Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I haven't written in awhile.  For various reasons I would start a post, then delete, then write, then save, then delete.  As usual I was at a loss for words.

I find I'm back to not being able to shut my brain off.  There is just so much crap swirling around in there.

I just popped a batch of cupcakes in the oven and decided I'd give myself the 25 minutes on the timer to just write. 

Today, I guess a couple of days late, I realized how thankful I am for my life.  For my family.  They never think I'm weird..well, not often anyway.

My husband didn't question me when I bought two jumbo boxes of diapers and wipes to donate.  He gave me a look that I know well, the "You know we're not made of money, right?" but he never said it.  He gets points for that...or maybe the points should be awarded because he knows better than to argue with me.  Either way, he gets them.

We finally made it home after grocery shopping and dropping the diapers off and I grabbed a bottle of champagne, the iPad, some candles and hightailed it up to the bathroom.  I wanted to just relax and finish a book I've been working on for two weeks.  For cripes sake, it's only a 350 page book, no reason to take two weeks to read.  I was left alone for two hours, three quarters of that bottle of champagne, and burned a dozen candles to nothing but puddles.  This  comes on the back end of them letting me shop all night and day on Friday and again on Saturday, then letting me sleep for 16 hours...straight...uninterrupted. 

I cannot tell you how lucky I am.  As I sat there and soaked after I finished my book it hit me as it usually does, all of a sudden.  It resides in the back of my mind.  My family, for all of their quirks and annoyances, is actually pretty kick ass.  We're so very lucky and I think we all forget that during the day to day grind.  Not that we ever forget completely because I don't believe that for a second.  

My children are healthy and for the most part, happy.  My husband loves me and I love him.  We have a solid house and jobs to pay the bills and still have a little extra at the end.  We have struggled in the past, we still struggle now but we are still so very lucky.

I'm always so reflective at this time of year.  Thanksgiving to New Years for me is strange.  It's not really bittersweet.  It's more...solemn than that but in a festive way.  I'll admit it, I'll sit here and gaze at our tree and every year I love it.  I love it because it's something we do as a family.  We pick it out, we set it up, we decorate it, and admire our handy work.  We all take care of it while it's up.  It's so much more than a tree...it's time spent with the kids.  It makes me miss Avery more and more.  It's hard because his birthday has just passed.  I didn't get to have dinner with him on Thanksgiving.  I won't see him on Christmas day.  I'm still thankful.  He's still healthy and I know he loves me. 

If you are reading this then you are lucky.  You have a computer, and internet, and electricity.  I joined a local group on facebook recently.  I found it through the Momastery blog and their helping hands listing.  I searched for someone local that I could possibly help.  I was helped once and I will never, ever forget it.  I'll tell the story.

A few years ago, the year after we bought the house, I still couldn't seem to find a full time job.  I was working part time at Bath and Body Works at the local mall.  I worked with good people..hard working people.  I worked as many hours as they'd let me.  I didn't bring home much because it was minimum wage, but it was something.  I don't recall now what had come up right before Christmas, but it was expensive.  We were not going to have any money for presents.  Literally, not so much as a candy cane.  I was so upset.  I got a call one night a week before Christmas from one of my co workers at the mall asking me to come up for a meeting.  I only live a few blocks away so I went.  When I got there she had the back of her car loaded with gifts for my kids.  I cried.  Hard. 

I have never forgotten that.  I want to pay her back somehow.  A nice trip to the spa, a great dinner out, something.  She quit that job and I haven't seen her since.  I wanted to pay it forward if I could not pay it back.  It wasn't a lot, but to that woman that needed the diapers, it was enough.  I've vowed to get as involved as I can with her group to try and help the overwhelming number of homeless people that live all around me. 

I want to try to remember, every day, how thankful I should be for all the things I do have.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I'm on this bandwagon.  I'm having the best ride too.

I'll tell you why.

We're on a budget, I mean, who isn't these days?  I love changing things in my house.  My husband can attest to that.  I think I have him painting a different room every few months.  I can't help myself.  Our home is a work in progress and I'm not quite comfortable here yet.  By the time I get there I'm sure it will be time to move, but the good news is we'll be able to take almost all of our projects with us.

I'm very careful about that.  Basically I'm staging my home to be sold..but only a few things will have to stay.  Like the deck we'll put on, the new kitchen..which I'm convinced will single handedly sell this house.  I'm dying for a $400 light from Pottery Barn.  If I'm lucky enough to get my hands on it..that baby is going where ever I go, but the deck will stay.

I've had some great dinners thanks to Pinterest.  Next up we're going for some small projects that have a big impact.  Right now I still have two dozen wine bottles sitting in my dining room waiting to be made into tiki torches that will attach to our privacy fence.  If I could find more replacement wicks that project would move along a lot faster.

Tonight I was looking specifically at bedroom decor on there.  A few months, maybe even a year back, my husband decided he wanted our bedroom downstairs.  We went from having about 800 square feet and a king sized bed to 144 square feet and a queen.  Needless to say...it's not working.  I've lost more than half my dresser space, a ton of closet space...and don't even get me started on the loss of sleeping space.

We hemmed and hawed over moving back to the larger room.  Currently occupied by an electric fireplace, a ping pong table, couch, and tv entertainment center.  All for the kids, that coincidentally never use any of it.  The cost is what was getting us.  We have to go out and buy all new furniture.  Have any of you priced king sized beds lately?  It's ridiculous. 

