It’s a good morning beautiful day.

March 18, 2009

Hello, lovelies! Today is a good day, would you like to know why? It started out with gorgeous weather (70F and sunny before 10:00AM). My seedlings are… well, they’re still not visible, but I sense that they’re happy. And when I checked my email, I discovered a press release from the lovely folks at eBeanstalk, who make lovely and exceptionally fun toys for kids.

My tendency is to ignore these sorts of things — I receive them occasionally, and they’re almost always either lame or irrelevant — but the difference here is that I like eBeanstalk. I’ve actually bought things from them before, things that Connor loved (for example, this most excellent smart phone). I know them well enough to feel comfortable telling you to go have a look. Also, they were kind enough to include a 15% off coupon for my readers (… hah), and I know that like a bajillion of you either just had kids or have had kids for a while and might need to jazz them up a little. (What? It’s okay to admit it.)

So, if you want to buy some awesome, fun, developmentally rockin’ toys, you can use coupon code TGS345 at the site, anytime between now and June 30th.

Tomorrow we resume our regular, non-commercial-shilling updates. I feel like kind of a doofus right now. (HAY GUYZ BUY THIS KEWL PRODUKT!) Catch you then!

(But seriously, I really do whole-heartedly encourage you to at least go look at the site. Great stuff, excellent service, and a discount! What could it hurt?)

*Keith Urban, oh God.


Take a look at me now.*

March 9, 2009

Oh, my goodness, it has been so long. So very, very long. So incredibly long that I kind of don’t want to write this post, because so much trivial-yet-essential stuff has happened! I don’t even know how to connect everything together, because it’s not like over a month’s worth of life is really going to have a narrative flow. Also, I don’t really remember what I wrote about last time, although I guess I could just check, and this paragraph is really just more procrastination. Deep breaths. Okay, here we go:

I dyed my hair blue a while ago, except that I didn’t dye my hair as well as I dyed the bathtub and my toes and also, every inch of my skin from the shoulders down. I thought I had taken pictures of the tub, but alas I did not, so you will have to take my word for it. That word, by the way, is “disaster.” I’ve been applying straight bleach to the entire tub twice a day for three weeks, and the color still isn’t completely gone. On the other hand, my hair is now mostly not-blue, because the dye washes out in copious streams if I so much as think about wetting my head. I don’t know what possessed me to dye my hair blue, but… it doesn’t really matter, because in this case dying my hair a funky color on a whim was totally fine and not permanent at all! I will try to take pictures before all the color is gone, but I make no guarantees.

I went to the doctor, finally, to have that whole arthritis thing checked out, and he was very alarmed by my blue toenails. Aside from that, it’s apparently not arthritis causing the pain and the swelling and the pain and the discoloration and, oh my God, the pain. I got prescriptions for the pain, but then I had bloodwork that showed the problem isn’t arthritis, and now I need to see a rheumatologist and my doctor won’t refill my prescriptions, and did y’all know that healthcare is expensive? Because it is. Those taxes I was so excited about aren’t so exciting when pitted against multiple appointments and prescriptions and blood tests and, now, specialists. The status of all this health nonsense is kind of undefined — until I see a rheumatologist, nothing can go forward; until I win the lottery, I cannot see a rheumatologist. I’ll just be over here, hoarding my dwindling supply of pain pills and NSAIDs, all right?

I also had the Most Expensive Day Ever a while ago, involving (in order): an auto-payment for our electricity that didn’t go through, late fees and reconnection fees, running through my phone minutes in the course of straightening things out so that I had to go buy more, ridiculous car repairs, an extra payment to our Internet provider because we’d thought we might switch providers and then could not, and probably other stuff I don’t remember. Then Michael booked himself into a convention in Denver without telling me the price had jumped, and surprise! My account was overdrawn by $100! Which meant that, after we replaced that $100 and the overdraft fees, I had to cancel my own trip to Denver!


I am still considering going to Denver anyway, just catching a ride with Michael and parking myself on a friend’s couch with my kid for three days, but dudes: lame. Can’t we all just trade pretty beads and shiny things for this stuff? I bet I’d never run out of those. (Although really, I haven’t run out of money either; I’m just at the point where spending any more this month is distinctly a Bad Idea.)

