Tag Archives: money

It’s Not Easy Being Me

I’ve never had my identity stolen, thank god, but I have had a few instances with identity theft-ish things with my taxes and debit card. Needless to say, it’s very stressful and not that much fun.

But with that said, these criminals obviously aren’t that bright if they’re trying to take my identity. Why?

Along with a variety of psychological malfunctions, you are also getting an intolerance to soy and bullshit. But even more than that, you’re getting a lot of responsibility. 

If you checked out my Twitter or Facebook pages, you would know that being me requires that you are:

First and foremost, a social butterfly who is totally a people person.

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Like a good neighbor, stay over there and be satisfied with the cursory “hello” head nod.

A chipmunk just ran into my leg, screamed and ran away. Given my history, it’s safe to assume it was male.

Relationship status: Just found an almond in my pajamas. This is as close to nuts in my bed that I’ve had in years.

I can tell just by talking to some people that they lift up the car door handle every time that you go to unlock it.

Age 23: Yay! Plans!
Age 33: Yay! Plans got cancelled!

I establish dominance at the store by never breaking eye contact with the person behind me when placing down the grocery lane divider.

Ever caught a 33-year-old woman singing “Uptown Funk” to the stray cat in her yard? If you’re my neighbor, you can say that you have.

I never talk on the phone while I’m driving. Or when I’m not. Basically I just avoid talking on the phone whenever I can.

I accidentally made eye contact with a creepy guy at the store while putting on ChapStick and now he thinks that we’re dating. 

Along those lines, you will be responsible for being a fashion icon.

I will never have the confidence of people who use magnifying mirrors.

Can someone else be a sex symbol today? My good T-shirt is still in the wash.

It took me two months to use a package of 7-day teeth whitening strips in case my dedication to beauty was ever in doubt.

I’ve never won the lottery, but I did just find a piece of cereal in my bra so I imagine it feels something like that.

If you played connect-the-dots with the stains on my shirt, it would reveal a picture of a grown woman who should probably use a bib.

I think I just blinded a chipmunk with the whiteness of my legs.

Well, set the “Consecutive days gone without spilling food on myself” calendar back to zero. It was good two day run.

An old man told me I reminded him of his late wife. I’m hoping he meant while she was alive. 

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, but there is a certain domestic goddess status to maintain.

A good indication of your cooking skills is when you’re asked to just bring ice to a party.

A “Woman vs. Food” show but just me attempting to get food from the fork to my mouth without dropping it in my lap first.

I just used four paper towels to wipe out one Ziploc bag to reuse. I think I’m doing recycling wrong.

I just accidentally hit the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light again. In related news, I no longer fear death.

The food isn’t done until the smoke detector says that it’s done.

I just burned my hand on the toaster. There will be no more fancy breakfasts around here.

I threw old kale under my feeder last night and now the squirrels are requesting coconut water and wearing yoga pants.

And finally, you are expected to be a motivational force, inspiring people with your knowledge.

Saw a guy pushing a “pull” door several times and instead of helping him, I said, “Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live.”

Sometimes I impress myself. Other times I try and get out of the car while still wearing my seat belt and wonder how I made it this long.

You say “bed.” I say “nocturnal worry pod of overanalysis.” It’s really just semantics.

My weekend to-do list just reads like a menu of things that I want to eat.

That’s one small step to the fridge, and one giant leap back to the couch.

The woman who cut in front of me at the store had a box of tampons, ice cream, and wine in her cart. I wasn’t about to mess with that situation.

All I’m saying is that I’ve seen more people smiling while eating than smiling while out on a run.

I just threw away my to-do list. Like I need that kind of stress in my life.

Stop, drop and roll is also great advice for when someone unexpectedly knocks on your door.

I woke up planning on being positive, but my spoon fell into my oatmeal and so now that plan has gone to hell.

If you’re happy and you know it, stay in bed. It only goes downhill from there.

Okay. So the answer to my problems wasn’t at the bottom of that jar of almond butter, but the important thing is that I tried.

If I burn my mouth on pizza one more time I will continue to eat pizza because it’s delicious and I can’t hold both a grudge and a fork.

“I’m in no mood for this today.”- Me, any time of any day when anything slightly inconveniences me.

I try to find the good in every situation. Wait. That was a typo. I meant “food.” I try to find the food in every situation.

I never forget a face. Just names. And dates. And why I walked into a room and where I was going with this.

See? It’s not easy being me, so you should probably just move on to someone else. Remember, I have issues.