Cue Pinterest. 

I've managed to come up with a few ideas that I'm hoping make it more affordable.  It's going to take a lot of work but in the end I think it's going to be great to have something so customized without the custom price tag.  My husband and I have a very different idea of what we like but I think there's a way to blend it.  It's called rustic chic.  Nick is more of a straight up country look kind of guy.  That stuff in my house makes me want to vomit.  If there's ever a cow (unless it's a cute little cream container) in my kitchen, smack me.  I'm all about the shabby chic.  I like comfortable and neutral with pops of color here and there. 

I'm hoping to combine a few different ideas that I've seen on there to give us both what we want for a cheap price.  Like the reclaimed barn door headboard.  We know a few old barns that are falling apart so this part should be easy enough, right?  That gives Nick his country.  I saw the idea of stapling fabric to box springs and adding furniture legs to give you a nice base without the need of a frame.  Bonus!  This is how I can add my shabby chic without spending a ton of extra money on a bed frame.

I can also hit up yard sales and Goodwill for some old dressers.  I can repaint them to match and voila!  New dressers without the new dresser price tag.  Snap up a great area rug somewhere.  This is where I'm sure I'll spend full price unless I get lucky at TJ Maxx or someone has a ton clearanced out but I'm okay with spending a bit of change as long as when I go, I can take it with me.

I'm excited about it.  It's going to give us something to do together that we'll both love when we're all done.

Have any of you actually made anything you've seen on Pinterest?  How'd it turn out? 

Those are my random Wednesday night thoughts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


That's this summer.  A blur.  It's gone so fast that I can barely keep up, I can feel it flying even as the days go by.  It's almost like I can't see the day clearly even as I'm living it.


I hate to see it go.  Hopefully with the new season comes a new phase.  A new part of my life...one that involves my son being here with me.

I'm just awaiting that letter that'll tell me when our court day is so I can get ready.  I NEED to be ready, this isn't something I can be caught unawares about.

I'm finding that I'm torn, and panicky, and scared, and elated about the whole process.  I'm torn because the last time I talked to him he seems to be loving life all of a sudden down there.  He's happy about his teachers, his classes, the upcoming baseball season.  I get to be the asshole that wants to tear him away from all of that. 

I'm panicky for the same reasons.  I hope that deep down, when they want to talk to him, that he comes clean with them about the same stuff he's told me.  That he hates it down there.  He's not happy.  Normally when I talk to him he's so withdrawn and despondent about life.  Like he's just resigned to the fact that he doesn't care and has no control.  I have always hated hearing him like that.  He's so animated and full of life when he's at my house. 

I'm scared that he's going to hate me because he's finally happy.  I'm scared that this is all going to backfire and both of them will be taken away from me.  I'm scared that if I need to get a lawyer, I'm not going to be able to.  I can't just sit down and crap out $3000.  Lord, I wish I could..but I can't. 

I know I'm doing the best thing I can for him right now but it doesn't stop me from feeling like a not so atomic mom about it all.

I hope that he's here for Halloween because he's never allowed to trick or treat since he's been in Tennessee, I think he'd love it.  Get to run around like other kids and get all kinds of candy and treats, dress up and just have a lot of fun with it.  I want him home for Christmas so we can wake up and open stockings and just chill with each other.  I want them to all be able to fight like normal siblings instead of only talking every once in a blue moon on the phone. 

I'm tired of feeling like I have an appendage missing all the time.  I feel like half my heart and my right arm are just gone.  Like what they say are ghost pains...I feel it.  I know where they should be, but they're not.

I just need it to be over.  I just want him home so we can all enjoy fall..and every season that comes after, all together.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Get ready for another very random post people.

A little known fact?  I'm a little bit of a tree hugger. 

Okay, maybe not so little.  At least to those that know me well.  I am not as fantastic as I could be.  I wish I could be the best damn earth saving philanthropist out there.  I have to settle for just being me and having to work a "real job" and just doing what I can do.

I annoy the crap out of my husband because I'm not great at getting recyclables out of the house.  Our town  charges a butt load for curb side service.  It's cheaper to just load the car up once in awhile and drive them the mile to the plant.  It makes me feel good.  I also know stuff slips through.

It's the same with my shopping.  Everyone sometimes gets frustrated with me because I'm always harping about the state of our bank account but I'm willing to pay a few bucks for the good old blue Dawn dish soap because they help the animals.  I'll pay the extra for post consumer content in my paper towel and aluminum foil.  I'll buy local.  I fell in L.O.V.E with a new farmers market this past Saturday.  Maybe next time I go I'll get some pictures because it was amazing.  I scored some pickled asparagus and honey made less than 15 miles from my house.  Both are to die for.  I love pure, raw honey.  I know that stuff in the store says pure...but if you've ever had it straight from the farm, you know that thick gooey stuff in the bear bottle isn't the best stuff out there. 

Believe it or not, this post was not actually brought to you by my trip to the market or my wish to save the planet.  It was brought to you by my night time beauty routine.

You heard me correctly...my night time beauty routine.   As I'm sitting in the bathroom applying my night cream (thank you old age..my face now requires night cream) and my hair oil and all that good jazz I realize that my love of nature and my love of saving my wallet a few bucks have found a perfect balance.  It took a lot of time.  A lot of bottles of stuff being tossed in the trash.  A lot of irritated skin.

