Category Archives: Debt

My Husband Loves Me More Than Your Husband Loves You

I love my husband and I know he loves me.

I’ve met a lot of women who like to have their husband’s love proved to them on a regular basis in the form of flowers, gifts, and jewelry. However, these are not my preferred forms of affection.

Although I appreciate flowers, I know within days the petals will drop, the pollen will cause my daughter Emily to be sneezing up a storm, and in a week, I will be the one hauling the dead bouquet to the green bin and having to wash a vase filled with skunk water.

In lieu of gifts, I would much prefer a gift certificate for “Free lawn mowing without the prompting of subtle hints” and “Complimentary kitchen cleaning – including wiping down the stove.”

And although I love admiring the glittery jewels other women wear, I just couldn’t appreciate showing off a chunk of bling when we’re still up to our eyeballs in credit card debt.

My husband Tom shows me he loves me in subtle ways. He’ll fill up the Keurig coffee maker with water when the light is flashing, even though he is already done with his own caffeine fix. If he’s making a root beer float for himself, he’ll offer to make one for me. And if I order a meal that turns out to be to the left of “just ok,” he’ll offer half of his meal, even if he’s starving and his dish is delectable.

We moved in together in May of 2005 and weren’t married until October, and there was still a lot I didn’t know about him. I volunteered Tom to man the grill for the annual Hartsook Street Block Party, which took place on the hottest day of the year. The temperature soared to 110 degrees and the humidity was so thick neighbors were sweating more liquid than they were ingesting. Tom lamented that the grill actually felt cooler than the air. He perched himself in front of that charcoal-induced sauna for four hours. Later he told me to never NEVER volunteer him for anything ever again without his permission.

Why does this scenario make him a more loving husband than the rest of the men out there? Because he wasn’t a dick the entire time he was grilling, he told me the “no volunteering” request without raising his voice, and he didn’t hold a grudge about it for weeks. How about it, Ladies? Would your hubbies have that reaction?

But the Grand Finale of Best Humbandrycame last night, just after 4:00 am. The previous day, our dogs found a bin in our pantry filled with Special K bars and ingested about a dozen of them.

Devil Dogs

Tom came home to crumbs, wrappers, and two very guilty-looking dogs. Then he cleaned up the mess before I could take a picture for my blog (more Best Husband kudos!).

In the middle of the night I awoke to a fearsome stench. I got up and started to walk toward the switch to turn on the light when I felt squish squish squish – the unexpected feeling of stepping on gooey wetness.

I turned on the light and started screaming.

“Tom! Tom!” He had gone out to the couch about an hour earlier because he couldn’t sleep. Tom ran in like he was ready to fend off a home intruder and we both stared down at the bedroom carpet.

It was completely covered in runny diarrhea. It looked like someone had unloaded a paintball gun filled with caramel-colored pellets. The mess was sprayed all over the doors, the walls, and the mirrored closet doors. I was actually standing in the middle of the Feces Forest and had no idea how to get out of it.

I just stood there – stunned, paralyzed, terrified. I had no idea where to even start cleaning up such a sewage spill.

I was still a motionless statue by the time Tom arrived with the pooper scooper and started cleaning up the watery excrement. He looked like he was playing a game of miniature golf, but instead of a ball, he was easing the club over stinky slime.

I performed a standing long jump into the hallway, dashed into the bathroom, and scrubbed the bottoms of my feet so hard you would have thought I was a plague victim in Contagion. Then I prepared a bucket with Mr. Clean, poured the hottest water I could stand with industrial-strength rubber gloves, and raced back to the bedroom.

“I’m done,” Tom said. ” Go sleep in the kids’ room.”

Well, his idea of “done” and my idea of “done” are two completely different things. Granted, the piles had been smeared down from two inches to two millimeters, but instead of random piles of poop, there now was a smooth ground cover of crap.

And tomorrow morning it would be a dried, crusty ground cover of crap.

I kneeled down in the hallway safe zone, rung out a soapy sponge, and started to scrub.

“Go to bed,” Tom gently ordered.

I was really beat. This was going to be the first time in over a week that I would be getting more than 6 hours of sleep, and now that plan had gone out the now-open window. The stench was truly unbearable and I was afraid I might even vomit, which would have been a nuisance since the pooper scooper was now outside.