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Fear, Freedom and a Fight Club Quote

I have a funny post to share with you, but that will have to wait a couple more days. If you follow my Facebook page, you know I did that annoying vague status update thing about something rather life-altering happening Friday, and not in a good way, and that I might need a little time to regroup my funny.

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While I never do things like that, for once I needed support and you guys came out in such a way that I was actually emotionally touched, which rarely happens. And even though I owe you a “thanks” and not an explanation, you’re getting both instead. Plus, writing is my therapy.

*Here’s where you can click away if you don’t want to read a ramble and instead come back next time for normal neurosis (waits for the room to clear.)

Okay. Let me start with a little story…go grab a drink.

I don’t talk about it a lot, but when I was much younger I was in a relationship with an older guy for more than five years. He wasn’t a bad guy, but it was a very bad relationship for me that left me feeling trapped and has contributed to many of the issues I still have today. At a time in my life when that should have been carefree and fun, I was miserable.

I cried myself to sleep way too often.

So why did I stay in a situation that I knew was wrong, that was making me sick and unhappy? Because at the time, I was naïve and craved that stability and safety. Even if it wasn’t ideal, it was something that I could depend on. I would finish college, get married, have financial stability and the “normal” that we’re told we need to achieve.

When we finally broke up, I was devastated. I mean, I was “cry your eyes out the world is going to end” devastated but not for the obvious reasons. It wasn’t that I was going to necessarily miss him as a person, but rather that the stable future I thought I could depend on was gone.

I panicked. I cried. I did the normal 20-year-old freaking out thing.

But you know what happened? In less than a week, I woke up and everything was fine. In fact, it was awesome. For the first time I had the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. I got a job as a cocktail waitress and had the best summer of my life, making new friends and doing things that made me happy—for me. It took losing who I thought I had to become to finally learn who I was—as much as you can know at age 21.

What does that have to do with me now?

Friday I lost my job.

I’m still a little in shock and I’m sure it hasn’t completely sunk in yet, but the enormity of the situation is obvious. My benefits run out at the end of the month and I have to apply for unemployment all while trying to pay my mortgage, bills, etc. all on my own. That’s huge. Enter panic and “oh my god the world is going to end” initial reaction.

But while you don’t need to know the details, I will tell you that the situation was not healthy and in fact bordered on abusive on several occasions.

And I know I was damn good at my job. Hell, two months before I was told I was great and my job was mine as long as I wanted it, which is why this was a surprise (but not unheard of, seeing as they’re a small company and more than 20 people had come in and out of that office in six years.)

But more than external praise, I know how hard I worked and I’m proud of the quality that I produced, the effort that I gave and the way that I conducted myself, despite an unhealthy situation. So while right now I’m trying to decide how to decorate the cardboard box I might end up living in, there’s also a small sense of…unfamiliar relief?

Although it’s still raw, there’s a sense that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that maybe this is just what I needed to find something that is healthier for me—physically and mentally. Maybe this will allow me to actually do something that means something to someone other than the only person making the profit.

Because much like that relationship mentioned above, I felt stuck in this job, but yet I never left because I didn’t know what else I could do even though what I was doing wasn’t making me unhappy.

So I’m taking this as a sign.

If I wasn’t going to  seek out the respect and fulfillment I deserve, the universe decided it would step in instead and throw a high-speed curve ball at my head. Now I have no choice.

That’s not to say I’m not scared, that I won’t miss my coworkers or that things are going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. Right now there’s a little bit of fear. There’s a little bit of panic. There’s this whole long ramble nobody probably read. But there’s also no walking on eggshells. There’s no sitting at a desk and counting down the seconds on the clock. 

With my security stripped, there’s also an unfamiliar freedom.

Maybe it will take losing who I thought I had to become to finally learn who I am—as much as you can know at age 33.

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P.S. Thank you. I promise funny next time, but today–thank you. 

What To Know About Owning a House

I’ve owned my own house for around six years now, and I have to say that I love it. Having a haven where I can try and escape the rest of the world is a tiny piece of heaven for me and I have never regretted buying a house for a minute.

OK. That’s not entirely true.

While owning a house is great, there are some things that I wish people had told me about before I signed the mortgage with the blood from my soul and a pen from the agent. I knew I would be spending a lot of money and that living alone, all the responsibility for things fell to me, but there are some things that I didn’t realize.

Everything is Expensive

The good news is that in the beginning after you cut the largest check of your life, everything else seems like pennies. A $300 countertop? What a deal! Only $2,000 for new shingles? Where can I send the check?