I realized that all of my products are almost all natural products.  I found some amazing stuff in some not so traditional places.  My favorite face cream is Burts Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion.  My face adores that crap!  The best oil for my hair?  A $7 bottle of Burts Bees Baby Bee Almond Oil.  I'm not joking when I say two drops of this stuff goes a very long way.  The best serum and face cream?  It's at The Body Shop.  My new cleanser that took me almost three years to find? Neutrogena Naturals Cleanser and Make Up Remover.  It's $5 a bottle.  If your face is extra dry, go for some Say Yes to Carrots or Cucumbers.  Very inexpensive.

I'm a firm believer that nature will always give us everything we need to survive.  If you're hungry, you can grow something.  If you're cold you can warm by a fire.  If you're warm you can cool off with a breeze or some water.  Nature is what will keep you beautiful..and save you a few bucks in the process.

Next time you find yourself stuck in a beauty rut...get out of the beauty aisles.  Try something new.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I'm pretty sure I've posted before with this title but this is different.  Or maybe not.  Is guilt always the same?  Does it matter what it stems from or just that your suffering with it?  Who knows.  I don't.  Not sure I care either.

I've been fairly melancholy lately.  I miss my kids.  I miss being home (I'm working my ass off lately).  I miss hanging with friends.  I feel guilty for all of that too.  Guilty for not spending enough time with the kids, the husband, the house, the dog...the washing machine and I are still talking on a daily basis though.  The shower and I are drifting apart.  That's bad.

Lately with all the talk about the economy, the housing market, the elections flying around like the thick and plentiful dust in my house it's got me down.  I've had a lot on my mind about all of these things.  I'm tired of it all.  Prices are rising because of droughts, fires, and rising oil prices.  The corn fields around me at home are sad...or just plain dead.  We can barely get tomatoes to grow in the back yard.  It's just too hot and dry.  That makes my water and electric bill go up.  I try to work overtime to cover that jump.  Gas prices keep going up, produce prices keep going up, milk?  I think we're going to have to switch to powered.  I keep working overtime to cover that jump.  I'm just tired.  Worn out. 

Life overload.

I've been working overtime to pay for making my house a veritable fortress against the others.  By the others I mean the people in my neighborhood that feel it's okay to take from those they see as more fortunate.  Am I?  More fortunate than they are?  Some days I think yes, others not so much.  More yes than no.  I do have HBO after all. 

I've noticed stuff lately.  The guilt I'm feeling is because I feel fortunate.  I have a home, a job, a bed, and even though it's sparse, I have food in my kitchen...as long as you're not counting that banana that's been hanging around a week too long.  I don't think that counts as food anymore. 

There are so many people standing on the side of the road when I come to work with signs.  They say "Need Work" or "Have family, have no food, please help" or the one I see almost every day "Anything will help, even a smile." 

Then I think about seeing blurbs on TV of our president.  He's smiling.  He's on a private jet, he's smiling at a basketball game (up on the jumbo tron, kissing cam no less..that's a huge accomplishment is it not?), he's back from vacation, he's going on vacation.  He's got his freshly pressed sleeves rolled up like he's ready to work hard....to get his hands dirty. 

I'll admit it right here, publicly.  I voted for him.  I was ready for change.  We needed a change.  We needed a whole makeover. 

I'm still waiting.  Aren't we all?  I'm not slamming him..or maybe I am.  I don't know.  I don't want to talk politics, I want to talk human kindness. 

I wonder if President Obama's smiling face is the one that homeless and hungry man on the corner is looking for? How would he feel if it were him driving my car by...nothing to give but my own lunch meant to get me through the next 14 hours of work?  Would that really help, a smile?  I see a lot more than that.  More than half have dogs with them, in 100 degree weather.  Are they really homeless, hungry, and helpless to their situation or are they professional beggars that really could make more than I do in a day?  I wonder this. Then I feel guilty for wondering this.  Who am I to judge?  I can only do my part.  I want to do more for my fellow people, I hate that I have to leave them standing on that corner in the hot sun..their dogs with them just staying close to their masters like the best of friends do.  I tell myself tomorrow I'm going to bring extra PB&J sandwiches and snack bags of veggies, baggies of dog food for their companions.  Then I forget..and the next day I feel even more guilty for forgetting because I was too tired or lazy to get out of bed and ran late.

I'm not as up on my politics as I should be.  I'm too upset about it all really.  I feel like the state of our country is too overwhelming to try to fix...and I feel as if our only choices aren't really choices at all.

I just want to do better.  I just want to help.  I need to get rid of the guilt that I carry around all the damn time.  I really will remember one of these days to pack a few extra sack lunches or grab some gift cards to fast food joints.  I'll have doggie bags made up as well.  There is other stuff to do, you can grow food and donate it to a food bank.  You don't really have to get your hands dirty to help.  Why don't I help more?  Why can't I just go to bed happy with myself and the choices I've made for today?

I can't change what will happen in the higher ranks of this place...those that really make the decisions but I can change what's going on down here in the dredges of everyday life.  I hope.

I hope everyone reading this will too.  Don't judge the people you see...just help them.  What they choose to do with your help is on their conscious, not yours.  Yours will be clear.

We can be our own change...isn't that how the saying goes?   Be the change you want to see in the world?

 There it is...the stuff that won't let me sleep on a typical Tuesday.  

Monday, July 9, 2012


There's something about that word, comfortable.  It's so ambiguous and so specific at the same time...all while being universally understood.

