Tuesday, March 31, 2009


THIS is what I have to watch and hear about 13 times a day. little kid (and I) can sing every word.

little pig

little kid likes to beg for juice, drink it all in one big gulp without taking a breath, and then spend the next 15 minutes accusing me of making him sick as he burps and rubs his tummy.

"You made me sick, mumum. Now I'm sick."

Monday, March 30, 2009

As Seen on Craigslist

Cow Chair One and Only

This is a one and only chair and is available only now for $500

Dear God, let's hope it's a one and only. This may be the ugliest chair I have ever seen in my whole life, and I've seen furniture made out of elephant parts.

Black Stallion Hell

I decided to just keep little kid home today and send him later in the week in undies with the seat, and sent her an email telling her the grand plan. It is probably true that if she's willing to bake him cakes every week, she'd be willing to help him get on the potty a few times a day.

So, now that he's home, I'm being forced to watch the Black Stallion DVD. Like I am EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. he stays home and sometimes on weekends if he can talk me into it.

It's an early 90s television series with Mickey Rooney and some zit faced kid and it has got to be the queerest show ever. Seriously, it's comical without meaning to be.

little kid loves it. He gets his cowboy hat and boots and sits on his Radio Flyer spring horse with his lasso to watch it. He begs me to take him to a "horsey race". He sings the theme song. He laughs at the jokes. He has seen every episode (there are 2 DVDs!) at least 30 times.

The target market for this show was probably 9-11 year old girls, so I'm surprised that he's so hooked on it. I am also soooooooooo, sooooooo sick of seeing it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Daycare Potty Time

little kid has been doing surprisingly well at potty training.

He really has his eye on the prize--a party at Walmart on Thursday involving an ice cream cone and the purchase of a Batman toy.

But he has school tomorrow, how do I deal with that? I feel bad making her deal with it, but I also don't want him reneging on our deal or anything. It's a home daycare and on Mondays it is usually only him, her almost 2 year old and a 4.5 year old. He doesn't take long and hasn't had any messy accidents yet, but it would be just my luck if he did on her watch.

Any home daycare providers out there who can tell me how it's done? Hardly seems worth $30 to deal with a day of potty training someone else's kid (but it hardly seems worth $30 for dealing with someone's kid all day to me anyhow).

He goes 8:30-3:00...do I send him in diapers or with undies and a potty seat?

Tough times

We're getting ready to go drop the chickens off at my parents' and I'm really feeling sad.

I think all of the packing is getting to me. My stuff all fits perfect in this house, because it was bought for this house. I can't picture where it will all go in the new house.

I still remember being pregnant and lying on the floor of Big Kid's beautiful sage green classic Pooh nursery, hopeful and excited about our future.

The other day as I was wrapping up our wedding china, our wedding song came on and I laid on the floor of our dining room and sobbed to the sounds of "At Last". It sucks to remember so much excited, bright hope and to now only have dim, far away "at least" hope.

It sucks REALLY bad.

It's also still scary. The new budget is still tight and saving will be difficult. I'm not sure how I'll be able to afford my anti-anxiety meds and I need them more than ever. I also don't qualify for the needy meds program anymore, so that doesn't help. My doctor won't even write me another prescription until I see her again (I guess she needs confirmation that I'm still a little crazy?) and without insurance I don't really know how I'll be able to afford to see her again soon.

I just want to go back to sleep, until 2011 or so.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I got 435 votes on my "how hot is Arthur Kade" poll and the results are as follows:

40% gave him a 3-4 (Unattractive, just doesn't do it for me)

30% gave him a 5-6 (Average, wouldn't look twice but if he was nice we could talk)

20% gave him a 1-2 (Butt fucking ugly, he makes me puke in my mouth)

6% gave him a 7-8 (Good looking, not movie star gorgeous)

1% (a total of 5 votes) gave him a 9-10 (Gorgeous, next Brad Pitt or George Clooney)

This is proof that Arthur is Average-Unattractive in looks and then hits butt fucking ugly once you know more about him. A solid 4, at best.

Thank you for voting.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hedgehog Envy

Look who has a hedgehog

I am so envious. I tried to convince Mr. Ashley that a hedgehog would be a great way to boost morale right now, but he looked at me like I was crazy and very firmly said that we were not getting a hedgehog.

One day, I AM getting a hedgehog.

Dear little kid,

Due to the current economic crisis, we can no longer support your lifestyle of peeing and pooping in diapers. I know that this may be upsetting to you and I understand that your time is valuable and having to take potty breaks interferes with "living in the moment" (and destroying stuff).

However, these are tough times and we're all making sacrifices.

Also, you know your daycare provider whom you adore and who bakes you cakes on a weekly basis because you love cake? Yeah, you'll only be seeing her once a week from here on out. This will be hard for both of us, and no, I won't be baking any cakes.