However, this excitement diminishes as the memory of that initial payment fades along with the $20/gallon paint that you put on your deck. You soon find yourself comparing the prices of weatherstripping because you’ll be damned if you’re overpaying for that stuff again.

Note: “Weatherstripping” is not as sexy as it sounds.

Also, owning a house makes you extra conscious of everything that happens in or around your house. Shoes are removed because you’re the one that has to clean up the floor, you become captain of the Light Patrol and make sure only the necessary ones are on and every creak and drip will freak you out because it will probably cost money to fix.

Note: Everything will eventually break or need to be replaced—usually all at the same time.

Let There Be Light

Speaking of electricity, every house has at least one switch that you have no idea what it does. You will find it, you will flip it on and off, and somewhere in Alaska an impromptu disco party will be initiated by your actions. But in your own house?

Not so much.

The people who previously owned my house were electrical freaks and had more lights installed than could be found on an airport runway. When I moved in I was gifted this code sheet and control box with eight switches for JUST the outdoor lights. Please note the warning on button 8:

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Just Another Day in Suburbia

You eventually perfect the “suburban nod” to neighbors that will be used every time you see them outside for around the next 20 years. Most discussions will revolve around the weather or what week the recycling containers need to be put on the curb.

Note: Remembering to put out both the trash and recycling on time — and before the neighbors — warrants ALL the suburban medals!

You also become a repository of boring knowledge and get excited over weird things. For example, I couldn’t tell you my bust-hip-waist ratio but I know my furnace filters are 16-20-1.

Driving around you notice things like outdoor light fixtures and decorative mulch, and bringing home a new vacuum is like bringing home a new member of the family.

And no matter where you live, the people who owned the house before you left at least one weird thing when they moved. I’m not necessarily talking about a body buried in the yard, but there will something that makes you wonder what the heck those people were thinking.

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Basements are Creepy

For as often as I go down there, a commune of hippies could be living in my basement and I wouldn’t know it. Aside from taking shelter in storms and changing the furnace filter (size 16-20-1), I avoid it at all costs.

Then again, maybe I should check. If somebody is living down there, maybe I could charge them their part of the rent.

After all, everything is expensive.

Your turn. What’s one weird thing about where you live?

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Discount Double Check

A majority of my purchases can be rationalized with the phrase, “It was on sale and I had a coupon.”

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Every. Single. Time

I love Sundays because the new grocery ad and coupon books arrive in the paper, (and because I don’t work and usually don’t wash my hair or do much of anything productive, which is why I usually don’t wash my hair. That would be productive.)

My only true ad interest is in the produce section and my “staple” items, as many of my specialty food purchases rarely go on sale. Boo hiss.

But seeing as I do the grocery shopping for my mom and uncle as well, I clip the coupons and organize them in my little coupon keeper. Every Sunday I weed out the old and add in the new, but sometimes an old one gets missed.

This is where I run into a minor coupon conundrum.

Most likely the old coupon will be the one I want to use on the grocery trip one day after it expired. Seeing as this wasn’t discovered until I’m already in the checkout line, I’m forced to make a decision—try and sneak it through or throw it away? Unless I know the cashier is a badass who’ll bust me, who are we kidding? Of course I’ll try and still use it.

In fact, I should try my hand at high stakes poker because of how good I am at keeping a straight face when knowingly using an expired coupon.

I usually make sure to sandwich the expired one in between two “valid” ones, if those are also being used. In my demented way of thinking, I believe the cashier is going to think, “She’s using two good coupons, so this probably slipped in by mistake! Of course I’ll give her 50 cents off of this cereal! She’s practically a saint, for god’s sake!”

When passing over the expired offender, I also try and busy myself with the rest of my bags and coupons while she tries to scan it in.

Some don’t care and figure the machine is just being funny. Others immediately get all CSI: Coupon and check the expiration date that I forgot to “accidentally” clip off with the scissors.

Again, I assume the internal dialogue of the cashier is running along the lines of, “This coupon is expired, but she looks really busy rearranging the bags I just filled with her stuff—pulling things out to examine them before glancing back up and then rearranging the bags yet again. She needs to save $1 on two cans of chickpeas.”

Of course the situation occasionally arises when I am busted, at which point I put on an Oscar-worthy performance of feigned ignorance about what the date is.

To be fair, I usually don’t ever know what date is, so it’s really not much of a stretch.