“I’ll take care of it in the morning,” Tom said. I knew this really meant I’ll think about taking care of it in the morning, but if I wait until afternoon, I know you’ll do it anyway. But I was so tired, and the smell was so overwhelming offensive, I staggered to the kids’ room and crawled into the bottom bunk. Fortunately for me, Jake has been sleeping I the top bunk with Mary since he’s afraid of zombies (which apparently only make an appearance at his 9:00 pm bedtime).

I awoke this morning, dreading the job in front of me.

Mary woke up in the bunk above me and asked why I was in her room. She hopped out of bed the instant I told her what happened.

“Can I see?”

We headed through the hall and I plugged my nose as I opened the door, ready to be hit in the face by the noxious odor.

Instead, our carpet shampooer sat in the middle of the room and the carpet was clean.

What the…?

Tom was already holding a cup of coffee.

“I cleaned it last night.” He gulped his coffee. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Later in the day he hosed off the dozen or so piles of diarrhea scattered throughout the yard that were ejected after the dogs had been banished outside.

“I also cleaned and shaved Spike’s butt,” Tom said casually.

Apparently the constant streaming of liquid excrement had created a hefty cement-like compound, and leaves, dead flowers and weeds were caked onto our Australian Shepherd’s anus.

So for all you women who treasure the glittery bling, the dozen roses and the fancy gifts, I’d like to ask you a single question:

Would your husband let you sleep while he shampooed a shit-filled carpet and scrubbed the poopy ass of your long-haired dog?

This is why my husband loves me more than your husband loves you.

How about you? How does your spouse or significant other show you that he/she loves you?

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Family, Humor, Husband, Kids

Getting Paid NOT to Write My Blog

This week I received an email from a marketing firm offering to pay me $40 if I let them guest blog on Very VERY Busy Mom. So many emotions rumbled through my body as I mulled over this request.

First of all, I’m very flattered that someone I’ve never heard of would seek me out to write for my website. It’s kind of like guest hosting for Jay Leno. Only they might end up being funny.

Secondly, I am thrilled about the prospect of free cash. Although $40 seemed like chump change when I was in my carefree and wasteful late 20’s, today $40 can mean the difference between gas in my tank or sticking out my thumb on a street corner (That was a lie. I’ve never hitchhiked before, but with the price of gas these days a free ride sounds very enticing).

However, there were three reasons why I wanted to turn them down. First, Very VERY Busy Mom is my blog, and I’m a little territorial about it. I’d feel like a hypocrite lamenting how I’ll take a little Me Time when I’m dead, then have someone guest blog about the 10 Best Spas in LA, especially since I couldn’t even afford the valet.

I also don’t do ads. I think it’s a little creepy when I’m on a website and the Google Ads are offering me products for hygiene. Am I not bathing enough? Am I choosing the wrong deodorant? How does Big Brother know?

The final and most important reason that I didn’t want the deal was because Very VERY Busy Mom is a humor blog, or at least I try to make it humorous. And I suspected that the subject matter they were proposing was not very funny.

No, it wasn’t selling cemetery plots or raising money for an orphanage in Cambodia. It was for a website advertising dentists – specifically cosmetic dentistry.

I figured that I would be a terrible choice because I would be inclined to mention the famous scene in Marathon Man with Laurence Olivier stabbing Dustin Hoffman’s cavity and asking, “Is it safe?”

That could be my tagline:

Is it safe? Only if you go to one of our dentists.

"Is it safe?"

I can just imagine the first paragraph written by the guest blogger:

Do you brush your teeth regularly? Do you floss? Is your answer an embarrassed “no?” Fear not. Make an appointment with one of our dentists and in no time you’ll have a winning smile!

Would you keep reading? Or would you close the screen window and never ever log onto my blog again?

On the other hand, if they let me write it, it might sound more like this:

Have your teeth become the color of your Starbucks’ cappuccino? Do you knock over large animals with your bad breath? Do strangers compliment you on your realistic Halloween Billy Bob teeth? Then let’s hope that you have a great personality to attract a mate. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your fat checkbook or great credit over to our dentist if you ever want to get a date.

These are my teeth. Really.

I checked out the website they wanted me to promote. It has a lot of quick information about things like root canals, tooth decay, and gingivitis (a great vocabulary word I learned from a Listerine ad before I had a DVR and could speed through commercials). The site invites you to find a dentist in your area by entering your zip code. I tried it, but my dentist wasn’t on the list. What? I’ve been seeing him twice a year for over 20 years. Perhaps he has enough regular clients like me, so he doesn’t have to advertise online.