Bad Ideas notwithstanding, I have begun buying seeds and accoutrements for this year’s garden. Michael and Chris built me a 4’x4’x2′ box last year, and my plan is to try square foot gardening in it — which would give me 16 miniature plots for growing various things. I want to plant eight big tomato plants, two cucumber plants, two squares of bush beans, and uh… some other stuff, to be determined later. I’m using the pots this year for strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and herbs. If I have the time I’m going to build a tomato trench and grow three or four more tomato plants, because who’s obsessed with growing tomatoes? HAHA, CERTAINLY NOT ME. Except that I kind of am, and I really want to try some funky stuff (black tomatoes, blue tomatoes, striped tomatoes) this year. This has, so far, been the one spark of good in an otherwise crappy week, and I will be starting my seedlings as soon as the clouds clear out, which had better be soon because Velocibadgergirl totally has the jump on me.

Finally, can I just complain for a minute? Because my kid — my awesome, smart, hilarious, sweet kid — is DRIVING ME NUTS. I don’t know if it’s an early taste of Four Years Old or what, but he’s suddenly… well, he’s been whining. And arguing. And refusing to do things he’s perfectly capable of doing, like unsnapping his own damn pants when he has to pee, or holding his fork properly, or uh, listening. What the hell, almost-four-year-old? Please, someone, tell me that this phase ends.

There. I think this covers almost everything, although I still haven’t written about OMGBOOKS and OMGTV and OMGMOVIES and OMGCONSUMERISTBONANZA and OMGSTIMULUSPACKAGE. Later, maybe.

*The Postal Service. I have so much trouble with titles that I thought I’d steal a page from Jonna’s book and start using song titles. This will probably backfire spectacularly, as I display my horrible taste in music, but we’ll see how it goes.

Christmas wrap-up.

December 28, 2008

Oh, friends, it’s a mess around here. Seriously, nobody should live like this. I haven’t mopped in two weeks. There are towels all over the bathroom floor and a layer of grime in the sink — our washing machine decided it should drain into the bathroom instead of, you know, OUT, so we’re waiting for tomorrow’s plumber. I think at least half the dishes in the house are dirty, piled totteringly in the kitchen sink and on the counter. Our bedroom floor has a festive carpet of laundry, due to the aforementioned plumbing issue. The living room isn’t so bad, except for my desk, which is… well, actually, I’m not sure my desk is still here; it’s possibly my computer is entirely held up by stacks of mail and leftover wrapping paper and candy wrappers.

Christmas was good, obviously, but I can’t seem to get back in the swing of things. Every time I turn around something I neglected during holiday prep stares me in the face — we’re out of trash bags, so I need to pick some up before I can clear the trash away from my desk, but first I need to do laundry so I have something to wear to the store, which means either waiting for the plumber or washing by hand (!!), though if I did that I’d need to clear out the towels on the floor because they’re rather unpleasant to kneel upon.

Or I could wash the dishes, except I’d need to put away the ones I washed on Boxing Day morning to free up the drainer, which means I’d have to get rid of the fancy(ish) disposable ones I bought for Christmas dinner, because those are currently in the cupboards where the real dishes go, and I don’t have trash bags so I can’t throw them out until I… do laundry, etc.

I was talking about Christmas, though, wasn’t I? It was good, I think I said. My nieces came over on Christmas Eve and we did the holiday baking and danced about to silly pop music. Connor opened his presents that night, one of which was a real drum kit (I am eternally an idiot), and we all had massive amounts of fun making far too much noise. He loved his presents and I am still feeling kind of smug, because usually when I buy toys he makes a polite noncommittal sound and never touches them — this year I spent far too much money and actually managed to get things he liked. Mom of the Year!

Christmas morning we were supposed to go over to Michael’s parents’ house pretty early, but Connor slept so late we finally had to wake him up and take him over there with bedhead. Michael’s mom had made a nice breakfast spread and we opened presents while noshing on cinnamon rolls and muffins. Connor was, of course, spoiled rotten and loved his presents. I was also spoiled rotten, and am still reeling from it — four new shirts! A gorgeous pair of earrings! The Dark Knight on DVD! An organizer for my desk! A framed holiday photo of Connor! It was quite nice.

We came home after that, leaving Connor behind for a bit to play with his new stuff, and started the turkey. At about 2:00 my mom and brother showed up, so we all hung out for an hour until it was time to pick Connor up. After Michael and I did that, my mom and I started the various side dishes to go with the turkey. Chris (Michael’s best friend) and Draven (his son) came by, and we all spent a lovely half-hour watching the kids play until Connor had a total meltdown and was put to bed for an emergency nap.

We ate well; Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious, and there were plenty of leftovers for my mom and I to split.

And… that’s it, really, for the past few days. Post-Christmas, I have been exceedingly lazy, and the house is really showing it. I can’t quite seem to get back on schedule, preferring instead to lounge about watching Angel and working in a desultory fashion for a few bucks each day. Connor’s been fairly engrossed by his new stuff, so I’ve had a lot of downtime time when I should have been cleaning to waste.