Basically, it sucks to be you, little buddy. The fat cats are getting hit hardest and you are our resident fat cat. It's time to put on your big boy undies and deal with it.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Management

It is Friday

I know it is going to make you all sad, because it makes me a little sad too, but I just can't go meet Richard today. Money-wise it was practically a wash and getting someone to pick the kids up from school and driving around Miami by myself just seemed too ambitious. Also, I seriously need to pack.

I know it's a bummer, we can only hope such opportunities arise in the future.

Thanks for all of the votes in our scale of hotness poll. I see that we're all pretty much on the same wave length (except for the 4 people who voted "Gorgeous"...most likely Kade's self, his mom, his dad and himself again from his cell phone) with him being average or just below, with it dropping straight to butt ugly once you factor personality in. I have a hard time believing Angelina Jolie was ogling him, but she did fuck Billy Bob Thornton for a while, so who knows.

Most of his funny commenters have decided to boycott him for five days and I think this is a wise choice. I heard the timer bell ding on his 15 minutes; he's pretty much a one trick pony and we've seen the trick. I have been reading funny commenter Matt Beauchamp's blog and loving it and will be subduing my Arthur urges by visiting there.

I'm off to work but will be around. Have a good day, imaginary friends!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Richard Simmons

I just got offered $100 to meet Richard Simmons in Miami on Friday and Tweet about it. Once gas and babysitting were taken care of, there wouldn't be much left of the $100...but can you even imagine the pure comedy gold?

Arthur Kade Reality Check

I still have an unhealthy obsession with Arthur Kade. Before it was sheer entertainment and disbelief, but those feelings are slowly morphing into feelings of hate--he's a total dick.

One of his charming habits is to rate every woman he encounters (Angelina Jolie isn't quite a 9, she's not even that hot in his book). He also thinks he is extremely good looking and charming and I just flat out disagree. My mom thinks he's "cute, but acts totally queer" and I just don't really see the "cute" part, but she is almost legally blind.

So humor me and take the poll above. Visit www.Arthurkade.com and be sure to look at more than his modeling pictures--don't worry, he has plenty of photos of himself up in posts, you can even watch video.

P.S. Oh and please answer honestly. Forget what a total dickwad douchebag he is and vote on looks alone, ignoring my obvious bias.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Today I was on my way to drop off Big Kid's snack to his class and as I was driving there, something orange caught my eye.

I realized it was a dead orange tabby cat on the side of the road and two seconds later realized that as the owner of an orange tabby cat, I should be concerned. I could tell it was a small orange cat with a fuzzy, apricot-colored belly and our Tangerine fits that description perfectly.

I almost turned around but didn't want to delay the class snack (that I should have sent this morning) and it was clear that the cat was dead and not going anywhere. I felt bad but drove on.

Then I had to sit and wait while Big Kid finished up his school day, agonizing over our poor dead cat. We've had her for 10 years, someone had found her on a construction site and we got her at just a few weeks old; she used to fit in Mr. Ashley's jean pocket. Although a total asshole who wages laundry pissing wars against us if we displease her and will only drink running water, we've had her a long time and really didn't need additional stress or sadness right now.

I decided not to tell Big Kid until later because I wasn't ready to deal with his reaction, he's been insanely emotional about everything lately. On the way home, I stopped on the side of the road, facing away from the cat, and ran over there to see if it was Tangerine.

It was extraordinarily small for an adult cat, like Tangerine. It was orange with a ringed tail. I saw the fuzzy, light colored belly hair that never fully grew back in after she was spayed and my heart sunk a little but I still didn't feel positive.

Creeping around to the front of the cat, I noticed one eyeless socket and couldn't look anymore. I didn't have my phone on me and wasn't sure what to do. I felt awful just leaving her on the side of the road, but dead things repulse me and I just didn't see how I was going to get her into the truck. I reluctantly, gut wrenchingly decided to leave her there and have Mr. Ashley come pick her up later so that we could bury her at home.

I got back into the car and ignored Big Kid's questions, feeling sad and a little bit guilty about also feeling relief about moving with one less cat, particularly the cat who is difficult to live with.

I pulled into the driveway and headed to the front door so that I could call Mr. Ashley...and there sat Tangerine. Perfectly alive. Waiting for me to come home so that I could turn the faucet on for her.

Yep...I almost put someone else's dead cat in my car!!

Can you even imagine??

It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

I guess the good news is that our cat isn't dead

Monday, March 23, 2009

Five links

Night shot of a gothic church
A year of crockpotting
A year's worth of food for a family in the 50's
8 awesome cases of internet vigiliantism
Your baby can't frakking read!