The home page of the website contains a photo of a hunky 50-something guy and one of those blonde natural beauties you see in ads but not so often in real life. They’re smiling at us from the beach. If this was a tv ad, they might even have some CGI sparkles emitting from their perfect teeth.

My real dentist ad would have the hunky 50-something guy lying back in a dentist chair, drooling on a bib while a dental hygienist shoves a sharp poker, a mirror, and a small hose into his mouth. She tells him he needs to floss more often. “Aaaaakaaagaaa,” he answers, as the hose sucks his gurgling spit. Suddenly he’s not so hunky.

Then there would be the ad where the blonde natural beauty is not so naturally blond or naturally beautiful. She has just finished her checkup and therefore all lipstick and foundation applied below her nose has rubbed off. She is told that she needs to have x-rays taken, and the semi-blonde bursts into tears because her co-pay just went up and insurance now only pays for 60%. She pleads that she’s got a Smartphone, so can’t she just take a picture of her teeth and email it to the dentist?

Another ad would be the hunky 50-something guy awakening from a root canal, getting a prescription for Vicodin, and relapsing after 25 years of sobriety as he chases more pain meds.

These would be my ads if I wrote them. Which is probably why the marketing gal wanted me to hand my blog over to the guest writer, who would most likely write about the virtues of whitened teeth and how crowns make you more appealing to a prospective employer.

Not my teeth. Thank God!

Should I take the $40 and run? Maybe to a beach with the hunky 50-something guy with a winning smile? Probably not, or my 40-something husband will stop writing witty replies to my blogs. He might even stop making me dinner.

I decided to take the high road, stick to my morals, and make some fun of dentists myself rather than let somebody else promote them. I emailed the marketing gal back and thanked her for the offer, but told her no.

She emailed me back and offered $90 instead. She also said I could write the blog myself, and I could even mention halitosis. All I had to do name the company and provide a link to their website.

I posted this blog around noon, naming the website and providing a link. Then an hour later I received an email from the manager of the marketing company who told me:

… we would really appreciate you not disclosing our client in the post or linking to it as this could harm our relationship with the client.

He offered to pay me if I would just take down the links and delete any mention of his client.

Should I hold out until they offer to pay for my kids’ braces?

19 Comments

Filed under Debt, Humor, Husband, Parody

10 Reasons I’m Glad I Didn’t Win the $656 Million Mega Millions Jackpot

Like half of all the other desperate souls in America, I was dreaming of what I would do if I won $656 million in the Mega Millions Jackpot. I bought not one, but two lotto tickets, which is a very big deal since it meant that due to the astronomical gas prices I’d have to drive four fewer miles this week. Good timing since it’s spring break and I get a break from middle school car pool.

In my fantasy, I would pay off the house just enough to have 20% equity, then do a na-na-na-na-na-na dance to the half dozen loan officers who have turned us down for a refi this past year.

I would pay off the student loans my husband and I have accumulated to the tune of $185,000, and then have plenty left over to put our three kids through the college of their choice. What the heck… we could probably buy our own college.

We could fly first class to Florida and spend a week at Disneyworld while Emily is still young enough to enjoy it and Jake is old enough to avoid the dreaded naptime.

I could dream forever and keep going on about my fantasies, but the fact is, I didn’t win. Obviously, or my blog hit numbers would be through the roof. So since I try to be a glass half full kind of gal, I have come up with the…

10 Reasons I’m Glad I Didn’t Win the $656 Million Mega Millions Jackpot

1. Taxes. Right now I earn and pay a pittance – just enough to contribute a little something to our under-funded public schools. If I was paying millions in taxes it would all go to big ticket items like politicians’ pet projects such as funding studies on whether cockroaches prefer Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles.

2. All the kindergartners would be knocking out their own teeth during sleepovers at our home since it would be rumored that we have a very generous Tooth Fairy.

3. My credit union building is just not big enough to deposit all those dollars

4. I really don’t want to be featured in supermarket tabloids under the headings “She’s just like us! She buys her own deodorant!” and “Lotto Winner Caught Picking Her Butt!”

