked.  They never knew what hit them.  I still don't understand how it always worked in his favor beyond the fact that he is one persuasive guy and could make them think that the candy they disliked was actually the best of the loot.

So, yes, children grow up, people lose jobs...OK, can this be the last time for a good long while, please?...but at least one thing remains a constant.  Crazy college son informed me that he wore a gorilla costume to lacrosse practice last night.  Doesn't everyone?

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back in the Game

As we move closer to October 31st, I am becoming increasingly more bitter as the previous post outlines.I have been searching for a part-time job of late, but I must admit to being cranky about that as well.  We all have certain expectations of where we might be at a particular time in our lives and this was definitely not part of my plan while I still had a child in lower school.  I am also so exhausted and jaded from the almost five year long quest to help my husband find a job, that the last thing (and I mean the very last thing) that I want to be doing right now is looking for a position for myself.  That said, in doing so I have encountered certain problems that I would like to share with my readers. Here are but a few of the things hampering my search (I even took the time to come up with a title for them.  Nice, huh?)

                  5 Ways to Know You Have Not Searched for a Job in a Really Really Long Time

1.  Applications are now online.  No paper applications?  No attaching a physical resume?  Computers?  It is a whole new world for this job seeker.

2.  Most recent experience exceeds oldest's child' age (and for me that would be 18 years)

3.  Not one but two previous employers have since closed up shop and an additional one switched from being a college to being a university.  Crazy times, try not putting in a phone number/address on an asterisked entry on an online job application and see how far you get. (For those of you who have never attempted to do so, you will not move forward to the next page.  Game over)

4.  Near impossible to come up with two or three professional references as a result of #3 or death of potential reference.

5.  Stating your college/grad school graduation date elicits fear in your heart as a little simple addition and whamo, everyone knows you are not 29 years old anymore.

I could go on and on but, honestly, it is Monday and that is bad enough, so why belabor the point.  The bottom line is that if I could only find an employer who would throw a blind eye to my quasi-ancient experience and age, lack of professional references through no fault of my own, and could accommodate my desire to work online/remotely/virtually (or whatever the 'nom du jour' for telecommuting is these days), I would be golden.  But, if an online application could be developed to accommodate those attempting to return to the work force after a protracted number of years without the benefit of three living professional references and not loving the idea of stating her graduation date (I will provide the copy of the degree if we can allow the graduation date to be the elephant in the room), that would be even better.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Isn't It Ironic?

I got 'the call' a little while ago.  This is a call that no matter how many times I receive it (and so far, I have gotten it three times prior to today in almost 5 years), I will never be ready to accept it.  Yes, loyal readers, I am sure you can surmise by now that I received a call from my husband telling me that, come October 31st, he will be out of a job again, due to budget cuts.  The first time he called me to relay the 'happy' news, it was a glorious, sunny day...a Tuesday, if you must know...with the most beautifu, deep blue sky.  I must admit I had been having a great day as well until I was blind-sided by the terrible news.  Interestingly, there seems to be a causal relationship between the weather and this type of call for us as each subsequent time my husband relayed the end of yet another term of employment, the day was bright and sunny and today is no different.

There is, however, a big difference in my reactions.  The first time I was completely shocked and terrified but yet I possessed a strange and unusual optimism that perhaps he could find a new job quickly and we would rebound, possibly even with a better job.  Ha! Twenty-months later (!!!), when he landed this fabulous position in exactly the place I wanted to be living, I figured we had paid our dues and we were being rewarded for our diligence and faith. Then, on that exquisite day in April, when I got the call saying that after only 5 weeks of employment, we were again without a job (and that our hope of moving back home had been shot to hell as well), I was less optimistic that this whole finding a new job thing was going to work in our favor. Flash  forward nine months to the next position with a very solid company and I thought we had survived the worst time of our lives.  Wrong! Apparently, the worst time was yet to come as eight months later...surprise...the holidays are coming and we are unemployed yet again. Clearly, the powers that be are not finished with us as 5 months later, the new position has now led us to crash and burn yet again...on a beautiful, sunny day, that had been going pretty well for me until 'the call'...just before the holidays.