Today was the first day of working part time. It was kind of nice, if money was no object it would be the ideal situation.

When I picked Big Kid up, I made a big deal out of how I wouldn't have to work anymore after school. He said, "Yay! You can play wif me on da computer!" and I had to explain that we both needed to step away from the computer, and that I was so used to working that I might accidentally work if we sat down at the computer so it wasn't a good idea. We went to McDonald's for ice cream comes and played in the yard for a bit and then packed for a while. Let me tell you how much fun it is to pack up the china hutch with little kid standing on a chair beside it whining, "I wanna help, mumum!"

Having all of my most valued and fragile possessions together in a box within feet of little kid is completely nerve wracking.

I also had to go be library mom today. I was feeling lucky because the teacher said that another mom wanted to volunteer on Mondays and asked if I wanted to do library mom every other week instead. Perfect, I thought!

I was irritated though when I found all of the library passes tangled up in a big knot and had kids insisting it was their turn to be line leader without any way to know if they were lying, and most of them had books I wouldn't have let them check out.

I don't let them get books they've gotten before and I don't let them get books that they can't read themselves. That's the whole point and it's a total pain in the butt for me because I always have to redirect them to books that are more appropriate and there they all were, with Junie B. Jones chapter books and books I know they've checked out before. The parents often complain when their kid brings home a book that is unreasonably long for one night's homework.

I also do an impromptu geography lesson with them on my Mondays. There's a big U.S. map painted in the courtyard and on the way back to class I quiz them on states and have them run to them. I do one state a week, reviewing all of the states we've done in previous weeks and they were seriously getting good at it. They love getting to run around and act wild for a moment and they're always interested in what states are where.

They all sucked at it this week though, it was amazing the difference one missed week made.

So, I'm feeling possessive of my position even though I usually dread going. I always end up liking it once I've done it though--I love those little punks. They love me too, I'm cool about the map thing, I make up fun games to play while we walk to and from, I ask about their pets, weekends and siblings, and I'm generous with compliments and back patting. They eat it up, and I want to stay the favorite.

I'm sure I'll get over it though, probably when I don't have to go next week.

I don't really have anything else interesting going on. I appreciate the insights on the "Continuous Progress" education stuff, Big Kid will probably love it. I gave him a children's dictionary this weekend (because I'm tired of spelling stuff every other minute) and he has been reading it like a book and absorbing every word. He's also big on math right now and carries around dice and paper and a pen so he can make "quations".

He's amazing, and really weird.

Continuous Progress Education?

Big Kid's new school is trying out some new way of teaching. They swear it is more individualized approach to learning. Here is what they say:

"Another unique feature of our school is the organizational structure and the instructional programs we provide. All teachers team teach and work collaboratively with colleagues to meet the individual needs of all students. Students work with teams of teachers in non-grade specific multiage classrooms following an instructional approach called Continuous Progress. Students are grouped in mixed age and mixed ability (K-1, 2-3, or 4-5) classrooms and remain with their team of teachers for approximately two years. Students stay together and move on to the next team of teachers within their continuous progress “house” for the remainder of their time at the school. We believe that every child progresses at their individual rate of development and that the continuous progress model allows all children to progress and learn in ways that support individual development. The opportunity for children to build meaningful relationships with teacher over time promotes higher levels of learning and a strong self-concept both of which are important to success in school and life."

In theory it sounds great, but does anyone have any real life experience with this? Although I'm not thrilled with the current way of doing things, new stuff sounds scary too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Alzheimer's: Memory Magically Interrupted
Brilliant business card designs
Commonly misused words
Dilbert: Free coffee
Eunuch spills sex secrets

Charles Manson

Now don't get me wrong, because I am not a fan and it was definitely a good thing that he ended up in jail, but is anyone else surprised that Charles Manson is still in jail 40 years after convincing some other people to kill people?

He never actually physically killed anyone. Sure he was batshit crazy, probably schizophrenic or something, but who is crazier, a crazy person or a group of non-crazy people who follow a crazy person around and kill innocent people at his request?

You can tell by watching any interview with him that he is an evil and dangerous person, I just don't know if the same sentence would be upheld if this sort of crime happened today. I've always been interested in that whole situation and was surprised to see his newly released mugshot. He looks old and tired and like he's lost the previous wild, psychotic look he used to have.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I'm sure you'll all be glad to know that I scored two new twin mattresses, WITHOUT chocolate stains, for $35 a piece.