5. I’d have to scrape off my “Other 99%” bumper sticker.

6. I’m afraid someone will kidnap my dogs and hold them for ransom. Then I’d have the dilemma of whether or not to pay the criminals or let the mutts just annoy them as much as they annoy me.

7. I’d probably have to start paying my kids an allowance.

8. Every third cousin in my family tree would be hightailing it to LA for a piece of the pie, and then race back again every month when their stash ran out.

9. I would have to spend all my free time rejecting new Facebook friend requests.

10. I would be invited to fancy shmancy parties that Mitt Romney is also invited to and then I’d have to keep repeating the awkward conversation that I am a Democrat and would plan to outspend his Super PAC.

6 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Kids, Parenting, Public Schools, Top 10 List

($ ÷ Gallon) x (Miles ÷ Gallon) = LA Gasoline Anxiety

Here's the gas prices at the station closest to my home. Aaaahhhh!!!

With the astronomical price of gas these days, I start to have an anxiety attack each moment my odometer clicks another tenth of a digit. I quickly do the math in my head: if my 15-year old minivan gets 16 miles per gallon of gas and I pay $4.50 for each gallon, I am coughing up over 28 cents for every tenth of a mile. It now costs twice as much in gas to deliver my daughter’s forgotten brown bag lunch than to just make her buy lunch at the school cafeteria. What a dilemma!

When I got my driver’s license in 1978, I remember paying just 64 cents for a gallon of gas. I say this and I feel like the old geezers who complain how when they were kids they used to walk to school uphill both ways. Suddenly I’m older than dirt.

Today, as I near a hundred bucks a pop, each time I fill up my tank I feel like I just lost the kids’ college fund – that is if I was wealthy enough to actually have a decent kids’ college fund. My head pounds, I feel emotionally sick, and I am suddenly terrified of the future of both my family and America as a whole.

With such an adverse reaction, you would think that my work commute must be an enormous trek and I am suddenly spending a fortune in gas.

Wrong.

Actually, my commute distance is exactly 13-1/2 inches and takes about a nanosecond, so it costs exactly no dollars and zero cents in gas to drive to work.

Jealous? I don’t blame you.

My editing system sits on a desk near the foot of my bed and I am able to upload and download my session via the Internet. I work a 48.6 hour week (blame my union for this obscure number) and I can do it all in my pajamas.

I can’t image how I’d afford gas if I still commuted from the home in Chino I sold in 1992. It’s a 90 mile round trip to Burbank, so at 16 miles per gallon I’d be spending over $550 in gas each month. Plus I’d be wasting about 15-20 hours each week staring at lame bumper stickers and the rear ends of all those SUVs that have stick figure drawings with family member names underneath, all the while sucking up thousands of Verizon minutes yacking with people who’d certainly be tired of talking to me after the first ten minutes.

Thank you God for telecommuting.

I do have to drive a mile and a half each way every week (84¢) to drop off and pick up my external hard drive from my assistant/right hand man Eddie. I also travel four miles ($2.25 round trip) to the Disney lot and swing by the dub stage, mostly to keep my chops primed in having three-minute conversations with actual adults who work in post-production sound. In real life, the majority of my conversations consist of telling my 5-year old to stop squirming and keep his finger out of his nose, so the last thing I want to do is instinctively bark these orders at the dedicated mixers of Once Upon a Time.

So if I’m not paying up the wazoo in my work commute, where does all the gas money go?

Jake’s school is three blocks away, and since he’s a pokey walker, we drive. I figure the trip there and back costs a little less than 20 cents a day. In a week I spend less than the price the ice cream man charges for a SpongeBob on a stick. Such a bargain!

I’m the afternoon carpool mom for Mary’s school which is three miles away, and I drive about six miles on the way home dropping off the other middle school kids. That gas bill adds up to about $2.53 each day. In a week, I spend more in gas than I would in buying a half dozen Red Bulls – which I recently cut out of my budget because they’re now a luxury I can’t afford. Please don’t tell my insurance agent this if I happen to fall asleep at the wheel.

Emily attends Cleveland Humanities Magnet which is a 28-mile round trip and would cost nearly $40 a week in gas. I have all you Los Angeles property owners to thank for generously donating your tax dollars. So far LAUSD has not completely cut funding for Magnet School buses, so for me, Emily is a freebie.