It describes those yoga pants of mine that I can't seem to get out of.  My bed, all cozy and soft.  The smell of clean laundry, the crook of my husband's shoulder, the feel of all my kids sitting around me just watching television.

I've always thought I was comfortable in my own skin, always known who I was as a person.  I'm beginning to wonder if I ever really was or if I just lost it somewhere along the way.  If there was something at a point in my life that made me...well, uncomfortable.

As I get older I realize that maybe that's exactly what it was.  I can't pinpoint when it happened.  If it was a person or an event that did it.  I only know that it happened because recently I find I'm getting back to it, to my old self.

I'm kind of a dork, more than a little weird, and I say a lot of inappropriate things and the most inappropriate times.  I can't help it.  There is no filter between my brain and my mouth.  I find I don't do it so much online.  I'm able to find a filter...I'm still not sure where.  I'm okay with it.  I'm okay with not being a size six.  I'm okay with my wide ass feet and my wide ass.  I'm okay with my jeans and tank tops.  I'm not okay with my ridiculously plain and straight hair but that's an easy enough fix.  I'm pretty comfortable with my parenting ways.  I don't have bad kids..they just have bad days.  Goodness knows I have plenty of my own.

I am enjoying this time, I love that I'm comfortable enough with my life to get back to me.  Don't get me wrong, I have made many mistakes.  I carry a lot of guilt.  A lot.  Even more. 

My life is starting to feel comfortable in spite of it all.  It reminds me of a light sweater in the spring.  You don't wear it all the time but it's there.  Hanging on your shoulders...around your waist...lurking in the back seat of the car.  It's like an old, favorite comfortable spring sweater.  A fuzzy yellow one.

It's taken a lot of years to get here.  I just realized today that I'm content where I'm at.  I'm not content with a few things, but overall, I really couldn't ask for more than what I have.  We still struggle, we still have issues in our house but I wouldn't trade it.  We're getting there.  I'm getting there.

Comfortable.  It feels good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


That's me.   I'm a cheapskate.  A frugal little whore.  Most of the time.

Over the years I've learned when to spend the money and when to skip it.  I've learned a few tricks that maybe can help someone out somehow.  Not sure why this is on my mind today.  Probably because I'm broke as hell, stressed as hell, and want to spend lots of money.  Which is how I usually deal with being broke and stressed.

Things I think you should never buy on the cheap:

Bed linens
Toilet paper

I'm not saying to always pay full price for those things.  I'm a HUGE fan of getting deals on normally expensive things.  Black Friday is the perfect day for scoring on the bed linens and jeans..maybe even the furniture.  The best deals I ever found on Black Friday was a dishwasher, a convection microwave, and 1200 thread count sheet sets.  It worked out to be able to save for those because I knew we'd end up finding deals and wouldn't have to wrestle the crowds because they're not common Christmas shopping things.   All of those were under $100 each.  DSW has the best clearance racks for shoes...combine that 70% off price tag with one of their $5 or $10 off coupons and you're walking out with a $150 pair of shoes for $8. 

Just about everything else is fair game.  I know some would argue the furniture bit there but after 3 kids, 16 years, and countless sofas, dining room tables, and recliners I've learned my lesson.  There really IS a difference between a $250 sofa and an $1800 one.  It's about 8 years and 2 kids worth of difference....and still going.  Spend the money.  You'll thank yourself, unless you're one of those people that has to buy new stuff every year.  In that case just hit up IKEA. 

I love Suave shampoos and conditioners, I've used the Biolage, Paul Mitchell, you name it.  The Suave really does work just as well.  Instead of the expensive hair oils I use Burts Bees Baby Bee Almond Oil.  I buy Target brand body wash, unless my favorite Coconut SoftScrub is on sale.  I've used Aussie Sprunch spray since 6th grade.  It's changed a bit but I can't seem to give it up and it's still under $3 a bottle.  My favorite eye liner of all time is still the $.93 long stick Wet n Wild.  I can't get enough of the NYC $1.50 lipgloss. I can deal with regular baby lotion instead of the fancy pants stuff.  Now Johnson and Johnson has a few different scents like Cocoa and Shea Butter, Country Apple, and Lavender.  Nothing high end but it gets the job done.  Cheap nailpolish is my obsession.  I actually like doing my own nails at home with a cocktail and an epsom salt soak.

What I really have the most fun with is planning vacations on a budget.  It's a challenge I take very seriously.  My biggest secret is VRBO.  I guess I can't really call it a secret, I think I tell everyone I know about it.  It's how I got a 5 bedroom, 5 bath house with its own pool and hot tub for $1100 for 8 days.  It's how I went to Hawaii, twice, for $85 a day.  I love it, I really can't get enough.  If you're planning a trip for three nights or longer it's a must.  You always have a fully stocked kitchen so you can save even more by making your own meals.  Not a fantastic idea but hey..if you want to afford to go to Hawaii or the likes, you make concessions.  I wanted the Hawaiian food experience so instead of restaurants or eateries (we still went to a few) we hit the local farmers market or food stands and cooked with all the local fare. I think I have more fun than should be allowed searching for the perfect place when we decide to go somewhere.  Searching for free or cheap activities.  Look for local Groupons before you go for restaurants or shops.

I'm not afraid to hit up places like TJ Maxx for shoes, clothes, even my pots and pans.  It's also a great place to pick up small gifts like cook books, picture frames, kitchen gadgets, or even a bathrobe and pajama set or a kitchen apron.