So, by now you should be wondering what this blog is all about beyond me just venting about our lot in life.  Sadly, I must say that right now, the post is what it is.  I am frustrated and angry, tired of trying to be optimistic when we are trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of get job--lose job--spend months searching for new job--get 'the call'--start all over again.  Even as I re-read this post, our story sounds positively unbelievable.  If I saw a movie with this plot, I would hate it because it seems unreal, almost comedic.  Too bad it is not.  Too bad it is our life.

Once bitten, twice shy.  Four times bitten, bitter in perpetuity.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


It has been exactly one week since we dropped my oldest son at college and I have some observations that I would like to share with you.  Please note that the following are in no particular order.

1. It stinks!  No, really.  I was told over and over again that I would get used to it, maybe even learn to enjoy having to buy less food, do less laundry and focus more on my other children.  Hooey!  News flash, my food bill this week was the same as last week, I am a complete laundry fanatic so less is definitely not more in my book and as for the other children?  I have had multiple friends tell me that I am the only person they know who has four children, but who treats them each as though they were only children.  They always get plenty of attention, trust me.

2.  Time may be my friend ( a lovely acquaintance told me that once),  but while I have come to accept this new normal, I will never, ever like it.

3.  College life disrupts the familial dynamic.  For instance, 'college boy' and I have a very close relationship but, apparently, it is not as close as I had thought when we are on the phone.  All of a sudden, my chatty son, with whom I have engaged in sparkling conversation while in high school, has now become a monosyllabic wonder.  He does call me per our 'communication plan' that everyone told me we needed to have before he left ('give him some control,' 'don't overwhelm him with having to call home all the time'...yeah yeah yeah), but it is like pulling teeth to get him to communicate during the calls.  I am seeing a pattern, however, that I think is part of his master plan.  He calls thus fulfilling his end of the deal, he talks about what he wants to, I ask a question, he suddenly becomes too busy to continue the conversation and hangs up. I did get a couple of calls about doing the wash this morning that were quite interactive, however.  Yay!

4.  No matter how many books I read on the subject nor how many internet articles I digested, nothing could have prepared me for how abruptly I went from knowing so much about my son and his life to (a mere one week later) him having a life of his own.  Some days I simply cannot get my brain around that.  He is off at school making friends I have not yet met, taking classes I know little about and seeing and doing things about which I had no input.  Some might say that this was seventeen years in the making but to me, it seems like only yesterday he had my neck in a vice grip during music class when the instructor took out a puppet to show the class. Yup, terrified of the puppet.  Surely he was scared for life.

This is certainly a learning experience for us both, but I know he got the better end of the deal.  He is off starting his own independent life with new experiences, challenges and rewards.  While I am here in our old life, only without him as a part of our day to day, missing him like crazy and hoping that he remembers to continue to call home for more than just advice about his laundry.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I must admit that I have been debating as to whether or not to write this post for a few days for reasons ranging from this being a very sensitive topic for me to not really wanting to put my 'feelings out there' because it is a topic so close to my heart.  I also know that while there is a wide range of emotions possible concerning this topic, at least in my neck of the woods, I am somewhat of a lone wolf.  All that said, I have been receiving such encouragement from friends to blog about this that I decided to tell it like it is.  Before proceeding, please remember that just because we may not share the same viewpoint on this topic, dear readers, we are each entitled to that viewpoint or feeling.  Remember what your mom told you about if you don't have anything nice to say...okay?

