Category Archives: Husband

The End of the Blog Hiatus

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I tried to stop time. But time won.

The problem with having a blog called Very VERY Busy Mom is that it implies that if I am busy enough to warrant the second VERY in the title, when the heck do I find time to write a blog?

Exactly.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s gal pal Hermione Granger uses a device called a “time turner” which transports her to the past so she can double up her class schedule.

I’d love to win lotto one day, but I would trade those millions for my very own time turner. I’d get my work done with no stress at all, then use the time turner to spend time with my kids, hang out with my husband, exercise regularly, clean my house, and maybe have coffee with a friend.

But after a day or two of time turning, I’d want to tear out my lawn and put in drought-resistant plants, learn to speak Spanish fluently, write a book, start a small business, and train for marathon.

Don’t get me started on travel or getting a few more degrees.

I could never be happy with just two time turners. I would need two. Or three. Or infinity.

When other busy moms are taking a little “me” time – getting a mani-pedi, munching on a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels while watching Oprah (or possibly full seasons of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones in a single sitting), or taking a little 5150 vacation in a psyche ward, I prefer to be productive. And write. My blog is my creative outlet, my little pick-me-up, and my own “Mommy’s Little Helper” without the hangover in the morning.

But for the past seven months, Very VERY Busy Mom has fallen by the wayside in favor of other pleasant pastimes like occasional exercise, a minimum sleep requirement and establishing a regular dog poop pickup routine before my backyard earns the nickname “Lord of the Flies.”

I decided to take a break for a week, which turned into a month, then turned into over half a year, and I felt like quite the loser whenever friends would come up to me and say, “Hey, Very VERY Busy Mom! I haven’t seen a new blog lately!” Their intention was encouraging and good-natured, but the translation into my insecure brain was “You’re a slacker! Show me your collection of bed sores!”

Instead of writing blog posts, I ended up finishing my third season editing dialogue on the ABC fairy tale drama Once Upon a Time (if you haven’t seen it yet, add it to your Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones marathon). The lack of time spent writing blogs enabled me to get my show done without it getting bounced from the stage – a term synonymous with “you’ll never work in this town again.”

My year-long obsession researching colleges, scholarships, and ACT & SAT prep for my 17-yeat old has culminated with her acceptance to the perfect college for her (Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois – known for its attraction of quirky kids ), but on the flipside, I haven’t practiced driving with Emily often enough to be certain she’s a safe enough driver to earn her license. Not that LA drivers generally are considerate enough to warrant a license, but I want her to be somewhat prepared for the cockfight.

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time behind the wheel of my minivan transporting my 13-year old social butterfly to probably two dozen Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (even though we don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in our veins – Mary is loved by all races, creeds, and religions), and more social events than a Presidential candidate campaigning for a tight seat.

Although I’ve been making it a priority to read Harry Potter to my 7-year old every night (we’re now on #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) my son unfortunately has received the dregs of any free time I had left, so I missed a few of his baseball games and Cub Scout activities. Fortunately my Prince of a Husband picked up the slack as baseball coach and Assistant Den Master and managed to be the token parent there for absolutely every event. My hubby also loves it when I mention him favorably in my blog, so I’m glad he gave me something to write about.

I still love volunteering at the kids’ schools and in the community, but there have been whole weeks when I’ve gone completely AWOL and the other very VERY busy moms, dads and community do-gooders manage to get everything done even without my indispensable help. Proof that no one – even mwah (not sure how to spell this one correctly since it’s not really a word) is irreplaceable.

This is not the post I envisioned after a long hiatus from writing. I would rather have penned “How I Invested My Lotto Winnings,” or “Reflections as a Staff Writer on The Daily Show,” but unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve spent my last seven absent months.

I’ve just been very VERY busy.

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Filed under Career, Family, Humor, Husband, Kids, Multitasking, Parenting, Teenagers, Volunteering

Is My Husband on Steroids?

1002297_10151774053404553_849902831_nThere’s been a lot of talk lately about the use – or rather abuse – of performance enhancing drugs in sports. Twelve Major League Baseball players were recently suspended for 50 games each, Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins were yanked out from under him, and every four years Olympic Gold Medal winners return their gold medals with their tails between their remarkably firm legs. At this very moment, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez is facing a potentially career-ending suspension which would transform his legacy from possibly “the greatest baseball player in history” to “just another guy who doped.”