I don’t have the luxury of time on my hands, yet I will still drive six miles and wait for 20 minutes in line to fill up at the Costco gas station to save a few cents.  Actually, it’s more than a few cents. Yesterday Costco gas was $4.21 a gallon, but the closest gas station to my home was $4.75. They have the audacity to charge $4.99 for premium, and at that price “premium” should mean “with complimentary foot rub.” Don’t even get me started on the three-millimeter sized “9/10” at the end of every gas price. Is there any other product that charges an extra nine-tenths of a cent?

Even with my Costco membership, it now costs more time and money to buy a gallon of gasoline than it does to get a Starbucks Venti Frappuccino. It’s too bad my minivan doesn’t run on iced coffee. Especially since I make my own cup a Joe. After all the money we spend on gas these days, who can afford to buy anything from Starbucks?

189 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Career, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Parenting, Public Education, Public Schools, Teenagers

Why Do I Love The Home Depot? – It’s the Muzak

My son Jake helping me pick out paint colors

For the past two weeks, we’ve been trying to spruce up our house for a possible refi, which requires an appraisal. I’ve already cleared away a good amount of clutter, but I got a bug up my butt about painting the kitchen and bathroom, as if a new color will suddenly make our home worth another 50 grand.

I’m a fairly organized person and I have all the painting supplies stored in a bin in the garage, then subdivided by brushes, tape, plastic sheets, sandpaper, patching supplies, etc. It’s a Virgo thing. I figured that all I’d need to buy is paint, so it would be a cheap and easy fix.

Yet somehow every single day – sometimes as many as three times a day – I’ve made another trip to Home Depot to pick up something.

It’s kind of a pain in the bucket. The store is only about six miles away, but when I’m literally up to my elbows in wet paint and teetering on the upper ledge of a stepladder, the last thing I want to do is stop and buy another gallon of semigloss Breakwater White Behr paint. Like trying to get blood from a turnip, I will squeeze every last drop from a bone-dry paint can before I say uncle.

I pull off my latex gloves, make sure I don’t track wet paint across the floor, and hop in my minivan. I head for the big orange sign, make a right turn into the parking lot and give an apologetic wave to the dozen day laborers who are hoping for a cash transaction, steer my over-sized shopping cart into the warehouse, and suddenly I am at peace with the world.

Why?

The Home Depot Muzak.

Their satellite radio is tuned to a retro ‘70’s station – some disco, some Nixon and Carter-era rock – but it always blares a tune that urges me to sing along.

On Monday I needed more plastic covers and blue masking tape and was greeted by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition and Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets.

On Tuesday I bought some patching compound and heard REO Speedwagon’s Roll with the Changes and the Bee Gee’s Jive Talkin’.

On Wednesday my daughter Mary told me that the Hibiscus Petal I picked out as a bathroom accent color instead looked more like a wall of cotton candy, so I returned to Home Deport for a quart of Raspberry Lemonade (the color, not the drink). Home Depot’s radio played Kiss’s Rock & Roll All Nite, and 1973’s The Ballroom Blitz, which I haven’t heard in decades.

On Thursday I decided to buy a better straight edge and was treated to Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet and The Steve Miller Band’s Jet Airliner.

On Friday I needed more primer and heard Gloria Gaynor’s megahit I Will Survive and Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4.

Some of you may be familiar with the children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in which the future butterfly eats something different every day:

On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry.

On Wednesday he ate through three plums, but he was still hungry…

You get the picture. I felt like the Very Hungry Caterpillar eating up all that music. I dumped my satellite radio about a year ago and traded it for the free Pandora, but I would pay to get it back just to hear this great nostalgic music while I was working on the house. I never minded waiting in The Home Depot checkout line because I was happy killing time singing along with KC and the Sunshine Band or humming to The Hustle.

I asked the manager the name of the radio station, but he didn’t know. However he told me that the same station is not only played for callers who are put on hold, it is the same music that airs in every single Home Depot across the nation.

So whether you’re buying a faucet in Florida or lumber in Louisiana or a plant in Pennsylvania, everyone hears the music that I grew up listening to.

This made me wonder about Home Depot’s listening audience. I’ve noticed that there’s a huge demographic of contractors, home fixer-uppers or employees who like me who are around 50 years old. And if we have the chance to click our heels three times and say there’s no place like Home Depot, we can be instantly transported to a time and place where the songs were memorable and the gas was only 68 cents a gallon.