We dropped my oldest off at college yesterday morning and I am taking it hard, very, very hard.  I feel such a profound sense of loss in our home and a weird, almost other-wordly, anxiety.  I think my husband said it best when he reminded me that all the other events we had done with our children included adding to our family.  This is the first time that we are subtracting from it and it is painful.  I had worked myself up into a beautiful frenzy all last week in anticipation of the big departure.  I did not miss 'one last' with my son (even though I tried to keep my mind from going there, my other children never missed an opportunity to remind me) from the last meal I would prepare for him as a transitional child--not a higher schooler anymore/not yet in college--to the last walk he took with Phoebe, our dog, and everything in between.  We all know how obsessive I can be, right?  Well, I found out I had new talents in that area as well.  Yay me!  I have spoken to quite a few of my friends who dropped their boys off a week earlier and who are still having trouble going into their sons' rooms or falling apart at random times during the day.  I can only imagine how long it will take me to even be close to having a day without tears.

The issue is not that he will be unhappy or that I am worried about him at college (okay, maybe a little).  The issue is all mine, the loss of his childhood, the feeling of having run out of time.  He is there having the time of his life, the start of his independence with new friends, perhaps a girlfriend, interesting classes and activities.  The sky is the limit.  I am here in the same home we shared grappling with memories and feeling selfish about wanting to share the next chapter of his life as I have done every chapter before.  It is a new feeling and one that I am not comfortable with as yet.  One friend told me that she cried for two weeks straight after dropping her daughter off at college while another told me that it took her sister an entire year to become totally comfortable with dropping her son off at school.  One of my oldest friends ended up in therapy as a result of her boys leaving a year apart.  The empty nest is a prickly place sometimes.  Thank heaven I still have three more little birds in mine.  My youngest knows that where ever he goes to college, we are going with him!  he had better choose a great school in an even greater climate.

I just got off the phone with my freshman and he sounds very good, a little off kilter,  but that is to be expected during this transitional time.  Growing up is hard on everyone, perhaps on this mom most of all.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Memory Hoarder

I realized something about myself while I was deflating a "Congratulations, Grad" balloon to put into my son's graduation memory book--yes, his party was in June but we have been testing the Party City    claim that their balloons last a long time and they do.  I am a memory hoarder.  I cannot let go of one single, seemingly inconsequential picture, craft or event that pertains to my children.  While I am certainly not suggesting that my son's graduation from high school was a mere blip on our radar screen, I seem to hold all things child-related with the same amount of intensity and a fervent need to hold the memory as a keepsake.  For instance, I am certainly an anomaly amongst my friends when it comes to photo albums for my children as each of my children have a large number of albums with photos placed in chronological order, labeled with with the event and any anecdotical comments I may have had at the moment.  I have never missed an event from birthday to classroom party...times four.  Each and every memento brought home is either saved or photographed to be saved...times four.  Interestingly or perhaps scarily, I can remember in vivid detail the situation or event surrounding the picture as well and those key dates that I am fearful of forgetting are written down in memory got it, times four.

Braces on?  I can tell you the date it happened.  Taken off?  Got that, too.  From first haircut (with first cut locks saved, of course) to permit test, I have it documented in each child's book.  I have been laughed at and mocked because, honestly, who in their right mind will care about the exact date that my youngest slept through the night, but I am terrified that I might.  I simply need to remember these things to keep the memories safe.

This summer has been incredibly bittersweet for me because while I am happy to sharing this time with my children, my focus is on summer's end and my son heading off to college.  Memories have taken over my thoughts and this enormous change in my family has me thinking about all the firsts he had taken and the firsts yet to come and the inevitable sadness that I feel that those new firsts will not be documented by me.  Yes, I am fully aware that some of those firsts should not be documented at all.

One of my closest friends told me that while this will be a difficult summer because of the obvious countdown to his departure, once he goes, the focus will be on the countdown to his return and the new memories we will make.  All I know is that I will be there happily documenting those times, memory hoarder that I am.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Unkind Summer

Since the last week of school, my oldest was sick then lovingly passed the bug to my husband who held on to it for a few days, then decided my other son was missing out so he shared it with him. Simultaneous to this germ-passing event, I faced two health issues myself (small, but impossibly annoying and long lasting) before catching that lovely bug from my son who apparently did not want me to feel left out. Thrilled to have received this 'gift,' I sweetened the pot by adding the longest lasting sore throat to the cootie before sharing it with my youngest.  Nice twist, no?  We decided to keep illness for as long as is humanly possible and so we are just now recovering.  Just not a fun start to summer at all.  I was hoping to put all of summer's initial annoyance behind us when we awoke this morning at 5am to the deafening shrill tone of our carbon monoxide detector.  The good thing is that we would have been getting up in 25 minutes anyway, but the bad thing is that no one needs to be startled awake quite like that at any time of the day or night.