Ashley Links

A couple of Big Kid videos
Other blog posts that you may not be caught up on
(I try to tell you all everything I tell them but sometimes it's hard to keep up!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More fun than history

Corvin Castle
Sarah Palin 2012
Prosthetics through the ages of one child
Happy baby goes through tunnel
Follow Me
How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you
Kitten Kisses
Coolest business card ever
Family photographed annually for 30 years
Mr. Rogers was awesome (He was also Mr. Ashley's grandpa's college room mate)

Joys of Craigslist

I've been keeping my eyes on Craigslist because we got some great bunkbeds for the boys and need twin mattresses.

I cannot believe the crap I'm seeing.

The furniture section moves astoundingly fast these days. People are clearly desperate to get rid of their furniture and yet they are totally and completely delusional as far as how much its worth. Oh, you bought that couch for $8000 six months ago? Well sure it should sell on Craigslist for $4000 now. People in the market for $4k couches are frequently checking out used furniture on Craigslist, I'm sure of it!

Oh, you had that buffet imported from Bali for $12,000? I wouldn't take a cent less than $6500! That mauve, pink and teal couch with palm fronds on it that smells like your dog but has a sofa bed? $350 Firm!

Freaking lunatics.

I just saw this a minute ago and literally LOL:

twin mattress - $15

Date: 2009-03-19, 12:19PM EDT

in good condition has a chocolate stain. but over all is comfy


Suuuuuuuuuure it's a chocolate stain. Geez. Sometimes it's worth it to just throw shit out.

For real.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Accidental History Lesson

I'm really tired, so I decided to share some links instead of a real post and somehow got on a history theme. I know, thrilling, right?

Caravaggio used photography to create art
Last photo of Lincoln discovered in Grant's album
America: Motivational poster
Mystery of Anastasia Solved
Hiroshima: the pictures they didn't want us to see
Hidden message in Lincoln's watch

It's all interesting stuff, I swear.

Sugar Pill

I have been eating so much candy lately that our anonymous troll that insists that I'm fat is going to be right soon.

The New, New Life Plan calls for less sugar and more walking, for sure.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


little kid loves Wal-Mart. Every day he asks me, "We go Walmart?" and looks sad or asks "why?" when I tell him no. My dad is the same way; my mom and I think they should go together each day and everybody would be happy, but that hasn't happened yet.

Today little kid came in from the porch and said, "I wanna show you sumtin'." I glanced over at him and said, "Cool, put it back outside."

I thought it was a rock. Then my brain jump started and I wondered why he was holding it pinched between two fingers and holding out his other fingers like they were sticky.

"What is that? Come here and show me."

He proudly marched over and held it out. It took a moment for my eyes to focus on what I was seeing.

Finally, the terrified face of a lizard came into focus, its mouth gaping and eyes bulging. I yelled and he dropped it, and we both watched it fall to the ground, twitch a few times, and die.

“Ohhhhh, ohhhhh, that's a lizard!” I cried out, dismayed.

“Yep. Dead lizard. It died,” he said matter of factly.

“It died because you killed it,” I said, angry as I scooped up the lifeless body in a paper towel, “You were not gentle with an animal, and this is what happened.”

"Was bad lizard. Bit me, came in my house, gonna bite my cats!"

"No, it was not a bad lizard and it did not bite you. This is bad. This is very sad."

“It come back?” he asked, looking worried.

“No, honey, it won't come back. That's what it means when you die, that you don't come back. That's why you have to be careful.”

He paused then, obviously deep in thought. We were quiet for a few moments when he looked at me and said, “We get new lizard at Wal-mart. We go Wal-mart, get new lizard! No be sad anymore,” with a triumphant smile.

I felt like I had somehow botched the opportunity to teach him an important life lesson, but he looked so happy with his belief that all things could be fixed with a trip to Wal-mart, that I decided to let it go. For the rest of the day he kept talking about how he caught a bad lizard that was trying to bite him and the cat. I'm a little concerned about the lack of remorse--and the love of Wal-Mart.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The House Hunt

The rental market here is insane here in Florida right now. Finding a decent place literally meant checking Craigslist, the paper's site and MLS on an hourly basis and going to go see the place the second you could coerce the landlord into meeting you there.

At first, we had nothing but a price range. We looked at detached villas in "Town Center" type communities where you never have to leave the gates. It sounded like fun for a minute, like a permanent vacation, but then I began envisioning myself in this "Children of the Corn"-type neighborhood where everyone knew your business and the average age was 60. Reading their clause about "nuisance" dogs deemed "obnoxious" by the neighbors being evicted made me realize that it might not be the best choice for us. Also, you did have to leave the gates for school and I wasn't thrilled with the school district. I'm pretty sure the gates would have done a better job of keeping me in than others out, and the new goal is to be less anti-social, so I got over the idea pretty quickly.