How was your holiday? Personally, I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve.

A brief but startling realization.

November 13, 2008

Things I Have Paid Off Or Paid Up In The Past Three Months:

1) $600 of back rent, plus half of each month’s rent since.
2) A (gulp) $300 back electricity bill, incurred a year ago at the height of our brokeness by taking advantage of no shut-off season. We’d been paying $25/month on top of our monthly bill since March, and the bill was reduced by exactly $100. So I paid it off. And then I took over our monthly electricity bill.
3) $300 of Michael’s student loan debt. I know, I am a saint.
4) $250 of my student loan debt (four monthly payments). Stupid Stafford loan.
5) $252 of insurance for the car — six months’ worth.

ChaCha is still having system issues today, but I’ve got a $20 bill in my pocket to see me through the day. The Asshole Neighbors were drag-racing around the block until 4:00AM, and I am exhausted. You know what? Well done, me. I think I’ll take the day off.

More work stuff, this time by request.

August 15, 2008

Kip asked me to write a little more about what it’s like to work for ChaCha, and I figured that the end of a day like today was the perfect time to do it. See, I worked a total of 12 hours today, and I don’t mean 12 hours straight. I mean 12 hours of work all mixed up with laundry, house stuff, taking care of Connor, running a few errands, and generally living life.

It was a long day, but it was a good one. I made $140 today, which is more than I’ve made in a week at some jobs. (It is also, I know, a crass number to toss about, and if I were not so tired I might be more vague. In the interests of full disclosure, I should admit now that I am also bragging a bit.) I am tired, I am completely wiped out, but it’s a pleasing kind of total exhaustion; it’s the kind of sheer brainfog that makes me sit back and go, “Damn, I did good.” I went through a whole routine a while ago — should I get wine? No, wine will make me sleepy. But wine is nice and relaxing after a long day! But I don’t want to be sleepy yet. But, but, but… wine! Or maybe I’ll just answer a few more questions on ChaCha…

It’s that kind of job. It is the perfect job for me, really: always interesting, always expanding, on when I am and off when I want to rest. The pay is not for everyone, and I know this, but it’s okay for me. It is, realistically, the best pay I’m going to get for sitting here in front of my computer and occasionally wandering off to do something else. It is also tailored specifically to meet and challenge my competitive streak. You see, I’m mildly competitive with others, but I’m constantly, ceaselessly competing with myself, and ChaCha is set up to let me do that. Every day, every minute, I can see how many questions I’ve answered, how much money I’ve earned, how well I’m doing — and every day, I can try to beat my own goal.

Which is not to say, of course, that I’m going to devolve into a blur of typing fingers and maniacal cackles. I’m not planning to do this for 12 hours every day, or anything. Most days, I do three or four or five or maybe six hours, and I call it good. I meet my baseline goal, I get my money, and I get on with life. Every once in a while, though, there are days like today when the whole system just works; these are days when I am tireless and the technical system is running like a dream and every question is awesome and they come thick and fast and I don’t even know four hours have gone by but suddenly Connor is waking up from his nap and I have $60 more dollars in my account.

I love the job for these days, and I love the job for the slower days — the days when I say, “Well, I’ve made thirty bucks, now I will go read a book.” I love that flexibility. I can’t lie: I also love the pay, and I especially love the pay system. You see, ChaCha pays me whenever I want. I can earn twenty bucks and go, hmm, I think I’d like to pick up a movie and some ice cream… and I hit a button, and that twenty bucks is in my account. I can think, gee, I’d like to open a savings account for Connor… and I work for a couple days, hit that button, and there’s my $100 opening deposit. If I run out of cigarettes, if the car’s low on gas, if it’s midnight and I really want a salty snack and a new book, I can do that. The money is there, and if it’s not, I can earn it in an hour or two.

It’s not always frivolous stuff, of course. I’m paying bills, I’m looking at IRA options, I’m really going to open that account for Connor. Still, the sheer freedom of knowing that I’m never broke… to someone who grew up like I did, who went through college like I did, who lived as a new mother and wife in a broke-ass town like I did? That’s a heady feeling. It no-joke boggles my mind to remember that we’re almost out of toilet paper and just go buy some. It utterly flabbergasts me when I’m confronted with my (shamefully classless) list of Things I Want and I realize that I can have these things. It’s not a license to get all spendthrifty, but it is a sense of freedom that I do not recognize.

It’s not all puppies and rainbows. ChaCha’s new pay structure is awkward, at best; their question-answering interface is often glitchy or slow; I am occasionally sick of the ever-running contests for Guides. Still, it is better to work for a company that pays me whenever I want, even if their pay structure is weird; it is better to have the option of walking away from work when it is slow and coming back later than to be tethered to a cash register for nine hours a day; it is better to work for a company that offers some form of fun incentive than to work for one that imposes a flair requirement or, god forbid, necessitates the wearing of suits.