My first thought after I was able to calm myself down enough to think was that I had better get out of the shortie pj's and put on some clothes while my second thought was that no one should see what my short hair looks like in the morning before a shower.  Crap, this was going to be ugly, very ugly.  By this point, my husband and the children were in flight mode and with me yelling 'grab Phoebe and get out of the house,' I made my way down the stairs taking my keys and phone (I was later berated by my daughter for not having the decency to have grabbed her phone as well) and jackets for everyone as I ran out the door.  What a fun way to start the day!

While we waited for the fire department to arrive, praying all the time that their sirens would not be blaring, we did what any normal family would do when wrenched from their beds at an unkind hour.  My boys played lacrosse, my husband was on his phone and my daughter chattered on about the morning's events and how incredulous she was that she had seen her phone but not taken it. There you go.

Long story short, the fire department finally showed up only to take a look and deduce that they had no idea why the alarm went off. They took a reading and there was nothing to be concerned about.  Seriously?  I wanted something to be wrong on some level.  We earned a better answer than they had no idea, right? Now I am paranoid this will happen again, randomly. Let's tick another box for additional stress for this mommy.

So summer is bugging me right now.  I had hopes of relaxing and enjoying beautiful weather...don't get me started on that subject either.  That said, I hope summer takes it sweet time coming to an end as my son heads off to college in August and I want to face that even less than I wanted to face those firemen this morning, not showered with crazy hair, mismatched clothes and a bad attitude.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Final Countdown

I know it has been quite awhile since I last wrote a post, but that does not mean that I have not had a lot to say.  My issue is that most of what is inside my head right now needs to be edited extensively before it hits the page and is ready for public consumption.  It is not a secret that we have been struggling with trying to find a job for my husband, but that has been resolved (albeit for a brief while) with the temporary position he was offered this morning.  While it is far from perfect and it merely postpones our current situation, it does feel good to be able to table our never-ending discussions about networking, meetings, job boards, resumes and online applications so that I can discuss what is truly important to me right now, my son's impending graduation.

Never did I think that this event would bring me to my knees as it has been doing for the last few months.  The family joke is that I can be brought to tears at the mere mention of some inane pre-graduation reference.  My son's senior speech?  I cried for weeks.  Prom?  Yikes.  Last senior speech of the year?  You got it.  The final student was not even my son but I was overwhelmed by the fact that my son's class, in essence MY class, would soon be graduating.  His final two days of his high school career are today and tomorrow and then he has finals.  How did the year go by so quickly?  It feels like only yesterday that we were sitting at his 8th Grade Transition Dinner listening to what would be in store for us in high school.

People tell me that I should be happy for him as he is embarking on his own life now, a new chapter of independence but I am.  I could not be more proud of him if I tried.  You see, I am really crying for myself and all that I will be missing when he goes away.  I tried a variety of careers before having my son but nothing felt quite right.  I was never satisfied and always searching, but then I had a baby and everything crystallized for me.  As antiquated as it may sound, I was born to be a mom.  I have a 'new normal' ahead for me, an adjustment to my thinking and planning as now I will be caring for three children at home, not four. Right now, it just seems weird, odd and surreal that I will not be setting the table for six nor will I be reading over his essays or having him sit in the passenger seat when driving to school with his siblings.  It is definitely going to take quite a while for me to ever get used to this, if indeed I ever do.

I wish I could go back to my 'original normal,' back on the east coast, with my husband working at a job he loved and with me in my sun-filled home stressing out over whether or not to send my soon-to-graduate to kindergarten at four years old or not (I did) and hoping that as my children grew up they would get along better (they don't).  I can say with some certainty, however, that no matter how sad I am about graduation, there is one person in this family who is more worried than I am.  That would be the son who is next in line for all my attention (and anxiety and worry) as he navigates the three years until he goes off to college.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

And The Winner Is...