We also looked around here, within walking distance to Big Kid's school, but the thought of driving past the same landmarks and being so close to what was "home" stung too much. I did find one really big house with an amazing rental rate and begged the agent to please choose us, after jumping through crazy hoops just to be able to see the house with three other couples, all of us negotiating for it there and then in the kitchen. She told me she went with someone else and then called me back several times in the next couple of weeks begging us to take it when that fell through, but by then I realized I wanted out of the whole area.

We finally decided that this had to be a total life style change. That this was our chance to be in the school district we wanted in an area that we liked. We wanted to live in town and near the beach, and had a specific school in mind for Big Kid.

My mom and I got in the car and drove up and down every single street that met our criteria. We stopped in one place 5 blocks to the beach, a teensy little cottage with a white picket fence that was built in the 30s. It had warped wood floors and the low ceiling would only work for a vertically-challenged family like ourselves. It also had a loft with a library ladder and I could easily see little kid tumbling face first onto the sloped, scratched floors below. For just Mr. Ashley and myself (and maybe even Big Kid), it may have worked, but I knew between the questionable electric and the loft, little kid would surely find a way to kill himself.

We found another place, not downtown but in a great neighborhood, that had four bedrooms, a great layout and a built in murphy bed and office in one of the rooms. We met the landlord there and I loved the big screened lanai, the fenced yard, the skylights, the big tile...everything. The only downsides were HIDEOUS concrete countertops and a tiny, tiny master bathroom. I had Mr. Ashley meet me back there that evening and the landlord fell in love with our family and seemed eager to rent it to us. We went out for beer and tacos that night and decided to rent it, ugly countertops and pathetic bathroom situation and all.

Up until this point, Big Kid seemed pretty unaffected by house hunting. He would hop in the car with his notebook of lists of what he was looking for in a house: he wanted it to be light orange and have either a farm, a treehouse, a studio or a pool. He would point out houses along the way that might fit our criteria, whether they were for rent or not. He skipped through empty houses happily, fine with all of them.

A few days later, I looked over at him and saw him teary eyed. I asked him what was up and he began blinking rapidly to hold back the tears and told me that he didn't want me to live in a house without a nice bathtub. My heart melted and I hugged him and told him that a bathtub was not important and my home will be wherever my boys are, and he cried that he just wanted me to have a good bathtub, that I need nice baths. It completely broke my heart.

He had a similar reaction about my job. He must have overheard me on the phone, because when I hung up he said, "What did I hear about you losted your job? How did you losed it?" I told him that he misunderstood, I didn't lose it, I was just going to start doing it less and that would be so nice because I wouldn't be as busy now and we can hang out more.

"But you love your job, mom. We hang out all da time, you should dest still get to do your job." I promised that I would still get to do it but that it would be awesome to have more time to play. He looked doubtful. I swore that I was happy and that this was a really good thing. He continued to look skeptical.

I realized then that he was absorbing more of the truth than we intended. We tried not to discuss anything but the fun stuff in front of him, and I only cried alone in the car after dropping them off or out by the chicken coop, but he was obviously worried about things.

Mr. Ashley ended up not faxing the application back in time and that house was rented to someone else. Let me tell you--hell hath no fury like a woman who has already mentally arranged her furniture and fallen in love with a school district. There has only been one other time I've ever been that mad at Mr. Ashley. He knows that when I'm that mad, I tend to stay awake and fantasize about punching him in his snoring back as hard as I can, and lying back down and faking sleep as he wakes up in pain. Seriously...I was mad. MAAAAAAAD. He slept on the couch for his own safety and I put myself into an anti-anxiety drug induced coma for a weekend of sleep.

He woke me up Sunday to tell me he had found a 3 bedroom three blocks from the beach and near my favorite downtown park. I broke my vow of silence to go see it and he feigned excitement as I stood on the terrazzo floors and imagined life within those wood paneled walls, watching a snake slither across the rotting back deck. If you sat on the toilet in the master bathroom, your knees touched the pedestal sink and you were staring at your washer and dryer. The wind whistled through the 70s style jalousie windows and I gazed at the mansion across the street and imagined them as my neighbors, having to look at my kids' bikes in the driveway.

Sure, my children would go to the best schools, we would live in the ultra exclusive downtown area for cheap, we could walk to the finest restaurants in our city, enjoy jazz bands in the city park on Sundays and go to the beach three times a day if we wanted...but the thought of my knees pressing against that cold porcelain sink base and living without closet doors or proper flooring in this musty old house made me want to cry. Location was definitely not everything.

The next day, I found a tidy little house back in the non-downtown neighborhood I liked. The landlord was nice, the place was immaculate, but it only had 2 bedrooms and 1200 square feet. I could imagine a nice little life there though, and I was exhausted by the search for houses. I told the landlord to give me 24 hours, fully intending to sign the lease.