So why do they risk everything – their income, employment, reputation, and health to ingest or inject illegal foreign substances into their bodies that cause them to have unpredictable behavior, severe acne, and possible shut down of vital organs?

Because it makes them hot!

Their bodies become buff and chiseled, and desired by both men and women, as long as they only face forward so they don’t expose the gross back acne the meds cause. They strut around with their oversize torsos and vein-bulging limbs, and people notice.

But the big payoff is performance. It’s one thing when a small crowd gathers as you pump 400 lbs. above your head at 24 Hour Fitness. It’s a much bigger deal if you are a Major League player with an 8-figure contract, hitting consistent homers out of the ballpark, and destined for seat in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

What a rush!

And apparently these days you can only attain that fame and fortune by secretly joining the performance enhancing team.

Which leads me to my husband Tom.

Although he played a few years of softball on a couple of niche adult teams, my husband hasn’t played baseball since he was a tween. Tom didn’t even play in high school since he was a little stinker back then and formed a huge resentment against the coach, preferring the life of an adolescent loser rather than become a varsity athlete.

But this summer Tom tried out and was drafted into a local Single A Minor League Baseball team called the Dogs. Every Sunday he and the Dogs played against another team of aging athletes who worship America’s greatest pastime, and have big dreams of somehow entering Baseball’s Hall of Fame (in another lifetime).

Tom has bulked up considerably, which means I can actually see where some of his muscles start and stop. And now when I ask him to replace the 5-gallon water bottle, I barely hear him grunt at all. At the ripe old age of 45, Tom has become a born again athlete. Which begs to question:

Is my husband on steroids?

I’m searching for clues. Fortunately I haven’t noticed any back acne, but he’s getting really cranky lately. This might be caused by his new no-gluten diet. If I had to live without pasta and pizza, I might be homicidal too, and even a 30 lb. weight loss wouldn’t be worth the risk of losing my family and spending the rest of my life wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Through the use of either steroids or the depraved diet, Tom has lost 8 lbs. in the past two months. His 5-months pregnant-sized belly is slimming down to a “Is she or isn’t she, it’s rude to ask if you don’t know” baby bump.

I found an article from the Mayo Clinic that revealed some of the side effects of performance enhancing drugs for men, including:

  • Prominent breasts
  • Baldness
  • Shrunken testicles
  • Infertility
  • Impotence

Fortunately the pair of bumps above his belt have not grown, the bumps below the belt haven’t shrunk, and his baldness isn’t progressing at a faster rate than usual, which is basically a state of don’t ask – don’t tell delusion. In other words: “Yes, my forehead is growing but I’m pretending that it’s not and please don’t bring it up or I might cry out loud.” As for the last two, although my husband hasn’t knocked me up for over 7 years, it’s not for lack of trying and probably more due to my IUD and state of menopause.

Is Tom’s performance enhanced, or is he just getting better with practice?

On the way home from work once or twice a week, Tom slugs it up at a batting cage, and he’s draped our backyard driveway with netting and turned it into his own personal batting cage. He claims he made it for our 6-year old son Jake, but I know Tom gets a thrill out of hurling and hitting wiffle balls and cheering for himself.

According to the non-backyard batting cage speedometer, Tom is hitting pitches that are 70 mph and many that are zooming at his bat at 80 mph. He hits some of those. The ones he misses he just claims were outside or too high.

During games, Tom consistently bats 190 and averages just one to two errors each game. He’s had a couple of injuries, but champs it out and limps back the next week for another loss.

The Dogs recently finished up their season in the last place.

The verdict?

If Tom is doping, it’s not performance enhancing.

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Filed under Baseball, Humor, Husband

Happy Father’s Day to the Guy Who Knocked Me Up!

happy-fathers-day-knocked-up-mom-fathers_day-ecards-someecards Life was pretty simple for Tom in the fall of 2004. He owned a tiny, unkempt home in Van Nuys and his three dogs happily roamed the huge yard filled with knee-high weeds. His roommate Travis was a barrel of laughs and they’d have cigar-infused poker games beginning at 10:30 pm on Friday nights and lasting until the wee hours of Saturday. Tom spent his free time watching ballgames and blaring Black Sabbath as he tooled around in his little sports-like car.