This post kind of came out of left field but I knew I needed to write about something and this ended up being it. 

If not, at least you killed a few minutes of your work day.  Or not..because it's Saturday.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I just want to say that I'm a normal person.  I think.  I think I'm a normal person.

I think normal people have insomnia.  I'm not sure if it's because I work nights or because I have a brain that refuses to shut off.  It could be a bit of both.  I don't know, I don't even know if I care.  What I do know is that I'm tired.  I'm tired of not being able to sleep.  The fact that I am exhausted when I drive home in the morning, even having to put my cell phone down because I'm too tired to hold it to my ear and talk to the person that is trying to keep me awake...that's how tired I am.

I'll finally crawl into my cloud like heaven and then my brain seems to go into overdrive.  I am relaxed, I'm ready to float off into dreams of cupcakes, folded laundry, and well behaving kids that don't fight.  It's almost as if that relaxation opens the flood gates to my mind. 

All of a sudden there's an avalanche of thoughts about whether or not I rememered to log out of my computer at work.  Did I water the dog?  Do we need milk?  I think the kitchen is starting to stink, why do I think it's doing that?  When did I do laundry last, do I have clean underwear for work tonight, when was the last time the kids showered, do they stink..maybe that's what the smell in the kitchen was...Avery was standing right there.

It doesn't stop, it goes faster until it's literally five thoughts at once and they get jumbled and then I begin to wonder if I'm going crazy. 

If you think I haven't tried or heard everything that is supposed to help me, you are very wrong.  Okay.  I lied, I haven't tried straight up exercise.  I'm too fucking tired to do lunges and run a mile when I get home after a 12 and a half hour shift and then drive another hour to get here. 

I'm hoping writing will help. Writing about anything really.  Obviously tonight it's the insomnia itself.

Maybe if I get some of these thoughts out of my brain they can stop floating around and give me some peace.

I'll do the drugs if I need to, but the last time I did that I ended up folding laundry while naked and somehow found some Taco Bell cinnamon twists to feed to my dog.  At least I didn't drive anywhere, I don't think.

I'll do them again if I have to, even though things get weird I still sleep great and actually wake up alert.  I can fix a bowl of cereal and not forget where we put the spoons. 

We'll see how this goes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Small Successes

I love them.  I love the small steps.  I think I like them more than a bunch of big successes because you tend to get wrapped up in those, caught up in the moment of them.  The little ones are the under dogs, the silent heroes.  The little ones give you the motivation to keep going without distracting you from the big picture while still giving you that feeling.

We actually completed our third goal ahead of our second.  Not by much, but Hey..I'll take what I can get, when I can get it.

We paid off a student loan!  Should I say it louder?


I just want to say that I hate those fucking things.  They hang over your head from the minute you graduate, quite possibly until the day you die...if you have a graduate or PhD.  I don't.  My husband doesn't, but we have quite a bit in student loan debt, you would've thought one of us did.  I am glad to say that three of them are fairly low balances.  Well, now two.  We did just pay one off.  Can't forget that.

FINALLY!  One step that will actually make a bigger difference.  No more $100 a month going out for that one..we can apply it to another and get that one paid off early as well.  You wouldn't think $100 a month is a lot.  I'm here to tell you that there were many, many times that $100 could've kept us above water.

I can't even say how happy I am now that we have all of our spending under control and all of our bills up to date..and are even making progress at paying them off. 

Yes, I work harder.  I work a LOT more days...it makes me grumpy sometimes.


I sleep better, I even woke up with a smile on my face the other day.  I honestly don't remember when, or if, that has ever happened before.

I laugh more.  I'm not under this horrible weight that is constantly crawling around on my back and using it's long, spindly fingers to grasp onto my brain and hold tight.  Always there, always biting and growling at me.  Keeping me awake when I should be sleeping, keeping me down when I should be enjoying my family.

The kids don't see it yet but they will.  They will when I'm able to just drop everything this summer and go buy them something just for the hell of it.  I will too.  I'll go get them something frivolous and fun...and reasonably priced, but still fun.  They've helped and sacrificed for this as well. The deserve to see it..and since I don't give my kids access to my bank account, they'll have to settle for something a little more materialistic.  I have a feeling they won't mind.

This small success showed my husband that even though we STILL don't have any money in the bank, it's not because we've blown it and need to find more.  It's because we've made progress and are seeing a difference.  He was having a hard time seeing the results, seeing that things really have changed.

Thank goodness for small successes.  This will have me floating on cloud 9 until we hit the next one.  Soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'll Bite

Lately I've been seeing a lot of things being said about reverse bucket lists.  I'm not even going to explain what they are because I know that all four people that read this blog already know.

I'm going to bite, I'm going to go through my own list. 

Here it goes.

  • I've had three children
  • I still love those three children (no, this is not always a guarantee) and love raising them.
  • I've been married...twice.
  • I've been divorced once.  
  • I've owned a home.
  • I've lost a home.
  • I've been bankrupt
  • I've struggled daily to put food on the table for my family.
  • I've helped others in need
  • I've been at the top as well as at the bottom
  • I have a job I enjoy...most days.
  • I've been to Hawaii...twice.
  • I've been to Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Maine, Florida...each place means something to me.
  • I have a college degree...not a major one, but I did work my ass off for it.
  • I've renovated a home with my husband...and we're still married.
  • I've worked a ton of really fun jobs and met some fantastic people in the process.
  • I not only learned how to work the internet, I've met the most amazing people through it that have become almost like family to me.
I know there's more, that I'm forgetting a LOT but that's what comes to mind right now.