Wearily, I did one last search on Craigslist and found something in an area I hadn't really considered, but wasn't opposed to. It was as big as our home is now, totally renovated and in a country club community well known for its family-friendly atmosphere. It was within 5 minutes to Target and 5 minutes to the beach (both big factors). It was zoned for a new school with good reviews and what they claim is a more individualized curriculum. I was hopeful. I called the landlord and my parents and asked them both to meet me there (another fun house finding fact--my parents, as helpful as they are, really really really wanted to see every house we seriously considered) and I knew upon walking in the front door that this was the house for us. I told the landlord I wanted it before we finished the tour.

The layout is fabulous, kitchen is fabulous, bathrooms are fabulous--it is great. I can imagine living there for years and the landlords would like for us to. They may be a little bit neurotic, our contract negotiations got a little wacky, aggressive and invasive, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it was just pre-renting jitters and not long-term nuttiness or anything. Luckily, they'll be long distance soon.

So, I sign our now thoroughly negotiated lease tomorrow while we get our kids together to play. I go part time March 23rd. Our move in date will be April 4th.

New life starts soon whether I'm ready or not.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moving On

Alright, time to clear up the mystery of what's really been going on in the life of the Ashleys. It's not easy to share, or to even admit to myself that it's all actually happening.

I found out a few weeks ago that my job is being reduced to part time. This actually ended up being good news because by the time I was told, I had convinced myself that I was being laid off completely and was already in full on panic mode.

I have to preface this all by saying that I work for a fantastic company. I know this decision isn't anything personal, my supervisor is probably the best boss ever, and the corporation itself isn't some faceless, scheming empire or anything. I work for a big company in desperate times and have been impressed with their compassion, and inspired by some of the emails from our higher-ups.

It is just really hard because I LOVE my job. Shout it from the rooftops--LOVE MY JOB. It was my dream situation and has made me so happy. That sounds so bizarre to say about a job of all things, but really--it was fantastic. It makes me really sad that things have to change. Even above and beyond the money situation, I am going to miss working full time. I enjoyed keeping my brain busy that way.

However, from a financial standpoint...this situation makes things impossible. When Mr. Ashley took his new job last year, his salary was half of his old job and me getting this job made up the difference. It has worked for this past year and enabled us to continue bailing out our sinking ship, but this new turn of events means it is time to put down the buckets and look for a life raft.

Unfortunately, my city was just listed as #3 on a list of places with the worst job markets. I know waiters with 10 years experience in the finest dining establishments in town that can't get a job waiting tables at the new Chili's. A second job is most likely not a realistic goal right now. Our area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and we're going into "off season", where commerce slows down dramatically for several months.

We cut out just about all of our extra expenses back when Mr. Ashley lost his job last year and the only significant one left to cut is............housing. Ugh. We can no longer afford the house.

Cuntrywide (that's how I spell it now) isn't too worried about it, but obviously we are. We built this house. We brought two babies home to this house. This house has the spanish tile porch inlaid with the handpainted Talavera tiles from Mexico given to me by a really cool, world traveling old lady. We helped design the slate mosaic backsplash that was created by three Croc wearing, pot smoking lesbians. It took me 5 years of bitching to get Mr. Ashley to put up my custom address plaque. I have the bath tub of my dreams here. We put a lot of real money down on this house, proceeds from our first home which was a foreclosure that we put a ton of sweat equity into.

It royally sucks, truly. It feels like we're going through the 7 stages of grief here, shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression and I think we're just now rounding the corner to acceptance (but I still cry about it every day, accepting it doesn't mean it doesn't completely break my heart.)

I am nowhere near comparing the pain of losing a house to the pain of losing a person though. Both of my bestfriends have lost their fathers to cancer within the last couple of months and Catfish's mom is now battling cancer as well. If anything, the unfairness and the hurt of all that has made me realize that my situation is not that bad. It is scary, but it is not tragic.

I also realized at Catfish's dad's funeral that I was living my life wrong. That we were so busy trying to keep it all going and stay above water that there was no time to enjoy life. We were stressed and tired. We worked too much. We prioritized wrong.

Catfish's dad's eulogy got a standing ovation. The church was packed like it was Christmas mass. He made an impact and you could undoubtedly say he lived a good life. It made me realize that I want to re-prioritize and love my family more and appreciate my friends more and try to be a person who truly enjoys and lives life. It's just money, it's just a job, it's just a house--you only get one life.

We've decided to move while our credit is still good for fear that it will get trashed while Cuntrywide makes us play these bizarre games with them, and because the thought of possibly being forced into the rental market with bad credit, school aged children and four pets is terrifying.

