This Thanksgiving I am Grateful for My Friends, Family, and Not Having to Wear Heels to Work

photo-40We spent Thanksgiving dinner tonight with my inlaws, and for something completely different, I decided to dress up. For me, dressing up means putting on a pair of earrings, but tonight I thought I’d be a little crazy and actually slip on a pair of heels.

Yes. Crazy. And so is any woman who wears these elevated toe-torture devices on purpose.

For the past decade, I’ve rarely worn heels. If you glance below my knees you’ll find flip flops, sneakers, barefoot sports shoes, or better yet – just plain bare feet.

Not the kind of shoe you should wear to a funeral

Not the kind of shoe you should wear to a funeral

I’ll reluctantly trudge through a wedding in a pair of pumps, and I used to wear them to funerals until I realized my heels were doubling as lawn aerators. Since then, I switched to flats.

Don’t ask me why all of a sudden tonight I walked (or rather teetered) out my front door wearing a pair of painful pumps. I do stupid things all the time, and even stupider, I’ll eventually do it again sometime, even before the pain subsides.

Walk downhill on San Francisco's Lombard Street. This is what it feels like to wear heels.

Walk downhill on San Francisco’s Lombard Street. This is what it feels like to wear heels.

The blisters were beginning to form on my left foot before I even put on the right heel. My toes were squeezed together creating an unnatural point that should only be reserved for elves. Forcing my feet into a permanent 45 degree downward angle made me feel like I was struggling to maneuver downhill on Lombard Street, and I’m sure my face was wincing at every step like I was in the throws of childbirth. Still, I soldiered on.

The heels came off in the car, were forced on again for the walk from the car to my inlaw’s Thanksgiving food line, then were stealthy kicked under the table for the duration of dinner.

I put them on again to stagger to the bathroom, where I inspected the welts across my toe knuckles.

Just the price of being a woman, I tried to tell myself.

Like those giraffe women in Africa who keep adding rings to their necks to make their necks longer.

Long necks for the sake of beauty

Long necks for the sake of beauty

Like the Chinese women who have their feet broken and bound so they’re forced into shoes made for Polly Pockets.

Small feet for the sake of beauty

Small feet for the sake of beauty

Or the tribal women who stretch their earlobes.

Big earlobes for the sake of beauty

Big earlobes for the sake of beauty

Like painful heels, that earlobe craze unfortunately is catching on.

Big earlobes for the sake of... God knows why

Big earlobes for the sake of… God knows why

After the Thanksgiving festivities, I contemplated walking barefoot back to the car, but it was dark, and I wasn’t sure if stepping on potential twigs, rocks or glass would be more painful than just wearing the heels for 100 feet.

I think walking barefoot on hot coals would have been a more pleasant journey.

By the time I returned home, I probably should have either chucked the heels directly into the garbage can or donated them back to the charity I bought them from. After all, the insole still had the $4.95 price tag from when I purchased the shoes from American Way two years ago. But the heels look nice and kind of classy, so in my silly, optimistic mind I visualized myself with feet a half size smaller and thinner, slipped into these lovely pumps, giving the optical illusion that my legs are sexy, slender but muscular, tan, and free from hair and varicose veins. I prance around on these fantasy stilettos like a statuesque supermodel, rather than wobble on them like the uncoordinated klutz I am.

Then I woke up and grabbed the Bandaids for my popped blisters.

I figured since Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for giving thanks, I might extend that gratitude publicly by saying I am very VERY thankful I do not have to wear heels to work. Sure I could be some high-powered lawyer, a CFO for a Fortune 500 company, or a Tea Party staffer, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to put on heels every day.

You also couldn’t pay me enough money to be a Tea Party staffer even if I didn’t have to wear heels every day.

It has been ten weeks since I’ve had time to write a new blog, and I have the good fortune of steady work to blame as the reason for my lack of posts. But one of the best things about my job is that I do it from home.

I am a sound editor, and not only do I not have to wear heels, I don’t have to wear anything at all, except for a pair of headphones. On hot summer days I’ve even contemplated such attire, but I’m always afraid that might be the day the Gas Man comes to check the meter, takes a peek through my bedroom window and spots me with just my birthday suit and headphones and then tells all the other Gas Men around the water cooler about me, and then they might all try to get his route.

