Thursday Ten: What The Heck Was THAT edition?

1. And somewhere along the way, I added a plugin that made embedding images a huge pain in the heinie but it’s A-OKAY because I’ve gotten rid of it now and VOILA. Random Darth Vader in my living room.

don't underestimate the force

2. It’s been a crockpot week. I made a crockpot chicken taco recipe yesterday and a repeat of a crockpot chicken tortilla soup will be in my slow cooker waiting for me to get home tonight. The tacos were great – but far too spicy for the kiddos. A great lean recipe – just spices, chicken breast and salsa in the slow cooker for hours plus the tortillas to serve them on. I’m convinced the leftovers will make great nachos and since the kids didn’t eat any, there is plenty left over. Sooooo, nachos anyone?

3. Easter is coming and the girls will be with their dad and after shelling out bucks TWICE on the behalf of the Tooth Fairy last week, I guess I’m okay with the Easter Bunny skipping my house. And yeah, the Easter Bunny still comes because one is a believer and if one is, they both kinda are by default.

4. These mythical gift-bearing characters are a pain in my ass.

5. While waiting for The Princess to be done with gymnastics last night, I did squats while Pumpkin hitched a piggy back ride. This is what happens when you can’t afford a gym – you get creative.

6. This weather this week? I am NOT okay with getting snow again. Here’s hoping those days are behind us. Again. (The kids have missed FOURTEEN DAYS OF SCHOOL THIS YEAR due to snow. FOURTEEN. That’s… kind of a lot.)

7. I feel sorry for boys who have to get creative while asking girls to prom these days. I’ve seen a lot of kind of extravagant “asks” being posted by moms on Facebook, to which I say: I think teenage boys have it really easy when it comes to a lot of things but my god, to be forced to come up with some kitschy way to ask a girl to prom should just not even be a thing. Not that it’s even remotely as awful as dealing with periods and the whole mean girl thing that girls are dealing with – but you know what? If you’re a teen girl and you need that much fanfare for a prom invite, maybe you should just stay home. Alone. Also? When did this become a thing?

8. Eventually, I imagine I’ll get back to blogging more than once a week again.

9. New Ingrid Michaelson album was released this week and I’ve yet to download it and something is seriously wrong with the world, right? (Just being frugal, is all. I’m sure I’ll cave eventually.)

10. I really try to not get all crazy with eating horribly because by and large I like to be healthy and not buy bigger pants, but I tell ya, when I’m stressed, I WANT COOKIES. All of the cookies. Give me a cookie please.

Thursday Ten: Spring Break without the Break edition

1. Sometimes the internet really annoys me. I’ve been reading articles about the latest internet security breech and I wonder just how hard it is for people to live their lives with these tinfoil hats on. Not the people who are worried about security, but the people with the conspiracy theories about the breech. Nothing is ever just an honest careless mistake anymore. Everything must always be some calculated evil thing done by {insert political party or religious affiliation here}. It’s tiring.

2. Anyway, changing passwords.

3. It’s Spring Break for the girls but because I don’t have time off this week, it’s been business as usual for me. As much as I wish I had time to just hang out with them, I know we’ll find time this summer. Yesterday, they got to help my stepdad babysit their cousins and so they’re definitely keeping busy. The Princess has managed to lose two teeth, as well. She’ll be needing dentures when she goes back to school if she loses any more before Monday!

4. GOOOOOO DETROIT! (I haven’t been watching hockey this season. I admit it. I haven’t followed anything over the past few months but Project Runway, but still….PLAYOFFS.)

5. Have finally decided to get a few inches of hair cut off. My hair is getting to be too overwhelming. I feel like I look like someone who is philosophically opposed to cutting my hair or something. I’m not. I just wanted long hair. I still want long hair. It’s just… TOO long.

6. We wrapped a MAJOR project at work this week. Feels GOOD to have it done.

7. Treated myself and the girls to manicures for our “spring break” this past weekend and have had nail color remorse since. Ugh. Resisted my favorite dark colors and got a bizarre light blue/gray. I kind of hate it.