IMG_1953“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends would say. “It’s a shame he can’t find a nice girl.”

It never occurred to me that I might be that nice girl.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.03.29 PM

Emily & Mary 2003

In 1995, I became friends with Tom and his soon-to-be wife, who became his soon-to-be ex.  My ex-husband and I split up in May of 2004 when my daughters were 3 and 7 years old, and six months later, I was frustrated that I couldn’t get the internet to work. I knew Tom was great with computers, so I asked if he could set up my  Mac and offered to make him dinner in exchange.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.05.33 PM

Tom & Baby Jake

Apparently he could run rings around a PC, but he’d never touched a Mac. Tom’s roommate gave him a crash course before he came over so he could fake it.

Tom never did get me online, but a year later we were married, and three months after our wedding day I was pregnant. I was already 43 and in perimenopause. He was 38 and apparently had some tenacious swimmers.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.06.48 PM

Tom and 4-year old Mary

Suddenly Tom had a new home in a different part of the valley – one where the lawn was expected to be short and the mess shouldn’t be chokeable to young children. He became an instant step dad to my two little girls, and his life was no longer his own.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.09.53 PM

Tom & 8-year old Emily

There were constant play dates, slumber parties, and endless backyard karaoke performances with pop songs and show tunes that would make his ears bleed. Tom knew nothing about decorating Barbie’s Dream House, putting on Fashion Polly gowns, or watching predictable Disney Channel sitcoms with overbearing laugh tracks. But he learned.

Today Tom is blaring the brand new Black Sabbath album, but now it’s from his family-friendly mini SUV. The late night cigar-infused poker games are few and far between, but he attended one last night and won a whopping 70 bucks. Tom still has 3 dogs (2 of them replaced the other 2 that died), but he now has 3 kids added to the mix.

Tom Jake Raingutter Regata

Tom & Jake at the Cub Scout’s Raingutter Regatta

Tom became the treasurer of our local elementary school even before his own son was a student, and the assistant den leader for Jake’s Cub Scout Pack. It’s a fairly odd turn for a man whose favorite song lyrics come from a guy known for biting the head off a bat.  He also became the head coach for Jake’s Toluca Baseball team. Tom Jake Toluca GrettelTom even built a batting cage in our backyard driveway, complete with enclosed netting, and he pitches wiffle balls to Jake after work.

His life has become much busier than I’m sure he ever dreamed it could be. Tom started his own blog Middle Age Metal HeadParenting With a Heavy Metal Twist. Although I doubt that he’s fond of Talking Heads (probably too conventional), the common theme running through his blog seems to be like the band’s Once in a Lifetime lyric: How did I get here?

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.18.35 PMTom doesn’t spend all weekend watching ballgames anymore. Instead, he mows the lawn and takes out the trash. He washes the dogs, shaves the Australian shepherd’s hairy, poopy butt, and fixes anything that breaks, including the 83-year old brass doorknobs that fall off weekly.

Tom Mary pool

Tom & Mary in our above-ground pool

He sets up our above ground pool in May, takes it down in October and plays water volleyball with Mary and Jake most summer evenings. He’s teaching Emily how to drive and play guitar. He makes us delicious, healthy meals and guides us in 20-minute workout sessions. During family dinners, he has us each go around the dinner table and say the three things we did well, the one thing we wish we could do better, and what we could do to get better at that thing.Tom Jake cowboys

Tom has a twisted sense of humor, and never ceases to make us all laugh. We never get sick of him saying, “We’re off like a prom dress,” or his friend Joe’s line, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff; pet the sweaty stuff.” Tom doesn’t hold a grudge, always tries to get us to look on the bright side, and has a never-ending faith that no matter what happens, together we can walk through anything.

Tom Jake“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends still say.

How lucky I am to have become his nice girl.

Note: Thank you to someecards for their inspiration for the title of this blog post. For Father’s Day, I sent Tom their “Happy You-Knocked-Up-Mom Day” e-card. He thanked me by saying he’s happy to oblige any time.

Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

Today: Emily, Cathy, Tom Mary & Jake. Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Parenting, Volunteering

Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t Give Me Cooties!

no romantic dinner Restaurants, florists and jewelry shops would like to convince you that Valentine’s Day is for lovers. And that passion will grow if you just fork out a fortune at a crowded restaurant, buy a dozen long stemmed roses on the most expensive day of the year, or purchase an overpriced diamond that has a used street value that’s less than a non-Smart cell phone.