But I act surprised, tell her to toss it—as if she’s going to keep it for her own collection or something if I don’t—and after paying, raise my head high and push the squeaky-wheeled grocery cart out to the car.

You can’t put a price on pride, my friends, but I wouldn’t pass up on that coupon.

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Where Do I Send the Check?

Being a single woman who supports herself and an increasingly needy feline, I’m kind of picky on how I spend my increasingly decreasing money.

I prioritize—general bills, quality food that I want and enjoy and catnip so the hairball will leave me alone while I stare at a blank page on the screen. I don’t buy fancy clothes or makeup, I rarely eat out or party and obviously I don’t have cash to spend on a fancy blog design—or any at all.

Wow. That would be the worst singles ad ever.

With that out of the way, there are some things I will never hesitate to pay someone else to do. These are things I could probably do myself to some extent if I was willing to a) learn and b) pay for it by losing what sanity I might have left.

I can’t afford to lose any more sanity, so instead I just lose a few bucks.

My Taxes

This time of year everyone is buzzing about trying to find their 1099 or WD40 forms or what have you. I am a creative person. I am not a numbers person. All I know about taxes is that the small woodland creatures I keep fed in my back yard cannot count as deductions and that people dressed like Uncle Sam/Lady Liberty holding “Fast Tax Services” signs dominate busy street corners.

Considering the penalty for making a mistake on your taxes isn’t as simple as crossing something out and writing “Oops!” like I do in my checkbook, I’ll gladly pay a trusted professional—not one dressed in a costume—to figure all these things out.

Anything Automotive

Aside from putting gas in my Blazer and scheduling oil changes, I’m clueless when it comes to automotive repair. As a female it pains me to say that because it’s such a stereotype, but it’s true. If there’s a problem that can’t be solved by turning up the radio so I don’t hear the dysfunctional sound it’s making, I’m calling in an expert.

I can’t be trusted to not accidentally triple-knot my shoelaces, so this includes changing a tire.

Cut My Hair

I’ve accepted the fact that my hair’s “awkward phase” has lasted about seven years. Because of that, I’m not above coloring my hair from a box.

But ever since an unfortunate incident when I was six and cut my own hair (and that of our dog,) put it in envelopes and hid it under the couch, I have not gone near my hair with scissors. Considering my hair is lame anyway, it’s worth it to me to pay a lovely woman a few bucks to trim up what’s left and blame her for how it will look.

Anything with My Computer

I have basic computer knowledge in that I can overshare on Facebook, send out email writing pitches that I never hear back from and find pictures of sloths wearing makeup. I cannot do HTML or self-host my blog, and when I receive an error message or my computer freaks out in some way, I freak out in every way.

A phone call is made. A check is written.

Make Sushi

While I’m all about making my own food 99 percent of the time, I don’t understand people who make sushi at home. Okay. I get that it can be fun to have a “sushi rolling party” or whatever, but when I want veggie sushi I don’t want to spend three hours trying to get rice and perfectly sliced veggies to stick to a sushi mat before rolling it up, getting distracted and knocking the roll off the counter.

It will probably cost me three times more in supplies and 100 times more in frustration to attempt this on my own. Plus, when I’m hungry I get cranky, meaning there’s a good chance sharp chopsticks should be nowhere in the vicinity.

However, that tantrum might be worth paying to see.

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Aside from major medical procedures and house construction, what are the things you never hesitate to pay someone to do?

Control Is (just a) Key

Sometimes the universe reminds you (or me) that control is nothing more than a key on a laptop that somehow gets a virus and will require $150 to fix only to be returned to you completely “renewed,” as in, all of your settings, downloads, documents, drafts of blog posts and some pictures are no longer part of the deal.

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The mixture of this event and several others might leave you (or me) lying on the floor in the fetal position next to the cat, cursing Comcast while sobbing and apologizing for being a horrible cat mom.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

But then once you get those sobs out, you (or I) might realize that people in third world countries would kick your ass if they knew you were upset over losing half-written blog posts, having your credit card hacked (a different story) or cleaning up cat puke.

It could always be worse, but sometimes that’s hard to remember. Things add up and the straw that broke the camel’s back can often break you down. The realization that things are out of your control and less than ideal is annoying and frustrating.

It’s also pointless to fight.

A lot of my stress (and maybe yours) isn’t because I honestly feel like physical chaos will ensue when things go wrong, but rather that a situation won’t be (my version) of ideal and mental chaos will ensue.