8. The fuel economy on my Prius? I’m in love. It’s unbelievable.

9. Since we’re not going anywhere this week, the best part of spring break is how fast I can get ready in the morning when I’m not also helping two kids figure out what they’re going to pack for lunch or make for breakfast. I’ve been getting ready, on average,  a full fifteen minutes earlier the past few mornings. Whoa.

10. Hopefully, spring has finally sprung and my energy bills can continue dropping. This brutal winter was also brutal on the wallet. I’m ready to turn off the heat and crank open some windows!

Thursday Ten: Preventative Healthcare FTW edition

1. Whoohoo! I have insurance! Whoohoo! Just in time for my yearly appointment with my dermatologist to have my moles checked out. I’m a bit mole-y, and though I’ve had no problems ever, there is a history of skin cancer and other cancers in my family. So, once a year I go and get checked over and my doc uses some iphone app to see if the moles are staying the same and it’s all very bizarre, but you know, better safe than sorry.

2. Work has been VERY. VERY. BUSY. And that’s good stuff, except a) I’m still learning and b) learning when a place is insanely busy like that is exponentially tougher. It’s been challenging and there have been some days this week where I have felt completely drained. I can see where, once I get through this learning curve, I’m going to find my stride. For now? Trying to learn while everyone is too busy to breathe is tough. I CAN’T WAIT TO NOT BE NEW!

3. I’m so hooked on the 2048 game and I STILL HAVEN’T BEAT THE DAMN THING.

4. Pumpkin’s Girl Scout troop leader quit the other day amidst what must’ve been some sort of dramatic behind the scenes accounting issues because the letter she sent home was…dramatic. Also, “I can’t balance a checkbook” is apparently a reason to quit leading Scouts. Don’t get me wrong, I give her credit for running the group as long as she did – and I probably won’t have done it – but what the heck, lady.

5. Gymnastics season is OVER for the year. The Princess is talking about taking dance for awhile instead. I have all these awful visions of Dance Moms in my head. Do. Not. Want. Her. To. Do. Dance. The reality is that I’ll support whatever she chooses to do – but the thought of dance and stupid recital outfits and all the makeup for shows, ugh. It doesn’t appeal to me for my daughter.

6. So, baseball season started and that means absolutely nothing to me. TOUCHDOWN! (Just kidding!)

7. Speaking of sportsball, this year has been my absolute worst worst worst showing for my March Madness bracket. All my teams managed to bite the dust early on so I haven’t really paid much attention this year – even though I usually LOVE it. Boo.

8. Drove to Detroit last weekend in the new-to-me Prius. It was pretty awesome watching my fuel efficiency in action – I’m so easily amused by that miles per gallon measure. It’s also interesting to see what has an impact on your fuel economy – your speed, whether your heat is on, whether you’re using the bluetooth, all that stuff seems to play into it.

9. WHERE IS SPRING?

10. It’s very nearly Friday. I hate to wish my weeks away, but I’m pretty sure I need a Friday.

It’s No Joke*: Today I Have Health Insurance Again. Finally.

When I had my yearly physical in January, I paid with money I had been saving for two months – money I had set aside solely for the purpose of going to the doc, putting my feet in the stirrups, getting all checked out like a responsible adult does. I was given a ten percent discount for paying in cash and when my doctor prescribed antibiotics for a lung infection for me at that same visit, she took care to prescribe generics that would be likely to be available free or at a reduced cost from most pharmacies.

And later, when I had my eye appointment so I could get new contact lenses (because the poster they have in their office of the eye infections you can get by not changing your lenses FREAKED ME OUT), I purchased my new (totally clean and hygienic) lenses with money I had saved from selling old jewelry, money that I’d wanted to use to buy my kids better gifts at Christmas, but instead used…for my eyes. And that was after my amazing eye doc gave me a free eye exam and reduced the cost of my lens fitting because he is awesome and I? I was broke.

After my divorce was finally officially final last May, I immediately went on my employer’s health insurance plan. Great! Exciting! No lapse in coverage! Whoohoo!

Until my job got cut to part time in July.

Since July 1, I have had no health insurance. Today, my employer’s health insurance coverage kicks in and once again, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

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I can’t explain how it feels to not be covered by health insurance other than to say that if you think too closely about how you can be bankrupted by one illness or injury, you will want to wrap yourself in a bubble and spray everything down with disinfectant constantly. Things you might go to the doctor for when you have insurance, you think twice about when you don’t.