Valentine’s Day does serve that minute population of those who are newly in love – those optimistic souls who met on Match.com within the past two or three months and whose relationship is still at the stage where they lock the bathroom door when they use the toilet. For the other 99.9% who are in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is kind of a hassle – especially when it falls on a weeknight as it does this year. The rest of us are too exhausted to go out and celebrate, and if we do, we’re too sleepy and bloated to consummate the evening after a big fancy meal.

This year my husband Tom and I will do what we do every year: buy each other a funny card. He’ll make his famous jambalaya, which is tastier than any restaurant, and for a fraction of the cost. We’ll celebrate the most romantic night of the year by dining with our three children. Jake will complain that he doesn’t like it, so he’ll get a bowl of white rice. Emily the vegetarian will have a separate meatless bowl, and Mary will try to nab the last piece of garlic bread. Our meal will be served in the kitchen. There will be no candles. No romantic music. And I will do the dishes.

We have a special event this year on Valentine’s Day evening. Jake is having a Cub Scout Pack meeting. Tom and I will celebrate by giving each other a little smooch during the event, then wait for the cubs to mutter “Eeewwww! Gross!”

The demographic that really caters to Valentine’s Day are children 12 and under. They celebrate by buying Valentine’s Day cards for every member of their classroom. They’re not allowed to just bring something for the boy or girl they have a crush on. They must also deliver a card to the boy that creeps them out or the girl who’s a big tattletale. Even the kids who give other kids cooties receive cards asking “Will You Be My Valentine?” Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when you can tell that girl who doesn’t bathe often that she’s as sweet as Snow White, and she won’t think you’re hot for her. And although boys bring cards for boys and girls bring cards for girls, that doesn’t make them gay. Although it’s ok with me if they are.

kids cards

Kids’ Valentine’s Day cards come in a huge assortment, advertising hit Pixar or Dreamworks movies and Disney or Nickelodeon tv shows, and they usually have some accompanying prize attached. This year they include Brave cards with pencils, Phineas & Ferb cards with tattoos, Star Wars cards with glow sticks, and Transformers cards with erasers. I didn’t see Family Guy valentines, which is a good thing since Jake would have chosen them and all the elementary school parents would know that I’m a bad mom for letting him watch a show that would be rated R if it was live action.

Somehow I just don’t see the romance in Transformers. What kind of wish do they give the recipient? “Have a Apocalyptic Valentine’s Day?” “Be My Disastrous Demolition Valentine?”

tween cards

For the tween set, there’s Justin Bieber with tattoos that say “I heart JB,” Twilight Breaking Dawn with stickers, and Mustache cards with tattoos (where did this big craze about mustaches come from? Charlie Chaplin? Burt Reynolds? Hitler? Fodder for another blog).

mustaches

Jake picked out the cards from the movie Madagascar 3. It features Valentine’s Day wishes combined with circus advertisements for the cast. “May Your Valentine’s Day be Just Darling” also hawks “Gloria – the World’s Most Graceful Hippo.” I doubt Jake gave any thought as to whom he should give this card. However, if I was an overweight girl, I would be terribly offended.Madagascar 3

Crafty moms make hand-cut cards and fancy treat baggies, downloading ideas from Pinterest, Etsy, and Martha Stewart. I’m not one of those moms. Even if I had time on my hands I wouldn’t be one of those moms. I’m not creative or crafty, so whenever my kids have to build a class project like a Leprechaun Trap or a Spanish mission, I pimp out my oldest daughter Emily who lives her life outside of the box.

Most of the kids tape some sort of treat to the bag, usually SweeTarts or chocolate kisses – the official candies of Valentine’s Day. I might steal the kisses from my kids, but the SweeTarts get tossed into the candy bin that holds all the Easter, Halloween, birthday piñata candy, and a lone half-sucked on Christmas candy cane.

Jake’s teacher this year is forbidding treats of any kind, which will most likely cause a riot on the playground at recess with those kids nabbing candy from the students with more lenient teachers. Jake’s Valentine’s Day card package included temporary tattoos of all the Madagascar 3 characters. I’m hoping that Jake’s teacher doesn’t classify non-edible items as treats and allows them as gifts. On the other hand, even though tattoos and stickers may be classified as non-edible items, there is a good chance that some of the kids will still try to eat them – especially if it is something of the scratch & sniff variety.