I don't see any of my experiences in life as bad, I think they've all helped me to be a better person, to understand what it's like to go through great times...and not so great times. 

I look forward to adding many more things to this list and how much fun it will be and the memories that will go with each addition.

Friday, February 3, 2012


So..I just need to get this all out, our small successes.  My musings.  My excitement. 

I will be the first in line to shout it from a mountain top.  Budgets are hard.  It's even harder to live within the perimeter that you set for yourself.  Did you know that?

I'm not sure if anyone has ever heard the Shania Twain song called KaChing?  It's the truth of my life.  Why is it so hard for people to live within their means?  This country was started by people that had no means in which to live.  They came with the clothes on their backs and not much else..very little money the majority of them, I'm sure.  Where did we get this behavior from?  Where is it ingrained into our brains that more is better and less is bad?  That he who has the biggest house and most expensive car wins?  I think he (she) who can sit down with their family for dinner every day and sleep soundly at night and carelessly play games with their kids wins.  The one that is actually present every day.

It's nerve wracking and stressful when you have to spend time everyday pouring over your finances or always having to leave to go to work.  Everyone is scattered because stress is the mainstay in your life, no one wants to be around anyone else.  Money, in my opinion is both the root of all evil and the wonderful thing that keeps this world spinning round.  It really does make or break you.

My ex husband is life long friends with a successful major league baseball player.  We used to go a few times a year to their hometown to visit them.  My ex would go play golf or whatever it is they did.  His wife and I would always go have a nice quiet lunch together and just talk.  We really didn't have anything in common.  She grew up with money, she never knew what it was to struggle for even a day.  Her parents bought her first car....a shiny new mustang (the the rage back in the early 90's), they built their house with cash, paid cash for the land.  When I first met her she was a typical spoiled little rich girl.  She did what she wanted, when she wanted, no matter the cost.

Then one visit when we sat down for lunch...we actually talked.  She asked me about having kids and staying home with them.  What did I go through in a day, what did I do with my time?  She wasn't mocking or judgmental, she was curious and interested.  After lunch we went back to their house to wait for the guys to get back.  We still had hours.  We talked and talked.  I found out she had finally grown up.  It was one statement that made me realize it.  Even though I haven't talked to her in damn near ten years, I will never forget what she said to me that day when we talked about the differences between our lives.  She said it took her a very long time to realize how very lucky she was.  She was lucky she had no debt to hold her back, she was lucky to have money in the bank to do things she liked because she knows many people that don't...she was lucky to be able to lay her head down at night and fall right to sleep because she never learned what it was to stress about bills or money or anything like that.  Her house was paid for.  Her car was paid for.  Law school was paid for.  She was lucky to be able to just spend time with her family, she could eat dinner and have real conversations and take them places and no one worried.  I want that.  I want that kind of freedom in my life.

I think when this is all over...starting next year I'm going to implement a little thing I'm going to call Dump Day.  We're going to dump life for a day.  One random day we're going to call into work, the kids are going to skip school and we're just going to go do something fun.  Go make pottery, go to the zoo, hit the beach, go shopping, take in a movie.  Just because we can.  I know some people think attendance in school and at work is one of the most important things for kids to learn.  I think learning that your family comes before work and school is important.  Not that I don't value education because I do, but I don't see anything wrong with playing hookey for one day from life.  I look forward to this treat.  My time with my kids is limited, they're going to be all grown up soon and my chances to hang with them for a day will drastically dwindle to holidays.  I will never be able to live like she did, that baseball players wife.  I know the struggles of having no money, not knowing if I was going to be able to keep the lights on or have enough gas in my car to drive to work..and if I didn't if I had enough vacation time banked to call in or was I going to have to take it unpaid.  Those experiences make me who I am.  I'm comfortable with that.  I use all of my past life lessons to direct my futures path.  At least I try to.

I am so happy to report that at this point we hit our very first goal that we had set for ourselves, we are on our way to making that a reality.  We paid off ALL of our past due and back debt.  ALL OF IT.  Because you don't live in my bank account you cannot know how fantastic or how amazingly hard that shit was or how far we had to go.  I think it was harder than labor..but then again I don't remember much of labor so I could be lying but you get my point.  We did this in 30 days.  Imagine what we can do in 365.

I busted my ass to make it happen.  WE busted our asses.  We all helped.  Well...Aiana didn't help much, she didn't want to abide by the water and room heater rules (she likes to keep her room at a balmy cool 99 degrees at all times) so we had to take her heater away and she gets a prompt pounding on the door when her shower is approaching the half hour mark.  Such is life.  She's 15, she's going to hate us no matter what so we can use that to our advantage.

I can't even express in words how exciting this is for me and how excited it makes me to continue on.  I'm finding I can actually sleep at night...day...whatever.  I'm not dwelling over what needs to be paid that week, what bills I get to choose between and what can be pushed off, what turn off notice do I need to deal with this week.  It's...it's...pressure relieving.  It's that big sigh that just makes you feel like you've lost twenty pounds.  I love this feeling.  This feeling is what's going to get me through the rest of the year.