Not to take a peek at the naked gal with the headphones. To ask me where they can get a gig like mine.

Granted, Gas Men have the kind of job where they’re lucky enough not to wear heels, but to get away with not even having to wear clothes – now that’s a great gig!



Filed under Holidays, Humor

Will Friday the 13th Curse My “Happy” Birthday?


Dedicated to all the triskaidekaphobics out there.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

I’m not by nature a superstitious person. I don’t mind if black cats follow me home, I doubt my mom will end up in a full body cast if I stomp on a sidewalk crack, and although I don’t deliberately walk under ladders, if found a good reason for it – say I could pick up a penny by doing so, I might cross my fingers, stoop under the steps and nab it.

cupcake2Today is Friday the 13th of September, and it also happens to be my birthday.  These two events combined beg to question:

Is it possible to have a Happy Birthday?


Dear Jason,
Why did you ruin my birthday?
(Not) love… Cathy

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think much of this dreaded day until Hollywood began making those Friday the 13th slasher films. Starting in 1980, Friday the 13th suddenly became synonymous with the name “Jason,” hockey masks, and horny camp counselors. Not surprisingly, this franchise lasted just one film short of 13. Perhaps they’re not planning to make another, since it might be unlucky.

Cool, huh? Why didn't I learn this in school?

Cool, huh? Why didn’t I learn this in school?

If I’m even slightly nervous about my birthday falling on Friday the 13th, I could consider the 1 in 31 other people who also have a birthday on the 13th (or the 1 in 30 in September, April, June and November, or the 1 in 28 or 1 in 29… you get where I’m headed here) who most of the time live through their cursed day as well. Except, of course, the ones who do actually die.

They’re the ones that make me nervous.

This is the 8th time my birthday has fallen on Friday the 13th, and remarkably I have survived all the other attempts for bad luck to foil my celebrated day.



Tammie and me. I’m trying not to strangle her before her first birthday.

My very first birthday fell on Friday the 13th, and I should have realized then (if I was coherent enough as a toddler) that my childhood birthdays were doomed. My sister Tammie was born exactly one month before – on August the 13th – so even though I was the oldest child, I would never be able to celebrate a birthday with my parents all to myself. But Tammie got the double whammy load of bad luck since her 13th birthday fell on Friday the 13th. I’m not really sure what the bad luck was since she got the guys in high school and I didn’t, but I hope the jealous voodoo spell I cast on her brought something bad.

Tammie… if you’re reading this, I’m kidding. If you’re not reading it, then I still resent you for being thinner and getting a better tan in high school than I did.

images-7Sorry. I’m not sure what would calm that unfortunate outburst more – a good psychiatrist or a steaming caldron with a lock of Tammie’s hair.

If I’m worried about doomsday destroying my birthday this year, I suppose I could oppose the Friday the 13th curse with my own counter-spells by grasping a 4-leaf clover and a rabbit’s foot in each hand all day; however without the full use of my grip, I’m more likely to be responsible for my own bad luck by dropping my iphone, sunglasses, and car keys more often than I do already.Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 11.16.28 AM


Not actually me. But it feels like it’s actually me.

Some people fend off the Friday the 13th curse by avoiding air travel, delaying important decisions, or safest of all – staying in bed all day. Since today is also my birthday, and the present I would like most is a nap, this old superstition may be a great excuse for me to get my birthday wish without my family thinking I’m a slacker.Publication1

I don’t plan on spending my birthday hanging up horseshoes, knocking on wood, or throwing salt over my shoulder, because that would be just plain stupid.

But I think I might wait until Saturday the 14th to buy a lotto ticket.images-10


Filed under Anxiety, Holidays, Humor

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.


Filed under Baseball, Humor, Husband

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Royal Baby

Disclaimer: Not the real Royal Baby.

Disclaimer: Not the real Royal Baby.