By coincidence, on Valentine’s Day this year, Dr. To (pronounced “toe”), our local pediatric dentist, is coming to all the kindergarten classes to show kids the proper way to brush (follow the link in her name. She’s Jake’s dentist and we love her!). Then on Friday she’s doing the same for the 1st grade classes. This is perfect timing, since other than the day after Halloween, the day after Valentine’s Day will be the day most likely for rampant sugar to rot baby teeth.

Although Jake’s friends possibly spend hours addressing Valentine’s Day cards (or their parents whole minutes), I’m never sure what to with all those grams after the holiday. Jake and I read them together, and before the weekend they’ll magically disappear into our recycling bin.

Isn’t that romantic?

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Kids, Public Schools, Teenagers

How Do You Feed 50,000 Visitors?

188868068It’s time to stock up on lemonade and homemade muffins because as of around noon yesterday, I have had 50,000 visitors.

It’s a good thing I have a lemon tree.

To a website like The Huffington Post or The Onion, 50,000 is small potatoes, but for my little mommy-turned-humor blog this is a miraculous feat. I am fortunate to know a boatload of people, but I doubt I’m acquainted more than a couple thousand.

I didn't quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

I didn’t quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

But 50,000? Who are these people?

How did they find Very VERY Busy Mom?

What lures them to my site? It’s probably not my new posts, since I’ve I only written three new ones this month – a record low. Yet somehow my viewership keeps going up.

If you stretched all my readers end to end on their backs, with stinky feet touching greasy heads (or pedicured toes grazing coifed up-dos, depending on my demographic) that line would reach an astounding 52 miles!

I doubt my readers would be particularly gung ho to venture out on that experiment. Still, it sounds like a bunch!

Granted, this 50,000 total doesn’t include individual people but rather daily visits. So if my husband, my mom and I were the only ones logging on, it would collectively take us nearly 47 years to reach that number.

By then I’ll most likely be either dead, too senile to write a blog, or too dim to log on at all. However by 2060, there probably won’t be blogs but rather mini-mind readings.

Hopefully you’ll just think of me and laugh. The way you do now anyway.

But if you’re not my husband, my mom, or someone who has a vested interest in my happiness (which leaves just my husband and my mom) why do you log on to Very VERY Busy Mom?

Some readers come when I announce a new post on Facebook. Half of me wants to hug and kiss these people for taking a moment out of their day to read what I have to say. The other half of me pities them, hoping that they’ll get a life that includes something more productive than trolling on Facebook.

Other readers are friends and acquaintances who receive an email from me announcing that I have a new post. I often assume that these people have given me my very own folder in their inbox. This folder is called “Spam.”

Another 318 people have signed up for automatic emails whenever I post a new blog. I wish I could buy a gift for everyone who’s done this, but they are all a mystery to me. For all I know, it could be one stalker with 318 different email addresses: iheartveryverybusymom@gmail.com; veryverybusymomismysexslave@yahoo.com; veryverybusymomstalker@nystateprison.com; etc.

Sometimes Google sends viewers my way. The most popular search terms involve Once Upon a Time. As the show’s dialogue editor, I spend 50 or more hours cutting each episode – more hours than I spend doing anything else including sleep – so I occasionally tend to write blogs about the show. Some of my favorite search terms are “once upon a time lesbian” (110 queries), “once upon a time lesbian kiss,” and “regina mills sexy.” I hope these webs surfers are not too disappointed when they land on my blog rather than something extra juicy.

Here are some other search terms my readers like to use:

“shingles face”

“school toilet”

“colon cleanse”

“sleepover party”

“too much poop”

“work at home mum makes $10,397/month part-time”

“is 50 shades of grey nasty”

“my husband loves me too much”

“sexy rubber gloves”

“trough sink at Costco”

“busy mom porn”

I have no idea who’s googling “busy mom porn,” and how they ended up on my website, but it kind of creeps me out.

Although there’s a “mom” in the title of “Very VERY Busy Mom,” there’s not one search term for “coupons,” “recipes,” “crafts,” or “cleaning.” Probably because I’ve never written about them. Well… maybe cleaning, or rather the lack thereof. Hence the “too much poop” search term.