We've found a house to rent in a great school district, in a great neighborhood, that's as big as ours for considerably less. We'll put this house on the market and hope that the mortgage company will eventually consider a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure or something. It's really hard to think like this, and so scary. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and think, "We are crazy. What are we doing? We can't do this!" but then I realize that it isn't really a choice, and that there really isn't any other way. Sure, we could stay until they kicked us out but that's not right either and would be even more nerve wracking.

It's also so embarrassing. I feel like all of my hard work for the last ten years has dissolved into nothing. I'm going to be working a part time job and living in a rental. That was definitely not in the Life Plan.

I was walking around Target the other day and found myself overcome with anger and resentment that this was happening to me. My eyes burned with tears and my hands itched (a fun, new anxiety symptom of mine) and I thought again that if there was a God, I was pretty pissed about the state of the world right now and who needed Him anyway.

Just then I rounded an aisle and leaning up against a stack of towels in completely the wrong section, was a big sign that said, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."

It is so corny, and you all know I don't do a lot of touchy-feely cheesiness or anything, but I felt like there was my sign. (I didn't buy it or anything, because I'm poor and all.) How many times have I hoped for a sign that things would just be okay, and there it was, leaning against the towels in Target.

I felt like laughing out loud when I saw it and it's been a bit easier to look forward instead of back since then. I'll still get to do my job and make some money, I'll have lots of time to be with my kids (who I love more than ever, achingly so, same with Mr. Ashley--when you're facing your worst case scenario, it's amazing how much easier it is to focus on those you love), I'll have a nice home in a nice neighborhood that I can actually afford, we will all be okay.

So there it is. The thought of telling you all was worse than the thought of admitting it to family and friends. I told Mr. Ashley that it would have been easier when things still felt more anonymous and he quipped, "Oh, the price of fame!" which cracked me up and made me realize how silly I was to care what the Internet thinks. He also brought up that others are going through the same thing and that if sharing it even made one person feel better about being in a parallel situation, then it was worth sharing. Yeah, it's embarrassing and difficult but we have no false pretenses around here about me being perfect or anything. Because I'm definitely not.

So, stay tuned to hear about the New, New Life Plan, and the ups and downs that house hunting brought us, and the joys and pains of moving with the ever neurotic Big Kid.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Kid

I know it's been so long since you've seen little kid that some of you are starting to get suspicious, but I swear we still have him. He's just at an age where he's hard to catch on film, sort of like the Yeti. You'll see him soon, I swear.

In the meantime, there is Big Kid in his new sunglasses (in the Fort Knox of booster seats).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cyber Stalker

Big Kid is stalking me online.

Luckily, he hasn't thought to come to the Closet yet but I'm probably going to have to get software to block him from here, and Mr. Ashley wants me to block him from my Twitter account because I deserve some privacy and Big Kid is completely obsessed with Twitter.

If you follow Big Kid on Twitter, he probably knows your name, your avatar and how many followers you have. The Renee apparently got two more followers and it was big news around here for two days. WEIRD.

He'll also ask me if we can snuggle and glues his eyes to my screen before he even settles in. If I shut the screen, he complains and wants to know what I'm looking at and why he can't look at it too. It is a little bit out of control. He saw me on Facebook and started up with 100 questions and I told him to forget about it.

I don't need him stalking me on Facebook too. The computer situation is totally out of control.

New Term

Amazingly, The Closet is now a part of the Arthur Kade legacy, having made it to his "Press/Media" page. This was the highlight of my day!

(disclaimer: I had an earache, a headache and itchy hands all day)

Former Fat Chick (I feel mean calling her that) suggested replacing the phrase "douche bag" with "Arthur Kade" from here on out and I really like that idea. However, "douche bag" comes in handy sometimes so I was thinking maybe we could help out The Gays and start using "Kade" instead of using "gay" in the derogatory, "That's so gay" sort of way.

Hear me out here.

For instance, when you see the guy at the mall wearing the pink polo, pink madras shorts, pink flip flops and a pink baseball hat, you would say, "That is the Kadest outfit I've ever seen."

Or, I noticed many of the spring break guys around here went for the starched and ironed white button up shirt unbuttoned with J.Crew shorts and aviator sunglasses on the beach look...totally Kade.

Don't let your sons drink soy milk, they'll catch "teh Kade".

Mr. Ashley bought Big Kid black and blue, bulky Sketchers with velcro straps. Does he want him to grow up to be Kade?

This is the best idea I've had in a while. I think we should go with it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Deep as a Frisbee

I've been wanting but not wanting to share this blog with you, because I don't want to encourage the madness or ego in any way, but I do read it and laugh my ass off daily. It's so bad it's good. And if he were to read this, he would certainly think that last sentence was a compliment somehow.

I've also hesitated to share it because as a blogger doing my own thing, I can appreciate other writers wanting to do theirs and choosing to express themselves however they want...but really, it's just too douchebagtastic not to share. I think the comments might be the best part.