So I plan things like having a post ready, make sure I can workout or that a meal won’t be rushed, eaten later than preferred or (gasp!) a disappointment. I like knowing that I can do “A” at time “B” and the result will be a predictable “C.”

Hello? Laptops getting sick, credit cards getting hacked and Snooki getting a spin-off show fit nowhere in that plan!

Anyway, after finding myself lying on the floor in the fetal position next to the cat, cursing Comcast while sobbing and apologizing for being a horrible cat mom—hypothetically speaking, of course—I had a thought. Well, two of them actually.

1) Wow, there’s a lot of catnip in this carpet.

2) How’s “predictable C” working out for me?

Of course at this point it wasn’t only about the laptop—although I was (and am) still kind of freaking out about that. No, it was the general realization—again—that sometimes you (or I) have to let go and just go with the flow.

Learning to accept the world as it is rather than being annoyed with it, stressed by it, mad at it or trying to change it into what we want it to be is really all we can do.

And I have to admit that my computer is running much faster. While this stinks, I can turn that around and say now I have an uncluttered canvas that can be filled with whatever might suit me right now. And we can continue the cheesy metaphor and say doing  a different “A” at time “B” can result in a new and improved “C.”

Exclamation point!

Of course at this point it’s still not only about the laptop and I’m still lying on the (now freshly vacuumed) floor. However, it’s not because I’m sobbing and losing my shit, but simply because I stood up and a piece of broccoli fell out of my shirt.

I can’t find it.

I’ve learned to accept this will happen. Not being annoyed with it, stressed by it, mad at it or trying to change it into what I want it to be is really all I can do until someone sends me a bib that can double as a superhero cape.

You pick your battles, people.

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I Didn’t Want to Publish This

This is a post I was hoping I wasn’t going to have to publish. Why? Because it means I didn’t win the Mega Millions drawing on Friday.

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This is a bummer because I already had the post written for when I won.

“Hey guys! I’m on my own tropical island working on my exotic container gardens while tirelessly devoting myself to perfecting the slow motion ‘Baywatch’ jog.  Be back in a bit!”

It’s also a bummer because I need money and wouldn’t have turned into one of the 8 out of 10 winners I read about who go through their money in five years and freak out.

I can tell you I wouldn’t get weird. I would get awesome.

So while I don’t generally buy a ticket, the idea of that much money gets the attention of almost everyone, and if you have one functioning cell of imagination in your body, you’ve thought about what you would do with all that money.

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First, I would hire a lawyer to handle weirdoes coming out of the woodwork and the details of my fortune. That lawyer would look exactly like Matthew McConaughey in “A Time to Kill” and I would force him to work topless and smell like either Clinique Happy for men or toast.

I would also work on a will, as now I would have something other than my collection of Jillian Michael’s DVDs to leave my family should I meet an untimely death by garbage truck returning home from making my bank deposit and/or passing out bread to wounded geese at the fowl retirement home.

Don’t laugh. Considering I won the lottery, the odds of the garbage truck thing aren’t beyond the realm of possibility.

Of course I would do all the things like pay off my house, take care of my mom and a few hardworking and responsible people I’m close to who wouldn’t let money mar those values. That’s a no-brainer, and most people would give that answer.

But what about after all that normal stuff is done and you still have Matthew McConaughey on retainer? 

That would be the fun part, as I could be a stay-at-home-mom minus the kids, do yoga to stay in physical and emotional shape, write an engaging and witty blog and oversee the management of numerous animal rescue centers I created instead of just making a small donation.

Once that was set and my hair looked fabulous because I could afford to go to a stylist, I would go around and do awesome things for random people—friends, strangers, those just needing a little lift. It sounds lame, but after I had taken care of the big items—and funded a Trader Joes in my town—that’s pretty much the thing I would most want to do.

It would make my heart happy.

I know, I know. There are things money can’t buy, like a prolonged life to spend all the money, a toned body, those authentic belly laughs that leave tears streaming down your face.

And I would still be cranky if it was nearing my feeding time, people would still annoy me when they say “conversate” and the dog would still pee into the wind.

However, these things would be much easier to deal with from my own tropical island working on my exotic container gardens while perfecting the slow-motion “Baywatch” jog (see above.)

Instead, I’m at home looking at the drunk squirrels doing somersaults in my waiting-to-be-planted garden and moving in slow motion because it’s Saturday and the week kicked my butt.

But while I still believe whoever said money can’t buy happiness wasn’t trying hard enough, for now, the squirrels will do.

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The million dollar question: Responsibilities aside, what completely ridiculous thing would you want to buy?