Lists, lists everywhere.  They are my only means of staying sane of late, of ordering the chaos, of remembering who to pick up, at what time and where.  With that in mind, I have decided to try something different today and to utilize my list-making skills on the blog and so I bring you the top 5 reasons why I have become an unemployment shrew. I hope you enjoy the new format and, as always, please feel free to comment if you do. Of course, if you don't, I would ask that you not share your opinion as one, I am already cranky enough and, two, this format will not be a permanent change to my blog. Thanks (insert smiley face emoji).

1.  The interview that keeps on giving.  Simply put, one goes on an interview or two or three, gets amazingly positive feedback, and then never hears from the company again, despite following up via email and phone.  Okay, so clearly the applicant did not make the cut, right?  Why complain?  I'll tell you why.  I feel it speaks to the de-personalization of the process as a whole.  Back in the day when snail mail was the only game in town, responding to all interviewees might have been a real issue, but with the advent of email, this truly becomes a moot point.  Additionally, I am not expecting that a company respond individually to anyone who applied for the position, but merely to the group who made it to the final round of interviews.  At most, maybe 5?  How tough would this be.  To make life even easier, how about a quickie email to only those few who bothered to follow-up, you know, the still-interested candidates.  It might be a nice gesture plus it offers closure. Common courtesy.

2.  Updated job boards.  Yes, I now that only about 2% of all job seekers actually find a job through a job board listing, but for the other fools who check them constantly (that would be me)  in the hope of being part of that small group, it might be nice to see positions that are still open and/or viable.  Perhaps I am over-simplifying the boards' maintenance, but somehow I doubt it.  Purge, people, let it go!

3.  The crazy questions from disbelievers.  First, let me say that I am right there with you.  No one and I do mean no one, can believe that we are going through this for the third time and that my husband is still out of work, more than I can.  Talk about being incredulous!  Jeesh!  That said, if one more person questions how hard my husband is looking for work, I think I may just scream. Do they think we enjoy living with all this stress?  lack of money?  fun? Even if we did, is it any of their business at all? Ah, no.

4.  Financial stress.  Enough said.

5. What to continue to tell the children.  I could go on and on about this one, but I think I will just keep my thoughts to myself.  Trust me, you are all better off for it.   

So there you have it, my vent for the day.  Apparently, the gloomy, rainy day is working on my oft sunny disposition. C'mon on, I could not even type that with a straight face please don't tell me that you could read it with one.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Social Media Mayhem

Choose happy.  Start your day with a smile.  So blessed.  I could go on but my brain does not work well when on optimistic overload.  I much prefer to write in my own reality even when it is far more real than I may want it to be at times.  Perhaps I am being too blunt when I ask if people really, truly believe the quotes they post daily, but after having read more than my fill in the five minutes I was perusing my mostly fashion-heavy Instagram feed, I cannot help but wonder.  Why do so many people feel the need to share all this motivational inspiration?  Do people who post these quotes believe that people don't choose to be happy or that they start off cranky everyday?  Are they gentle reminders or scream in your face demands?  I wonder.

Despite what you may or may not read on my blog, I genuinely do choose happy each just seems that of late, happy does not want to be chosen by me or, rather, we are frenemies instead of BFF's depending on the day. Some days, I resent being told to start my day with a smile because it implies that I may have forgotten to do so or that I start my day with a scowl, which I don't (at least not often enough to mention).  I suppose I have to keep in mind  that the majority of my virtual blogger friends are far younger than I am, mere neophytes in the world of marriage, children and life in general.  At this point in their lives, they haven't a clue about what it takes to stay married for 26 years, all while navigating through ups and downs, good times and bad...and worse.  While I certainly know that problems do not exclusively belong to those who have lived longer, I think we can all agree that life's challenges certainly can color one's perspective and outlook.