We are off and running towards our second goal now.  To build savings.  I think we should be able to hit that goal early but I know there are a few hurdles in our way this time around.  We have two cars that need brakes, we need a new shower in one of the bathrooms, and I think we're going to need engine work on the older car.  If I can stay on top of it we should be able to work each of those things into the budget, but it's also tax season. 

Tax season scares me like nothing else.  It's like a guessing game.  Do we have to pay in?  Do we get money back?  Why, oh WHY do we always owe so much city tax??  I don't get it.  I probably never will.  Oh well..not a damn thing we can do about it except make it through and deal with it again next year.  It's what will determine if we hit our goal early, on time, or push us behind.

All that said I'm hopeful and very optimistic that we'll hit our second goal early.  I just need to keep busting my hump like I've been doing and eventually it will pay off.  We made it through January, right?  Only eleven more months to go.

Only 332 more days to go until our goal of knowing absolute freedom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


You would think my life would be anything but serene right now.  My kids are always at each others throats, my house is a total disaster, I've been working a LOT of hours every week (I think I even forgot I had kids this week), and I don't think I've spent more than five minutes with my husband in almost a month.

It's serene because I'm seeing progress.  I'm seeing a LOT of progress.  We've managed to unbury ourselves from the biggest pile of past due bills I think I've ever seen.  It's serene because, for now, I'm still in a happy place when I get called in for some extra hours.  I've hit my goal of overtime days for January and then some.  I know a ton more is headed my way for February.  It's my hope that I can just bust my ass now, just for a few months and then I can ride out the summer enjoying my time at home, with my family.

I've had bumps.  Most people would think I was effing insane by what I consider bumps but a bump is a bump.  It's still really hard to figure this stuff out but we're plugging along. 

I've realized that I had a shopping addiction.  I still have a shopping addiction.  Thank Goodness for Pinterest and Target lists.  I can feel like I'm shopping in a way.  Find super cute things, fall for them, place them in the appropriate list and move on.  I'll get there.  Nick and I went on a date tonight.  Do you want to know what broke ass people do for dates?  We went for me to get the worst $10 haircut known to man and then walked around a little strip mall right next door..sporting my terrible haircut.  We walked around Target.  Have any of you been there?!  Have you seen ALL of their spring stuff?!!  It's amazing and it's beautiful and I want it.  I want it all.  I was saying just that to Nick as I was looking for new couch pillows to go with the new furniture that I plan to buy next year. 

Then the most amazing thing happend.  Nick looked at me and he said, "soon.  You'll be able to buy whatever you want soon."

Now you don't know my husband at all but normally he just walks quietly with me talking about work or video games or the kids or not saying anything at all.  He was very hard to convince about this Total Money Makeover.  Even though he's been through it with me once before, he was a skeptic.  What those words meant to me was...I've turned him into a believer.  He actually believes we're going to make it, we're going to hit all of our goals and get out of this huge ass mess we've gotten ourselves into.  He's finally, 100% on board with all of it and he sees that our sacrifices ARE making a difference!

That's when I realized how serene I am about the whole thing, it doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would, giving up my shopping addiction. 

I walked right out of that store with a huge ass smile on my face...and didn't buy a damn thing. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


We all have them.  We all do it.  Something reminds you of something else and before you know it you're staring glassy eyed at a pencil but all you're seeing is the Eiffel Tower or that pair of Louboutins.

I'm so sleepy lately that all I seem to do is daydream.  I'll daydream about hiking around Slovenia while cooking dinner.  I'll daydream about sunbathing on a beach while I'm folding laundry. 

Lately I've been daydreaming about my forever home.  I hope I can go home to my forever home some day soon.  I would love to build from scratch but I'm sure if I looked hard enough I would find one standing somewhere that would need minor changes. 

Hell, I don't even know where I want to end up.  I've had my eye on the Smoky Mountains for awhile now but I think I should visit before I decide to live there forever.  Who knows, maybe my heart will really be in New Mexico...or Montana...or in Boston...or on a beach in Florida.  Maybe I should just invest in one of those high tech ultra luxe RV's. 

I'm hoping you didn't show up at this blog today for anything deep or profound.  If so I apologize.  I'm still getting back into it and maybe someday I'll have something great to say that can resonate with the world. 

Today just isn't that day. 

I'm too busy trying not to turn into a cryogenic sample on my couch under these three blankets...and letting my mind take me places like Hawaii, Mexico, or Italy.....or even to the shoe store up the road...or even better, a new super capacity washer and dryer.  Man, now I'm getting excited. 

So on these cold, winter nights...let your mind go for a spin somewhere nice, or to the local appliance store.  It's' nice to just daydream every once in awhile.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I relapsed.  It happened today, and it happened so fast I don't really recall what I was doing until I was racing home to revel in my loot. All fifteen dollars and ninety eight cents worth.

I made a run to Wal-Mart and came home with chocolate cake and paint rollers.  Did I need them?  Well I sure as hell thought I did while I was there and forgot all about our budget.  I went for a toothbrush and deodorant for Nick.  Can't have the man stinking like dirty man B.O now can we?  Can we?  Damn..I was hoping I would get a resounding yes and then I could return the deodorant and get my four bucks back. 

What?  It was a twin pack and a better deal than a single one.  I know you were wondering who the hell spends $4 on deodorant when they're on budget lockdown.  I would've been.