That lung infection I had in January? Yeah, I totally wouldn’t have seen a doc for that if I hadn’t already had an appointment I had saved for. Even though I was miserable. Even though I needed it.

There were things I did to somewhat ease my mind – I upped my car insurance a bit so that if I had gotten injured in a car accident, those medical expenses would be covered by insurance. I started taking Vitamin C. I stopped playing in traffic. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

Anyway. There’s only so much you can do.

Anything can happen to anyone and there’s pretty much not a damn thing you can do about it – and when you don’t have health insurance, it’s terrifying.

In the midst of all that, I saw someone post on Facebook complaining of the effects of the Affordable Care Act on her copays (Note: I don’t care if the Obama administration themselves have taken to referring to it as “Obamacare” – I just don’t). What I wanted to say, and never had the guts to (because I’m not a pot-stirrer) is this: The ACA wasn’t made to help the people who are taking their family of seven on multiple trips to Florida every year. Yes, you’re awesome. You work hard, you earned your money, and you can do with it whatever you want. But… it wasn’t made to help you.

It was made to help people who are in the boat I have been in. People, for whom purchasing their own insurance was out of reach. Before ACA, buying your own insurance was pretty cost prohibitive. Yeah. It’s still expensive. I mean, hell, clearly I couldn’t afford it because I didn’t have it… but it was far less expensive than it had been previously.

Am I defending ACA? No. It’s far from perfect. I think the idea of it is a good one – people shouldn’t have to sacrifice good health and preventative care because their circumstances aren’t ideal for affording medical care or insurance.

But, it wasn’t made to help the people who could afford it. And I budgeted to get a pap smear, so my heart doesn’t break too much for those who may end up reconsidering whether or not they can afford that fourth trip to Disney this year.

(I may have been made a bit bitter by my situation. I own it. It’s been a hard year.)

A few months ago, a woman I know posted something to Facebook about people who mooch (not my words) from government programs. Drug tests for everybody!

And I was appalled and insulted.

If you’ll remember, I had spent FIVE HOURS waiting in line at an unemployment office waiting for a meager sum of money that ended up making a huge difference while my work situation was what it was. Did I not have a full time because I was a druggie? No. Did I not have a full time job because I was lazy? Did I expect to just hold my hand out and have someone fill it? No. I worked hard for years, and when times got tough I needed help.

It happens.

It sucks and it happens.

It has been a long hard road of feeling like I would never find my footing again and today, today I have health insurance again and I hope to not take that for granted, just how amazing it is that I will be able to take care of my health and well being without months of planning and budgeting and penny pinching.I look forward to not having to weigh which of the recommended routine physical tests I will do because I can’t afford them all. I’m looking forward to finally rescheduling the dental appointment I cancelled last month because I had no insurance.

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So, yeah, I’m excited. More excited than I should be perhaps (“Whoohoo! I can get my cholesterol tested without pinching pennies before hand!”) but excited because if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that there’s a lot that I had been taking for granted, a lot I didn’t appreciate as I should, and now, after everything, I am so grateful, SO. VERY. GRATEFUL. to have peace of mind.

 

 

 

*I hate April Fool’s Day. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

thursday ten: i have wheels again edition

1. So, that whole not having a vehicle situation has been resolved. I purchased a new (to me) Toyota Prius after several visits to car dealerships. One of the managers of the lot is the husband of someone I know and I made him aware up front just how UNPLEASANT my shopping experience had been at other dealerships. He arranged for an excellent sales person to help me out – one that didn’t pressure or annoy. It was a GREAT shopping experience. I’m looking forward to seeing the savings at the gas pumps with my Prius.

2. The thing is, after getting in a car accident because of snow and ice, the last thing you want to do is drive on snow and ice and guess what? WINTER WILL NOT GO AWAY. Tuesday morning’s snow had me taking a massive detour to avoid the stretch of road where I had hit the patch of ice that sent me spinning into the telephone pole weeks before. Years of no problems at all and all it takes is one to terrify me.