That seems to sum up my rant du jour. Today, my black and white manner of dealing with life has reared its ugly head and I am craving some Jimmy Choo and Rag and Bone and the like.  That is inspiration enough for me to choose happy (at least for a little while). 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Countdown Is On

I know it has been a while since I have posted, but there really has not been much to say. Still no job, still bitter, still trying to make the best of it. That said, as most of you must know by now, writing is cathartic for me and my mind is so full of 'stuff' that if I don't let some of it out, my head is going to explode (and I detest anything messy). Of course, it is Monday and as if that is not bad enough in and of itself, it is the first day back to school after our two week spring break.  Even though it was not exactly spring-like nor did we venture to any exotic locale, it was fun to be free from the stress of homework, projects and deadlines of any kind.  Since I am a mom who truly enjoys being with her children (a lot), the house seems far too quiet for me right now.  The big issue, however, is not merely our returning to a routine but, rather, the fact that now I have to face the fact that graduation is a mere two months away.  My last hurdle, our spring break, is now behind us and we are on a bullet train to the end of my son's senior year.  Most people I speak to simply don't understand why I am making such a fuss about this and why I cannot get past it.  I have been told that I need to accept that he is growing up (I do), be happy that he is moving on and becoming more independent (I am) and just be happy about the fact that he is happy about moving on to the next stage in his life (duh, who says I am not?).  I suppose the issue stems from a fact that my mom pointed out to me back when I was three years old and wildly in love with Dean Martin, a feeling that has never changed.  She told me that when I love, I love in a deep and unwavering way, quite possibly to a fault.  I suppose this is the case with my children.  Of course, rationally I understand how fabulous this next stage in life will be for him and how normal it is for him to be excited about leaving the nest, but a part of me mourns all that I will be missing out on in his next chapter. Selfish, you bet. Honest, to a fault.

Each one of my children is so different and each gives me something special that no other one can. This son, though quite different from me in personality, possesses a sarcastic wit not unlike my own.  We 'get' each other.  He also approaches school and his writing assignments as I do and he loves my input on those assignments.  How could I not love a child who wants my input where writing is concerned?  My other three, not so much.  I could drone on and on about the qualities that I will miss in his daily presence, but I won't lest someone send the men in the white coats to save me from myself.  Suffice it to say, I miss him already.

I know it will get easier once he is away at school (notice I did not say when he is gone), and that I will adjust to the 'new normal.'  I don't have to like it, however.  So, the countdown is on...senior speech, Prom, finals and then graduation. Two months and counting from yesterday.  Retail therapy has always helped me in the past but today it did nothing for me nor did the coffee I have been drinking all morning.  Since I don't drink and it is raining and dreary, I think I am in for a long afternoon.

I suppose I should refrain from collecting his pictures for the senior slide show parent event. Can you say tissues, anyone?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Got To Have Faith

A while back, I wrote a blog expounding upon how I no longer needed to write about unemployment, but we all know how that morphed into a lie.  Okay, lie is a strong word but trust me, I never ever (ever, get the point?) wanted to discuss that topic again.  Sadly, another corporate re-structuring changed that yet again. Fear not, readers, this post is not going to be filled with hate-filled invectives about our plight or the necessity of us finding a job because not having a job (and money!!!) is pretty annoying and suffocating, to say the least.  It is, however, going to be a testament to my husband's big heart, creativity and overall sense of stewardship as it relates to his seemingly never-ending job search and finely-honed networking skills.  You see, after countless years of networking and fine-tuning his '30 second elevator speech' (basically a hyper-condensed version of his resume), he is starting his own networking group at our church.  When he first came to me to discuss the idea, I have to admit I was skeptical not only because it was such a large undertaking, but I also did not think that he would be able convince the 'powers that be' at church to allow the meeting to be held there.  As seems to be the case of late, I was wrong again and he was greeted with open arms.  Perhaps even better for his 'lack of a job' bruised ego, they loved his ideas and have given him carte blanche in implementing those ideas for the meetings. He is energized in a way I have not seen of late and while we are still on the hunt for a 'real job,' I am so proud of him for pushing forth and trying to help other people even though he may not be feeling so great about himself right now.