I got home.  Made the cake.  Ate a piece..or two...or four and then it started to sink in.  I slipped.  I relapsed.  It's like a drug, spending money.  It's a nasty addiction because it can be big like furniture and vacations or it can be small..like paint rollers and chocolate cake.  Budget relapse can happen in all kinds of sizes.

If I forget for even a second then I fall back into those old ways that I've spend thirty some years perfecting.  I felt even more guilty when I sat down tonight to pay the bills and realized that I came up $280 short of my goal.  Which is good and it's bad.  It's bad because..well..I missed our goal by $280.  That's not chump change either.  It's a decent amount.  I could take a nice weekend trip somewhere for that amount.  It's good because we started so far under on the bills AND $200 in the hole.  I still have a chance to make it up.

Do I think I will by the end of the month.  No.  I might like to daydream a lot but deep down I'm a realist.  I'm hella behind on one of our car payments and that's getting taken care of next week (that's what I've been busting my ass for with all that overtime) and then the week after that is our dreaded mortgage week...or Shark Week.  That week has always been tight for us because it's such a large payment that we don't have a ton left over once we pay that..and the house insurance..and taxes...blah, blah, blah.  That's the week the sharks circle the sinking boat.  Just waiting.

If you haven't noticed..the American Dream is friggin expensive.  It costs a lot of money to live in debt like we do.

Anyway.  I just paid a buttload of bills.  I have a case of dry mouth over it and I can feel the beginnings of diarrhea rumbling around because I just dropped a bunch of cash on stupid bills.  Who likes to pay those anyway?  I don't.  I hate it.  Which is why I'm doing it. 

Can we say vicious cycle?  I know if I keep on it, if I stay on this bike and keep peddling my fat ass off, eventually I'm going to reach my destination.  Then I can hop off this rusted piece of crap and be able to pay cash for a nice little golf cart to drive my skinny ass all the way to retirement.

Hopefully I won't relapse again.  Chocolate cake can be like meth when you tell yourself you can't afford it.  I never thought $15.98 would make me feel so damn guilty.  So guilty I might need to eat some cake.

Hey..I have some of that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


That's my goal. 

I want us to be financially free.  It already feels like it would be an amazing thing.

Over the holidays we found out that we'd basically been living a lie.  Neither of us had any real idea.  I mean I know we lived paycheck to paycheck (still trying to figure out how that one happened) and never had more then just a little in savings.  Then it all came crashing down. 

It got a little harder to pay the bills.

Then the dog got sick.

Then I was hell bent on giving my kids a good Christmas...and went over what I had budgeted to spend.

We ended the year so far under that it physically made me sick.  Then I decided I was sick of it.  I'm sick of the weekly battle between which bills can be paid and which can be floated just so we can eat or get gas.  There is absolutely zero reason for it.

I started selling all my stuff to get started.  I sold my beloved camera.  I tried telling myself that it was logical since I hardly ever used it...but I'm going to be honest.  It still hurts.  I want it back.  I will get it back.  Just as soon as we get out of this canyon we're in. 

One night I sat down with every single piece of paper having to do with a bill that was in my possession.  I relied on the Dave Ramsey plan in the past...twice, it's NEVER let me down.  It was never as hard as it is this time.  This time we're in for the long haul.  I figured out an eighteen month plan, the first twelve of which are what I'm referring to as budget lockdown. 

It's these first twelve months that we're going to have to re teach ourselves what is important and how to spend smartly.  It's only twelve days in and I'm frustrated.  Not because we don't have a ton of money to spend, we're all actually having fun finding places to save.  I'm frustrated because I'm learning that it's damn near impossible to eat healthy on a strict budget.  Did I mention that I'm fat?  I'm fat.  I don't like being fat anymore than I like being broke.

At least I'll be able to afford a gym membership when this is all over, right?

So far I'm hopeful.  The first two weeks of this year were pure torture.  This week will hopefully be our first week of seeing some results.  I want to be able to show the kids that all of our "sacrifice" is working.  I say it like that because my kids think of giving up Pop Tarts because of budget is the worst offense in the world..it ranks right up there with child abuse. 

I do have to say that I'm excited that my kids are on this journey with us, I want them to learn to live within their means and what it will do for them in the long run. 

We decided as a family that we will reward ourselves with a nice trip when this is all over.  I can't wait.  It's going to be such a blast to be successful in this and be able to let the kids in on reaping the benefits.  Going on a family vacation that's massive in scale, being able to buy Pop Tarts again, being able to sleep because I'm not so worried about a turn off notice for the lights and what if I miss the deadline.

It's the first time in my life that I actually get excited to get a phone call to go into work for some overtime because every time I'm driving there..it's with a smile on my face.  It's the means to the end, I'm working for something and that's not just paying the bills.  I've also applied to about a dozen other jobs.  I have my days free, the kids are in school and my regular hours only require three nights a week.  I can handle a second job for a few hours a day.  If I knew anyone around me with little kids I'd start babysitting...I'd do anything...I CAN do anything for a year.
That's why I'm an Atomic Mom.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I'm going to try this again.  I need to go back to the Atomic Mom title though.  It was me.  It is me.

This is going to be a year of many ups and downs and I really need a place to put them and share them and work though them.

I'm going to try it again.  We've just started a Total Money Makeover.  My goal is to be almost debt free by December 31st.  I even have a countdown on my desktop. 

I guess I wanted to stop in and say howdy...and as soon as I figure out how to get that title header off I'll be back.