3. Relieved my first season of girl scout cookie sales is over. What a pain in the ass those things are. Delivering them, collecting money, and driving to the troop leader’s house to pick up and drop off stuff and she lives no where near anywhere I want to go. Anyway. Whatever. Done.

4. Chris and I finally finished watching Season Two of House of Cards last week and dang… I’m curious where it goes from here. And, now I’m just counting down for the new season of Orange is the New Black. Okay, I’m not really counting, but I’m out of stuff to watch so yeah.

5. I got new glasses this week! I RARELY wear glasses at all (I just don’t love the way things look when I wear glasses because I’m so used to my contacts) and my prescription was well over four years old (whooooops). So, new frames. They’re pretty adorable. I may actually wear them in public on purpose.

6. That 2048 game… I’m addicted. I played while walking on the treadmill last night – ended up walking five minutes longer than I had intended. So what if I can never win, at least I’m getting exercise.

7. I still need new jeans. After getting through the stress of car shopping, you would think this would be easy peasy but you’d be wrong because THIGHS.

8. You know what would be awesome? Spring.

9. While I really dig my new job, adjusting to the schedule has yet to get easier. For the first time in a long time, there is a huge amount of importance on the weekends because those are the only days I can sometimes find time to get things done. Even that’s been tough, what with the car shopping and gymnastics hooey. I’m going to have to get better at relaxing on the weekends because WHOA AM I TIRED.

10. If I’m tired I really should make myself go to sleep earlier and yet… I don’t.

Thursday Ten. On Friday. I Got Sidetracked edition

I still haven’t solved the whole “not having a car” problem but I have plans to look at vehicles this weekend. What I’ve reinforced over the past week is that car salespeople be crazy. And I be…not stupid enough to fall for gimmicks, and too easily annoyed to be tolerant of it. If I give you a budget, don’t show me things outside of that budget. I’m not going to overextend myself on a car. I may want to, but I can’t and so I won’t. Refusal to adhere to my stated objectives DRIVES ME BONKERS in sales people. You’re not listening? I’m not buying.

Picked up Pumpkin’s Girl Scout cookie order yesterday for delivering and the troop leader was pointing out that other people sold hundreds versus our measly 50. Look, lady – I’m somewhat of a cookie purist. Not busting my tail to sell boxed cookies.

200 | 365

MARCH MADNESS BABY. Are your brackets ready? You may or may not be surprised that I created an ESPN group for me and Chris to compete with our brackets (competitive streak, whut?). I kinda dig that he indulges me my March Madness craziness, and even joins in the fun. (Who’d you pick to win it all?)

Like nearly every other parent on the planet, I bought “Frozen” on DVD this week. I can’t wait to sit down and watch it with my kiddos.

First day of spring, huh? Hmmmph. Yeah. Not sure I believe spring will ever come.

Oh look. It’s Friday. I didn’t post this yesterday. My schedule? Is bonkers. Ab-so-lute-ly BONKERS. I know that most people work these traditional schedules and they do just fine, but I haven’t done it in over eight years. I’m struggling to adjust but – I really like my job. I’ll find my groove at some point. In the meantime, I keep saying I need to do more crock pot cooking…AND I MEAN THAT.

I wore cute shoes last Friday. Heel blisters ever since. Boo. [I first typed that as "hister bleels" - it's been a long week.]
I have a lot of drafts in my email and I wonder if that’s normal. How many drafts do you typically have? Are you like me, do you write things for purposes other than email and leave them in drafts to save them? Or do you really mean to send actual emails (I don’t send enough actual emails)?

Since I’ve started writing this, Duke lost and broke my bracket. THANKS FOR NOTHING, DUKE.

Finally finished the book I’ve been reading for over a week. Always a fan of Wally Lamb and “We are Water” didn’t disappoint (it did stress me out a bit, though). It’s not an easy read, but it’s a good read.