Handmaidens have guided Kate Middleton through nine long months of holding her hair as she vomited morning sickness into the royal throne and dabbing at the sweat build up (correction: perspiration) that collected under the Duchess of Cambridge’s enlarged bosoms these past summer months. Prince William (AKA the Duke of Cambridge) spent a number of hours calmly barking “Push, my Lady! Push!” as doctors and nurses donning taffeta and top hats tended to the Duchess’ labor. And finally, on the 22nd of July in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-Yet, the future heir of the kingdom of Great Britain, slid out the birth canal like every other vaginal birth baby in the history of the world, and was born.

Yet unlike every other vaginal birth baby in the history of the world, the rest of this baby’s life will be quite different.

Even though Willie and Katie will most likely only be ministering to the Royal Baby during photo ops, dozens of their loyal staff have participated in months of classes on caring for the infant upon its arrival to its home in the nursery of Kensington Palace. Hopefully the Duchess and Duke also sat in on the seminars, just in case their employees depart unexpectedly to write a tell-all book or become special guests on Oprah.

Here is a sample of their schooling from the symposium entitled:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting the Royal Baby

Diapering the Royal Baby: Even before he exited the hospital’s neonatal unit, millions of the future king’s subjects were already kissing his royal butt, so obviously much training was put into taking care of his bottom. Absorbent cotton grown exclusively from the United Kingdom’s dominion of South Africa will be crafted with a covering made from 2,000 thread count Egyptian linen. An olfactory expert has been enlisted who will smell the scent of the of the baby’s bowel movement the moment it exits his royal rectum. Without hesitation, this employee (whom the staff has affectionately nicknamed “Sir Brown Noser”) will whisk the baby away and remove the troubling turd. Sir Brown Noser will be accompanied by another aide, the Humidity Homer, who will insert his finger into the diaper every 60 seconds to see if the little tot has wet himself. This Dynamic Duo will be joined by a larger team who will gently cleanse the baby’s bottom with only the purest, most natural soaps, then massage fragrant lavender lotion onto his chubby cheeks. Maybe the ones on his face as well.

Breastfeeding the Royal Baby: Apparently there is a lactation consultant who is recognized world-wide in only the most elite circles as being enormously skilled in the art of forcing a newborn to latch on to a nipple, no matter how prim and proper that nipple may be. Yet this expert is so discreet, no one knows her name or what she looks like (or even if she is a she). Known only under the pseudonym The Queen of Suck, she has advised everyone from Angelina Jolie to Octomom on the best way to breastfeed a baby. The confidentiality agreement is so airtight that she (or he) is not allowed to discuss the details of angling Mother Kate’s breast into feeding position lest the Milk Maiden be put to death by drowning in a vat of formula.

Getting the Royal Baby to Sleep: Genuine eunuchs will be flown in from China to wave palm fronds over the Royal Baby during naptime and a trio of Benedictine Monks will sing three-part harmonies of Gregorian chants. The royal bassinet has been fitted with a 10-inch memory foam mattress and a 21st century “Magic Fingers” device which contains 12 different speed settings which the baby may choose himself based on his squirming direction.

Playing with the Royal Baby: Three of the most popular American My Gym teachers have been flown across the pond to teach the Royal Baby to play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. They have been instructing Kate and William for the past two months on games and songs, and basically getting them to behave like the children they were never allowed to be. We are told that the Proud Papa’s favorite children’s song is The Hokey Pokey; however, his manservant is still not used to ignoring his Highness’ instructions: “You put your right line in, you put your right leg out…” and has been known to trip mid-step while carrying in the morning tea.

A pacifier for the Royal Baby?: Even if it is blinged out with the Hope Diamond itself, under no circumstances should the Royal Baby be allowed to establish the crude habit of sucking on a pacifier. Although the pacifier is lifesaver for common folk, its use is known to cause an overbite. On the other hand, the Brits are famous for their bad teeth, so binky-sucking might be allowable in private, as long as its dependence doesn’t continue after the future king has been shoved off to boarding school.

Although with time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their underlings may become more adept at caring for their little bundle of regal joy, they will soon be thrust into the next stage of infant care: Baby-proofing the Royal Castle. The first item on the list: installing a child-proof lock for the lid of the Royal Throne.