I'm not wanting to contribute in any way to this poor guy's public plan to brand himself as an internet joke for life, but I need more stuff to laugh about with my friends and he'll love the attention.

For your entertainment: Arthur Kade

Monday, March 9, 2009

Starbucks Interview with Big Kid

I hesitate to share this because it makes Big Kid look crazy with an extra side of crazy, but I interviewed him about his Starbucks issues and have decided to go ahead and share it with you all with the disclaimer that his weirdness is amplified by 100x on camera.

I swear he's not quite so quirky during a normal conversation, apparently Starbucks just really gets him going:

I was going to post other videos but that one took 14 years to upload, we'll try again tomorrow.

I Have

Big Kid video for you all once I'm done working and taking him to Wal-mart so he can spend his money on a Jonas Brothers CD.

I will soon be rocking out to the Jonas Brothers, looking forward to that. < /sarcasm >

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Jewish Cowboy

little kid's newest catch phrase is "OH.MAH.GAH" which translates to "OH MY GOD". He says it very dramatically, very much in an "Oh my god, Becky, look at her butt" Sir Mix Alot kind of way.

I take full responsibility for this, since every time I leave him alone for a moment I usually come back and feel the need to yell "OH-MY-GOD, LITTLE KID!".

He has also found a beanie-type hat from when he was around 12 months old and he jerks it down over his head. It fits more like a yarmulke than a hat and looks totally insane. He often wears it with his boots and says he's a cowboy. A Jewish cowboy, maybe.

I've got to get you all a picture of that. There's just no describing it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Starbucks Freaks Big Kid Out

Today I was dropping the kids off at my mom's house because I had to run into the office and I took a different route than usual. Big Kid noticed and wanted to know why and I told him that it was more convenient for me this time.

Big Kid: Well, dat's good, I fink if we go this way I won't have to see dat Starbucks sign. We should always go dis way.

Ashley: And why don't you want to see the Starbucks sign?

Big Kid: It dest freaks me out. Starbucks freaks me out. I'm gonna unfollow dem on Twitter and not look at dose signs anymore.

Ashley: Um, okaaay...and why does Starbucks freak you out?

Big Kid: Dey make me feel like you gotta pay four bucks for coffee. Four bucks!

Ashley: What??!! What the heck are you talking about? You don't have bucks and you're not even allowed to drink coffee! What do you have against Starbucks all of a sudden?

Big Kid: It's dest not right. It isn't. Freaks me out.

Ashley: This might be the weirdest thing you've ever said.

He had to have heard that somewhere. I think once at Target I left the family to run to the Starbucks and Mr. Ashley jokingly said something like "You and your $4 coffee", but that was months ago, and would that really have brewed this hatred of Starbucks?

It is bizarre and a little scary. It is very much like living with a senior citizen in a child's body.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Clearing Up

I see that a lot of people lately feel the need to explain or apologize if they leave a comment anonymously. I just want to clear up that commenting anonymously is completely okay--that is why it is an option. I know it's hard enough to motivate enough to leave a comment, little less registering and logging in and all that jazz, so anonymous commenting is okay.

The only reason anonymous commenters get ridiculed is because they're usually douchebags. If you aren't being a douchebag, no need to apologize!

In fact, I have been meaning to compliment you all on the amount of commenting going on. Even before we got a turd in here to stir up even more conversation, you all have been doing great lately. Some of your comments have meant a lot to me and others just plain crack me up.

I know I've been sucking around here more than ever but I've got God slamming all kinds of doors and opening all kinds of windows on me; it is total chaos around here. Him and I are just barely on speaking terms again; I was on strike from Him until just a week or two ago, but that definitely wasn't working out so well either. We're trying to patch things up now, but I'm still a little ticked that it looks like our plans for my future aren't matching up how I'd hoped. I doubt I'll be a regular church-goer anytime soon or anything...baby steps and all that.

The good (and bad) news is that I will most likely have a lot more time to spend with you at some point soon, but right now I'm busy with work and coming up with a New, New Life Plan and that makes me a half-assed blogger.

Don't worry, I'll be able to discuss it all one of these days soon...I'm just now moving past complete heart-skipping, breath-stealing anxiety attack stage and will be my old self soon. Or my old, new self. Or would it be my new, old self? I don't know, let's just hope for Me, But Better.

In the meantime, let's all just pretend that all is good while we're in the closet and I thank you for tolerating the quiet pauses. That's the downside to me being a real person and all, I get busy or tired or just plain run out of things to say.

Luckily, as long as Big Kid is crazy or Pam isn't wearing pants, we should have plenty to talk about. We'll have a long and (mostly) happy future together here in the closet.