If you’re reading my blog this very minute and it’s Wednesday, January 30, 2013, you are approximately my 50,235th viewer.

If it’s the year 2020, you’re either #6,547,289,136 or you’ve reached something called “Page Not Found.”

Will I put up a McDonald’s sign? “6,547,289,136 Viewers Served!”

What will I feed them all?

Apparently a few more Once Upon a Time predictions and something I can prepare with sexy rubber gloves.

I appreciate you stopping by Very VERY Busy Mom today. Have a muffin and some lemonade on your way out. I’m off to plant a second lemon tree.

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Filed under Career, Family, Friends, Humor, Husband, Kids, Parenting

Baby, It’s Freakin’ Cold Outside!

39 degreesI was born to be born in sunny Southern California, but man oh man, it has been really cold lately. Not just cold for me and my abnormally warm blood, but so cold it’s the main topic of conversation, or at least a close second to Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes speech. The weather anchors call it a cold snap, which seems to be the phrase they’re all using instead of cold spell. Cold snap certainly sounds more frozen, as if all of Los Angeles was a block of dry ice that could snap. If it could spell, the letters would be “F-R-E-A-K-I-N’ C-O-L-D!!!”

I’m writing this blog just before midnight, and according to NBC Weather it’s currently 39° and expected to drop to a low of 33°. I admit that I’m a cold weather wimp, but for even you East Coast and Midwest transplants, you’ve got to agree that unless you’re a Navy Seal or one of those hearty Little House on the Prairie women who couldn’t be broken by 24’s Jack Bauer, this transformed tundra has become truly uninhabitable.

It doesn’t help that our house has virtually no insulation. It was built in 1930 with lath and plaster construction, which means that there’s none of that fancy, fluffy padding protecting my delicate body from the harsh elements. Fortunately we installed new energy efficient windows a few years ago, but the heating unit is a joke. Apparently some penny-wise pound-foolish previous owner decided to install a central air and heating system that was meant for a home that was 70% smaller. They justified it by not installing vents in the kitchen or the bathrooms. Needless to say, in the summer butter liquefies in seconds in our blazing kitchen, and in the winter the bathroom is so cold you might consider wearing a Depends rather than venture onto that cold throne in the middle of the night.

My husband Tom has been up coughing the last two evenings, and because he’s a true prince, he has been considerate enough to toss and turn and cough and hack up a lung on the living room sofa rather than in bed with me. He probably knows that in two day’s time, I’d just end up writing a nasty blog about how he Typhoid Maryed me with his pneumonia and all our mutual friends will give him crap about it. It’s better to be known as a prince than the contagion carrier. He just grabs a few blankets and cowboys up. Plus, he prefers the temperature a little nippy. Frankly, I think he’s got a little Navy Seal blood in him. Or perhaps some of that hearty Little House on the Prairie just-suck-it-up-or-I’ll-really give-you-something-to cry-about blood.

The thermostat is in the living room, which is the farthest point from the furnace and therefore the coldest room in the house in the winter – that is, the coldest room that is lucky enough to have a vent. But the living room is a good 10-20° colder than the bedrooms. If Tom turns up the heat in the living room, the bedrooms are sweltering – especially for Mary who sleeps on the top bunk in direct line with the vent.

I’ve mostly closed off the vents in the bedrooms while Tom’s having his little bout of germ spewing. A swivel tower air conditioner is strung horizontally up on the wall above Mary’s bed so she can cool herself if it gets too hot. My little Mary is like a delicate flower that is wilting at night. This is a nice way of saying she’s a wimpy girl without the Navy Seal or hearty Little House on the Prairie blood.

So now we have our slipshod heater trying to force itself through mostly-closed vents in the bedrooms as it chugs its way to the living room trying to warm my ailing husband. We’re paying a hefty price for gas, electricity, and power for Mary’s makeshift air conditioning unit. And still, it’s probably 65° in the living room and 95° in Mary’s room.

My 2007 Honda Odyssey has a nifty feature – a thermostat that reads the outside temperature. I’m not brave enough to go out this second to see if it’s really 39° right now. But I wish I could use the feature to accurately measure the temperature indoors. I’d like to squeeze my minivan in through the front door to see if there really is a 10, 20 or even 30° difference between Tom’s sofa and Mary’s top bunk.