So I figured if my sound editing gig ever dried up, it wouldn’t be so bad to apply for a job at The Home Depot where I could direct customers to hinges, switch plates, and PVC pipe and spend all day listening to great bands like Foreigner, Queen, Boston, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, Styx… the list is as long as those odd/even gas lines that appeared the day I got my driver’s license.

In the meantime, if I’m feeling nostalgic for Kung Fu Fighting or anything from Saturday Night Fever, I can always call The Home Depot and ask to be placed on hold.

7 Comments

Filed under Debt, Humor, Music, Parenting

Too Much Poop in the Pipes

What goes down... must come up?

In today’s tough economic times I am lucky to experience pride of ownership, but there are days when I wish I could just call the super to fix the broken (fill in the blank) without pulling out my checkbook.

The latest fill-in-the-blank started about a month ago when I noticed remnants of the garbage disposal drain regurgitating into the adjoining kitchen sink. I assumed that my husband was forcing large pieces of vegetables down the drain rather than discarding them into the green bin. I wanted to call him lazy for not taking the 30 foot walk outside, but I really like it when he cooks, so I figured I’d keep my big eco-friendly mouth shut.

A few days later, the bathroom toilet started clogging so often that the plunger made itself a permanent home next to the royal throne. I blamed it on my son Jake who refuses to eat anything except hot dogs and chicken nuggets. I know he’s only 5 years old and I am the mommy, but I have to pick and choose my battles, and forcing him to eat his dinner vegetables is the battle he seems to be winning. At least he does his homework without a fight.

Then the tub began to clog on a regular basis, and I feared that there was a pussy cat-sized ball of hair clogging the pipe. I would love to have blamed that blockage on one of my daughters, but Mary still has her boy-length hairstyle, and although like me, Emily dyes her hair red, I suspect that the hairball was made up of long red hair with two-inch gray roots.

The final straw came last Monday when I started hearing gurgling sounds in the bathroom. The bubbling was coming from the toilet, and although it sounded like a 5-gallon Sparkletts bottle dispensing H2O, somehow I just knew that whatever liquid was making that sound was not going to be especially pure and fresh. A few seconds later the toilet flushed itself – or rather the water shot down and disappeared into the tank for a moment, then reappeared as murky grey muck. It reminded me of the redneck singing the The Beverly Hillbillies main title theme:

And up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.

Oil, that is.

Black gold.

Texas tea.

I suspected that unlike Jed Clampett, I wasn’t about to become a millionaire, although it might be likely that this bubblin’ crude was going to cost a million dollars to fix.

That’s the moment that I should have heeded the kinfolk’s advice when they told ol’ Jed to “move away from there,” because that crude-colored feculence nearly spilled right over the toilet rim.

I started screaming for my husband, because that’s what we delicate women do when a river of excrement is about to pour on our manicured toes. Although it was already past his bedtime (he goes to work at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am), he grabbed a flashlight and trekked out to the backyard to investigate the trap. Apparently the “trap” is the lovely place where all the household drains come together, then uniformly flow toward the city sewage line. The trap is kind of like happy hour at a bar where tramps and sleaze balls meet and at closing time make a beeline to the community fleabag hotel. And like that very busy, very sleazy bar, this trap was packed solid.

The next day I checked Angie’s List and found New-Pipe Plumbing & Rooter, the same business that installed our new copper plumbing six years ago. They also donated a gift certificate to the Colfax Charter Elementary School Silent Auction that I worked on last year, so I figured it was good karma to throw a little business their way.

Benny the Plumber ran a camera through the pipe, and my husband watched as roots attacked it like the Whomping Willow tree in the Harry Potter series.  We also had a seam where roots had shifted one of the adjoining pipes halfway downward, leaving a gaping root-filled hole and half the volume available for sewage drainage. Benny gave us three options:

1. Clear the drain with gas hydro jet for $714

2. Repair the broken section of the cracked pipe for $1723

3. Install all new sewage pipes for $5,000

It would be hard to come up with $714, nearly impossible to scrape together $1723, and we would be dreaming in La La Land to think we could afford the price of a used automobile. I told the plumber we’d do the $1723 fix. He politely advised me that he would be happy to do it, but because our home and pipes are 82 years old, that we’ll eventually be calling him again for the same fix on another section of pipe.