Filed under Humor, Parody, Satire

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!


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

10 Tasks You Can Complete While Sitting on the Toilet

multitasking on the toilet I call it multitasking; my husband calls it insanity.

I like to get things done.

Let me revise that.

I like to get a lot of things done simultaneously.

I think it’s a noble quality to be productive. The last thing I would ever want on my tombstone is a picture of myself as the spokesperson for the 7 Deadliest Sins and being remembered for what I believe maybe the deadliest sin of all: sloth.

For anyone who knows me, there’s little chance of that happening, particularly since I’ll never slow down enough to actually die.

However, my so-called virtue was criticized by my husband recently when he called me from work. I picked up on the fourth ring, a little out of breath.

“I’m so glad you called,” I said, relieved. “I really had to pee!”

Tom didn’t get the correlation. What did a phone conversation with my husband have in common with my overflowing bladder?

I informed him that I was trying to get a scene cut, and I really felt the need to go to the bathroom, but because I was short on time I wanted to keep cutting until I was absolutely forced to take a break. I had actually contemplated putting on a Depends, but that would have required taking the break that I didn’t have time for.

Hence the insanity observation.

However, for all those busy BUSY gotta-get-it-done-now Virgos out there who can relate to my multitasking skill, I’ve decided to compile a list of:

10 Tasks You Can Complete While Sitting on the Toilet

Pine-Sol1. Clean the bathroom floor. With a soapy sponge pre-soaked in Pine-Sol, you can scrub a wide semi-circle of your bathroom floor as far as your arm will reach while still sitting on the pot. The rest of the floor will have to wait unless you have a very small bathroom or a really long arm.

Junk Mail2. Sort through junk mail. This is a productive double purge – clear out your waste while you clear out the mail. All those ads, charity solicitations, and balance transfer offers can get chucked to the recycling bin. (Well, maybe keep those balance transfers. I’m on hiatus now so it’s time for the money juggling act). Also, if you run out of toilet paper and are desperate you can use those mailers to wipe your fragile behind. Just make sure you don’t use the ones sprayed with perfume unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Taking off makeup3. Put on or take off makeup. For the former you’ll need a mirror. For the latter, you don’t really need to watch yourself during the sad process of transforming yourself back into your makeover “before” picture.

Dogs in bathroom4. Pet your animals. All three of my dogs know how to twist the doorknob and knock down the bathroom door to crowd around me during my several constitutionals throughout the day. I can scratch Spike’s ears with one hand, stroke Jasmine’s throat with the other, and rub our new little Yorkie Bella’s belly with my right foot. We’re temporarily taking care of our friend Travis’ Old English Sheepdog Kobe who weighs more than I do, but fortunately I have a fourth limb (my left foot) to pet her fluffy fur. Everyone should have such great quality time with their mutts.

Nails5. File your nails and trim your toenails. However, it’s not a good idea to paint your fingernails unless you want to wait long enough for the paint to dry so you can wipe your rear. This waste of time would defeat the whole purpose of multitasking on the potty.

empty toilet paper roll6. Change the toilet paper roll. How hard is it (I’m primarily talking to men here) to change the toilet paper roll when you use the last square of paper? C’mon! It’s a common courtesy!

I obviously didn't take a photo of my Kegel exercises, so this is a replica.

I obviously didn’t take a photo of my Kegel exercises, so this is a replica.

7. Kegel tightening. Here’s the exercise: Pee. Stop. Pee. Stop. Great exercise if you’re pregnant and leaking a bit, and it also makes the process of making that baby a lot more fun.

iPhone8. Returning phone calls. Every one of my friends knows that at some point in our conversation they’re going to hear a toilet flush.

shopping list9. Make the shopping list. This is the time I usually remember Kleenex, shampoo and air freshener. If there was a toilet in the kitchen, I wouldn’t keep forgetting to buy coffee.

Coupons10. Clip coupons. So sad that I spend two or three minutes clipping the coupons for things I plan to buy, then run out of time to actually buy them before the coupon expires. Perhaps I should come up with another #10.