In short, it is okay. I learn things every day (NB: the technical term for castration is “bilateral oophorectomy”), and I set my own schedule down to the minute. I like it, even when it leaves me so fuzzy that I can’t remember if wine is a good thing.

You were always on my mind.

July 15, 2008

Hello there! I’ve been neglecting you again, haven’t I? I have very good reasons, though, and I am prepared to tell you all about them. What, you don’t believe me? You don’t remember when I mentioned that I got hired as a Guide for ChaCha? You didn’t think what having a functional car would do for my social life? Bah. You kids, never thinking ahead.

Enough of that. I did get hired at ChaCha, and I started actual work on Sunday. Wayyyy back when my jobhunt was still something kind of funny, I said that I needed to make about $300 every month. Such a small amount, such an impossible dream! I’ve been keeping things running since then with a string of ill-timed, frantic freelance gigs, and I’ve often come up short. When I applied at ChaCha, I thought about it in terms of making five or ten bucks every now and then — cigarette money, or maybe gas money. Little things. I didn’t think of it as, you know, a solution.

In the past two days, I have made over $60. I’ve worked three or four hours each day. If I keep up this pace, I will be making about $900 every month; that will more than double our income. If I scale it back to a couple of hours a day (which I will, because who works FOUR WHOLE HOURS every day? Not me), I’ll still make around $600 — which will increase our income by 75%. I can do this from home, I can do this in my pajamas, and I can do this around more interesting things like finishing up my book, applying to really cool career-type jobs, and parenting my kid. If we need more than $600 or $900 or [insert amount here], I can work six hours instead of two — or eight hours instead of six — and presto! More money.

I mean, I know it’s not a great job. I know that $600-to-$900 every month is not anything like a decent salary. It’s okay, though. It’s more than I need, financially, and it’s exactly what I need as far as time and effort and interest go. I like the job. I get to do trivia hunts all day. I get to play know-it-all. It’s nice. Also, I keep getting Chuck Norris questions, which crack my shit up.

So I’ve been doing that, and I’ve been getting out of the house a little more. The new car means all sorts of exciting things, not least of which is that Connor and I can go to the park for lunch whenever we want. We’ve taken my nieces with us a couple of times, and we all have a blast. The parks around here give out free lunches for kids (to take the place of school lunches for low-income kids or kids with busy parents), so we can have a picnic whenever we want. Tomorrow I plan to do the grocery shopping on my own, whenever I’m ready to go, instead of waiting for Michael to get out of bed or off of work. It’s going to be fabulous, and I really cannot say enough great things about this car. (Seriously. I could go on. OMG THE CAR IS SO SEXY I CAN GO ANYWHERE I’LL NEVER BE TRAPPED AGAIN. And then I’ll swoon. It’ll be gr — why are you opening a new tab? Hey, come back!)

Today is earmarked for finishing up my last freelance gig, maybe sending out resum├ęs for a few more, ChaChaing, and fooling around in the (suddenly, weirdly prolific) garden. I know I need to take pictures of… like, everything… and I know I need to write a non-job entry soon. Once I get past the hump this month (bills are due in a week; after that, I’ll have a two-week sigh of relief before rent is due) there will be much more to say. Here’s a preview: The garden is huge! There are tomatoes and cucumbers and squash seedlings everywhere! I can’t sleep and I spend all night trudging between couch, bed, and bathtub! I think I need a new piercing and/or tattoo, because I don’t feel like a trashy enough mother yet! My head exploded yesterday and giant purple aliens flew out, which really means that Michael and I had a ridiculous fight!

While I’m in the trenches, go check out Schizodigestive. I’m running Kip’s New Mexico series this week, and I’m hoping to have a post of my own up too. That’ll keep you busy!

Listy McListsalot.

July 10, 2008

Things I Am Dying To Do:

1) Get haircuts for Connor and me.
2) Buy Connor new shorts.
3) Go see The Dark Knight.
4) Sign Connor up for swimming lessons.
5) Get enough dirt for my awesome new raised bed.
6) Register our new(-to-us) car.
7) Get some new books and/or pay my library fine.
8) Take my friend Lyndie out for some light shopping and a nice lunch.
9) Invite my friend Kirsten over for a cookout.
10) Buy Connor a cool toy.

Things I Am Able To Do, Just:

1) Pay rent.
2) Pay bills.
3) Buy at least a little food.
4) Put oil in the old car to keep it going another month.

Oh, adulthood. What will you think of next?