I contemplated crying. Then he reminded me that Angie’s List gave me a 10% discount, and that I would get another 10% discount for being part of the Colfax family. If we could do the major fix it would only cost $4,000.

The cost was still impossible.

And then I looked up at our brand new roof. That was impossible too, and yet we were spending a winter without a tarp over our heads and buckets throughout the house. How did we pay for that when our savings was nil? (You can read about that little adventure in my blog “Raising (the Cash for) My Debt Ceiling”).

Cash advance credit cards.

I pulled out one of the dozen or so offers we get each month as a reward for our good credit score. I found the one that advertised 0% until May 2013 with just a 3% fee.

I wrote the check. The plumbers came minutes later with their trenchless pipe-laying equipment and hardworking shovelers who obviously don’t need to spent their off-hours at the gym. And by nightfall, we were granted a 101-year warranty and got the A-OK to drain our human pipes into the new buried pipe.

Today I can run the dishwasher or the washing machine, turn on the faucets to the tub, shower, and kitchen and bathrooms sinks, and flush a toilet filled with the aftermath of the most humongous Thanksgiving meal, and rest assured that the remnants will not be making a reappearance up another drain like some verminous whack a mole game.

As for the money… the 0% $11,700 roof bill will start charging 15.99% interest in April. We’ve managed to pay off some of the balance, but the bulk of it will come from yet another 0% interest credit card and this year’s tax refund. That refund amount is sizable due to our insanely large mortgage payment.

Just another example of pride of ownership.

14 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Husband, Parenting

Red heads have more fun

I finally dyed my hair last night.

I don’t have the time or money to do it the right way – sitting for two hours in a vinyl chair reading a weekly magazine featuring a bunch of 20-somethings I’ve never head of since I don’t watch reality tv. Someday I dream of being flush, with time on my hands and I will have a standing appointment every five weeks with Jennifer at Suburbia Salon. I will be one happy woman.

Instead, I stock up red hair dye when it’s on sale and buy even more when I have a coupon. Every month or so, my grey roots start rearing their ugly heads on my hopefully-not-so-ugly head.  After putting the kids to bed, I throw on my old dye-covered tank top and boxer shorts, put on the cheapest plastic gloves ever made and start soaking those roots.

The problem is, I’ve now had shingles for seven weeks, and my scalp is still burning. I assume that hair dye is a big no-no since the last thing you should throw on a burning scalp is ammonia.

Since last week when I was finally well enough to get out, I’ve been hiding three months of grey roots under a Santa hat, but now that Christmas is over, it’s kind of like floating that heart-shaped mylar Valentine’s Day balloon well after the Easter bunny has delivered his goodies. It just looks sad and desperate.

So I was extremely excited to find among my hair dye stash a product I bought a couple years ago by mistake – Clairol Natural Instincts in #22 cinnaberry with antioxidants and vitamins C & E! (they have the exclamation point on the box… I‘m excited, but not excited enough to add extra punctuation).

Why haven’t I used it? Because when I bought it I didn’t realize that it was non-permanent color and washes out after 28 shampoos. Granted, I could be cheap and lacking in hygiene and let that baby last for a good seven months, but frankly if I didn’t mind if my hair got greasy and nasty on the 5th, 6th and 7th day, I probably wouldn’t be so anal about my grey roots.

I did the math. If I wash my hair every other day, then my cinnaberry hair would be gone in less than two months. And that means completely gone. By the end of the first month, those stubborn grey roots would be three inches long and stealthly peeking their way out of my head, slowly materializing every day of the second month like an overly long magic trick.

I had forgotten to exchange my Clairol Natural Instincts and eventually lost the receipt, so it sat at the back of my hair dye collection, waiting to get thrown out as soon I planned to de-clutter the bathroom.

Until last night. I pulled it out and found two wonderful words on the box: ammonia free! (exclamation point mine this time). I could apply the dye to my raw scalp and it wouldn’t hurt, and it would tide me over until I was well enough to get the real thing.

I can now go out in the real world and tie one on at a New Year’s Eve party, although I never know who or what I should be tying. I just know that red heads truly have more fun than three-inch grey heads.

I’m in the process of clearing away clutter and other needless stuff. I’m happy to have my red hair back, but unfortunately I’m re-thinking about throwing things out. You never know if I’m going to wish I kept that stained “Happy Millennium” t-shirt.

9 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Illness, Recuperating