How I wish that a recruiter could see the level of professionalism my husband possesses and the intense desire he has to be successful at whatever he chooses to do.  My hope is that this new endeavor not only helps its participants find employment, but that through his selfless desire to 'give back,' my husband is rewarded with a job as well.  He has certainly worked hard for it.

For information about the group, check out the group page on Linkedin SJTW Job Transition and Networking Group or contact me at  Spread the word!

Monday, February 17, 2014

What's Up?

As you know by now if you follow my blog, I have been struggling not only with thoughts about content, but also in which direction I would like to take my blog given that my thoughts are focused almost 24/7 on helping my husband find a job and my son's impending graduation from high school. I obsess about the big move on to the college years,  but I tear up too much thinking about that so I try to get those thoughts out of my head ASAP. Seriously, we do have a very l-o-n-g six months ahead until his departure in August ( at least that is my story and I am sticking with it). So, sitting here on this snowy day, I said, "Self (as I often refer to myself upon reflection), what the heck do you want to talk about today?  The dismal weather?  Nah, we are all fed up with that, nothing new there. The job search?  Bleh, talk about a turn-off.  Oh, I know.  How about the world according to Facebook and Instagram?"  Time for a reality check.

Can you imagine if life was really like the one people portray on social media?  A perfect world filled with photos of amazing and stress-free vacations, brilliant children always making the right choices, fabulous parties and everyone looking model perfect all the time.  Sometimes I find myself getting caught up in all the perfection and I take an emotional hit for not being able to keep up with everything I see others doing or how they look doing it, especially when I am feeling and looking far from perfect myself.  I battle with the old catch-22 where this is concerned as I know checking out my Facebook or Instagram feed might be a mine field some days but, if I don't check it, I feel as though I might be missing out on something.  Funny how that works,no?

I suppose the bottom line is that a person's life is not defined by his social media feed and the pictures and snippets added to a status update.  Oddly, I suppose the voyeur in me cannot look away and while I do get caught up in the superficial aspect of it all, more oft than not I know people don't always look amazing.  The photo of the perfectly dressed and coiffed children probably took an hour to get and included breakdowns from both children and parents.  People are people with both good days and bad and the reality of social media is simply which persona one chooses to put forth on any given day.  Unless of course, you are someone like Ivanka Trump who looks gorgeous every day of the week (wink wink).

Thursday, February 6, 2014


"Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future...this is known as fashion week."  Thank you, Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. Designers, fashion bloggers, celebrities and fashionistas alike are all either en route to NY or already seated front and center as the shows commenced this morning.  I have been checking my Instagram feed far too often today to catch the latest glimpses of a world I would so love to be a part of, if only for a day.  From the fabulous clothes to the furs, jewels and overall vibe of the events, nothing would make me happier right now (okay, my husband finally finding a job would rate above a front row fashion week seat...I think) than to be in NY and to be part of the week's events. As unbelievable as it might sound, my love of fashion started when my grandpa, who was a professional photographer and who did some work for Conde Nast, the magazine publisher, put my very first copy of Glamour magazine in my hands at the ripe old age of 5 years old.  Bam, I was hooked by the glossy pages and the beautiful models, eclipsed only by the gorgeous designs they wore.  Little did my grandpa know that by handing me that magazine, he not only created a 'fashionista-wanna-be' but he helped to encourage a love of reading against which no childrens' books could possibly compete.

For those who know me well this is old news, but to my newer friends who see me daily in a long black down coat from November to May only to be replaced by my summer uniform of a skirt and a tank top, this might come as quite a surprise. The moral of this story is as old as time, however, never judge a book by its cover...or by a plain, long back coat as the case might be.  I may be all lacrosse mom on the outside, but on the inside, I am all over that Victoria Beckham dress and those Jimmy Choos.