I hope these tips help you to be more productive and give you about 10 more minutes to cram something else into your day.


Filed under Humor, Multitasking, Top 10 List

I Won Powerball! Now How Do I Spend My 3 Bucks?

Powerball ticketI buy a lottery ticket on average about once a week. Usually I’m picking up milk or coffee creamer or ice cream at the liquor store across the street and I’ll throw in a buck for Super Lotto. I guess if I found a milkman who delivered for a reasonable price I’d never buy a lottery ticket. On the other hand, I’d miss out on seeing all the interesting characters at my local liquor store.

Liquor Store SignOnce I won $11 dollars playing lotto, which due to the law of averages virtually guarantees that I’ll never win anything again in my life, whether it’s charity bingo or a shot on The Voice. Yet I continue to buy that single lotto ticket. A girl can dream, can’t she?

When last week’s Powerball surpassed a staggering $590 million, I did something I don’t normally do. I bought $10 worth of tickets, which in Powerball-speak is only 5 tickets. Ten dollars is a fortune to me these days, so it was a big gamble. Apparently the odds of winning were higher than being struck by lightning and simultaneously have a grand piano fall on my head, or something like that. But as the commercials say, you can’t win if you don’t play.$3 winning lotto ticket 2

But you know what? I did win! A whopping 3 dollars! And now I have a big dilemma:

How do I spend my winnings?

First of all, should I take it in one lump sum or have it doled out to me in annual payments for the next 30 years? I could really use the 3 dollars now, but it might be very handy to get that windfall of a dime each year for the next 30 years. That way I wouldn’t have the misfortune of blowing it all at once.

Should I spend the wad of cash or invest it? When they win lotto, a lot of people decide to take a trip. I might want to do that. I could pay $1.50 to take the Metro Red Line to LA’s Union Station and then another $1.50 for the Blue Line transfer to the Long Beach Aquarium. The problem then would be that I wouldn’t have any money to get home. That’s the downfall of so many lotto winners. They wipe out their winnings on that African safari but then are forced to return as a stowaway on a cargo ship when the money runs out.

CA Lottery totalsMaybe I’ll invest my $3 in my credit union. They currently pay .15% interest, so this time next year I’ll have $3.04½. I’m not sure if they’ll be generous enough to round that ½ cent upward for a total of $3.05 or if I have to wait a second year to make it an even 9 cents. If it’s only 4 cents, I’m not sure if that would get me much. Some parking meters will still take a nickel, but if you shove 4 pennies into the slot, you’re still going to get a parking ticket. In fact, by the time you plug all those coins, your meter will already be clicking back on “expired.”

I’ll be forced to pay taxes, so the total might only come to half of the 3 bucks. Too bad Uncle Sam won’t let me count that buck a week loss for the past decade to counter my winnings. With $3, I might have enough to buy an actual Starbucks coffee, but after taxes, I’d have to fill up my caffeine intake at 7/11 instead. And after dropping a few cents in the palm of that homeless guy hanging around out front, I may be bumming the cash back from him to get that cup of burnt java.

lhasa apso I’m also afraid that when word gets out that I’ve won lotto, every 3rd cousin and anyone who’s read about me on Patch is gonna be looking for a handout. I’ll be getting requests from strangers who want me to treat their precious lhasa apso’s diabetes or beg me to donate to their foundation to help shopaholics from hoarding Bloomingdale’s shoe purchases. By then, there wouldn’t even be a quarter left to give my son a mechanical pony ride outside of K-Mart.

Mechanical pony rideThere’s the fear that my kids will be kidnapped for ransom, or that my husband will poison me so he can keep all the money.  I could develop a costly drug habit just as Prop D passed and all those stinky shops with the green crosses will be closing their doors, forcing me to feed my addiction elsewhere. I might be hounded by news crews day and night, and I’ll have to go into hiding. The liquor store where I bought the ticket would need to hire an extra cashier just to handle all the extra lotto tickets sales from people hoping that lightning and a falling grand piano might strike twice in the same spot.

What a headache!

I think I’ll just use my $3 winnings to buy a couple of Advil.


Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Financial Insecurity, Humor