Despite the frigid temperature outside and the vast array of climates inside, this cold snap has left me with a tremendous sense of gratitude – gratitude that our family is not homeless, gratitude that I will most likely be able to pay both the electric and gas bill this month, and gratitude that we have cozy blankets and heaters to keep us warm. But at this moment I’m mostly grateful that my prince of a husband is coughing on the couch instead of into my immune system.

Baby, it’s a cold. Outside! ( I don’t want to catch it!).

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Filed under Anxiety, Family, Financial Insecurity, Humor, Husband, Illness, Kids, Recuperating

My New Year’s Resolution this Year: No More Resolutions!

No New Year's ResolutionsThere is one topic of conversation today that dominates all others: New Year’s resolutions.

Correction. For this year only, everyone’s talking about surviving the Fiscal Cliff. However, a close second is the aforementioned New Year’s resolutions.

This year I’m boycotting.

Every year on January 1st I vow to eat healthier and to exercise more. It’s one of those blood oath vows that I am 100% certain will stick. My goal is to lose 20 lbs., which is stupidly unrealistic because in order to maintain 110 lbs., I would have to live on a diet of diluted vegetable broth and run a half marathon on a daily basis. Frankly, I could care less how much I weigh as long as I lose this jiggly abdomen I’ve acquired this year and have arms strong enough to paint a ceiling without taking a break every five minutes.

I’m not going to call it a resolution. But I’m definitely doing more planks and eating less popcorn.

I also think I’m going to get more organized. It actually is a necessity because the clutter is clogging up the good stuff I can’t find. I keep meaning to make the transition from paper Day Planner to Google Calendar so the rest of the family can see what I’ve planned for them without having to decipher my chicken scratch.

Every year I hope that the coming year will be the one that gets us out of debt. This year I’m more realistic. Short of winning lotto, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I just plan to keep what I’m doing – paying my bills on time, juggling balance transfer deals, and only buying what I absolutely need. There are a lot of folks who are too poor to even accomplish that goal, so I absolutely feel like one of the fortunate ones. Of course I still wouldn’t turn down that lotto win.

Maybe I’ll eat healthier, exercise more, get organized, and pay off some debt in 2013, but I’m not going to make a deal with the devil to do it. If I fail, I’m not going to kick myself, single-handedly devour an entire Boston cream pie, toss out my Thighmaster, haphazardly throw the contents of my entire garage into a rent-a-dumpster or run through the mall like a banshee throwing my Visa card at everything in sight.

It’s the resolution relapse that bites you in the butt every time.

When exploring a list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, I realize that there’s a bunch that I already do. I’ve never smoked, I already quit drinking, I tell my kids and husband everyday that I love them, I volunteer, I recycle, and I already went back to school. I’d like to learn more Spanish than “¿dónde está el baño?and “con queso por favor,” but if I don’t master the language this year, I can at least practice rolling my “R’s.”

Many people put travel among their list of New Year’s resolutions. I don’t, because it would cancel out the previous paying-off-debt goal.

Some aim for a better job. I actually like my job, and my boss pays me well, but I could use some extra hours in the off-season. I can aim for that, but I’m not going to call it a resolution. It’s more like making some phone calls to see if there’s any freelance work to be had.

Wait. I already do that.

Another typical resolution is to learn something new.  If I had the time, I’d do that more often, but I figure that I’ll have plenty of time for that in the old folks’ home.

A resolution that’s popping up more these days is vowing to manage stress. I could use a little more of that one, but since my bad bout of shingles last year, I’ve really been trying to get enough sleep and not get freaked out by the things I can’t control. So I guess I’ve been sticking to that last year’s resolution. Done.

Here’s what I really want to do in 2013:

I want to write more Facebook comments.

I want to accept that other parents won’t become more courteous drivers just because I roll my eyes at them when they double park at school pick up.

I want to watch more Jon Stewart.

I want to quit obsessing over gas prices.

I want to take a bath one day.

I want to find a better hiding place to store my son’s coloring pages than the recycling bin.

I want to dye my hair before my roots are an inch long.

I want to beat my kids in a game of Apples to Apples.

I don’t want any of my blogs to be stinkers.

Sometimes I just want to do nothing.

I’m hoping to do all these things in 2013. I’m just not going to call them resolutions.

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