Max Azria New York Fashion Week Fall 2014 Collection

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lower Than Low

I was on the phone with my mom this morning once again bemoaning the fact that the inside of our freezer is warmer than our outdoor temperature by double digits yet again.  Hundreds of schools and colleges are closed in our state (not ours, mind you, but let's not go there) because frankly, it is just too damn cold outside!  Before moving here, I never really gave a thought to the crazy folks who chose to live in areas where double digit sub-zero temperatures were possible and now I am one of them. My mom, who in a moment of weakness and extreme love for her only grandchildren, dragged my dad and moved out here as well, told me that she feels as if she knows how the pioneer women lived as they moved forward across the country, facing harsh winters to finally settle here. She questioned why the heck they didn't turn right around and head back to the beautiful coastline and forget about wide-open spaces, freedom and all that nonsense.  They had the beach, for heaven's sake.  I told her I felt that by mile 705, their brains were probably frozen rock-solid so they were not thinking anymore, merely moving forward in an effort to maintain some body heat to keep from freezing to death.

My friends back home ask me how I stay warm in weather this cold, but the truth of the matter is that I am never really truly warm, only less cold, despite the maxi-length down coat, heavy boots and thermal gloves I wear daily.  Gone are the days when I obsessed about what I was going to wear because no one sees me without that silly coat until at least the end of March. Some days I feel as though I am single-handedly keeping Bath & Body Works afloat with the amount of lotions and creams I buy in a futile effort to keep my skin from turning to sandpaper from the extreme temperature. For that matter, ditto the makers of Excedrin to combat the migraines I get worrying about the weather and the snowfall totals, the gale force winds, the thickness of the ice on the roads and whether or not we will be able to see asphalt sometime before June.

There is not a day that goes by that I am not thrilled with my car's heated seats.  My children love them, too, although I have more children than heated seats which has afforded me the opportunity to use them as a bribe.  It is amazing how cooperative children can be when the thought of being relegated to that lowly unheated third row in my car comes into play.

So, today, as we once again descend to a -40 temperature with windchill, I am here in body only because my mind and my heart are warming with dreams of warm sand and crystal clear water...without an iceberg in sight!

Monday, January 13, 2014


I am struggling with whether or not to move forward with blogging as I am so frustrated and agitated with our life right now that nothing seems right. I seem to have nothing positive to say. We are hamsters in a wheel running as quickly as we can, but failing to move forward. I am growing more tired by the minute with nothing to show for it.  Yes, the workout might be great but even the most successful exercise routines are founded in variety.  It is, after all, the spice of life or so I have been told.  This, my friends, is the problem. I write about things about which I am passionate and for the past four years that has been our struggle with my husband's on again off again employment status. Honestly, as I wrote those words I had to stop and 'take a moment' as it seems surreal and so exceedingly outrageous that this issue has perpetuated for four years and counting. I have such strong feelings about our situation that I could talk and write about it 24/7, but I do realize just how monotonous it must for my reader. Believe me, I would like nothing more than to stop thinking and talking about it myself. The problem is that I am stuck, emotionally, creatively and mentally, cycling round and round like that hamster, unable to push forward with a fun idea about which to write. Unemployment permeates every facet of our lives and despite trying to come up with some new and exciting topic, all creative roads seem to lead me straight back to our lack of a job.

So, where do I go from here?  Do I stop blogging until my husband gets a job?  With our track record that might take a while. Cranky and resentful?  Yup!  Do I continue to whine and share said crankiness via my blog because, in some way, it is cathartic?  Perhaps. Right now, I don't know which decision is the 'right' one or if in fact, there is a 'right' one at all. Maybe I will just focus the bulk of my blogs on my son's impending high school graduation and departure for college. Then I could switch from a tone of anger and desperation to sadness and worry. Trust me, if you are looking for a light-hearted and fun read, you are definitely reading the wrong blog. On some level, though, reading my blog is uplifing.  As my friend said to me (yes, she still is my friend despite saying this), "whenever I feel down, I think about your life and know how lucky I am because I could be you."  Nice, huh?