Thursday Ten: Raising My Middle Fingers to Winter edition

1. A giant resounding EFF YOU to winter. As I was driving (slowly, I might add – I’m a cautious driver!) to work yesterday, I hit a patch of ice. My car spun across the two lane road and then? Smashed into a telephone pole. I’m okay – sore, but okay – my MamaVan, on the other hand? Well. Ouch.
192 | 365

2. So I’m not sure what to do next. It’s a 9 year old vehicle with damn near 200,000 miles on it. Depending on the cost of the repair, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Clearly I’ll know more in the next few days. I was anticipating needing to get a new car this year… I just figured it’d be on MY terms, not Mother Nature’s. But, you know… just in case: what do you drive and do you love it?

3. It was awesome to email my boss yesterday and say, “I was in a car accident – I will be late for work…” and have his first response to me be, “Are you okay?” It hasn’t been quite three weeks yet (almost!) but I like where I am, and I love that they’re people-focused.

4. Currently reading the new book by Wally Lamb and so far I’m loving it. I love his writing, and have since “She’s Come Undone.”

5. Sometimes I shake my head at the news. Well. Usually I shake my head at the news.

6. Pumpkin decided to try Girl Scouts this year and the cookies arrive next week. Confession: I don’t like Girl Scout Cookies. They’re not that great, they’re too small, and they just seem inadequate. Hashtag Homemade Cookies For Lyfe. Or something.

7. Have I mentioned lately how much I haaaaaate winter?

8. My sister needs to get her gall bladder removed tomorrow. I don’t even know what a gall bladder does, but whatever it is, hers isn’t doing it right. So here’s hoping the surgery goes smoothly and recovery is speedy.

9. I bought the ingredients for brownies but didn’t actually make brownies. That either shows incredible restraint or pure stupidity.

10. I’m finally caught up on old episodes of Parenthood so that I can finally start watching right when they air on TV. You would think this isn’t a very big deal but you’d be wrong.

Thursday Ten: Potholes or Po-tholes Edition

1. The Princess said a kid in one of her classes mispronounced the word “potholes” as “puh-tholes” and now that’s what I think when I’m driving, “Gah, I hope these poTHOLES don’t mess with my tires!” Related: holy freaking potholes, Michigan.

2. Expecting temperatures above freezing – FINALLY – soon and I am glad. I’m so tired of being cold. Also, I’d love for some of this snow to be gone.

3. Song I’m in love with this week? Sara Bareilles, “I Choose You.”

4. Nearly two weeks in to my new job and so far? I think it’s going okay. I still hate feeling like I’ve got that “new kid smell” (er, or somethin’…), but I think this is gonna be okay.

5. Glad to have my favorite lens home.
we may pass violets looking for roses

6. I’m never going to be one of those people who thinks Jennifer Lawrence can do no wrong, but I admit I felt a bit of a kinship when I saw her trip over an orange traffic cone on the Oscar red carpet. I would SO do that. If they let me anywhere near the red carpet.

7. Pumpkin is working on a book report for school and she’s so excited about the project. I love when teachers can craft an assignment that makes kids genuinely enthusiastic about the project. Granted, my kids are readers – so no great challenge there – but they’ve created a cool project alongside the reading and she’s been hard at work on it already…and it’s not due for three more weeks.

8. The thing about working full time is OH MY GOD WHEN WILL I HAVE TIME TO CLEAN MY HOUSE? (I realize that there are some of you in that school of, “Your kids are only young once and let the house be messy and there will be time to clean when they’ve moved out” and yeah, that’s basically what I’m doing now, living in clutter and instead of spending time cleaning, I’m spending time with my kids but y’all? This is not gonna fly. I don’t like mess.)

9. I miss guitar lessons.

10. I have been told a few times in the past few days that I look happier than I have in awhile, and I am I am I am but whoa nelly, I’m tired. Adjusting is tough stuff. Can’t wait until life feels a bit more routine than it does right now. If you have any tips for work and life balance, lemme know in the comments.

 

Forward Motion

181 | 365

One week down.

I had forgotten, kind of, the transition involved with going from a job where you know all of the inner workings and quirks to one where you have a blank slate and have everything to learn. That feeling of going from the one that people go to when they have questions to being the one who is asking the questions. It’s not a feeling I like, this cluelessness, but I do know that it should pass.

All of that aside, for the first time in a long time, I feel on track for getting my feet back on the ground.

I really hope this means the tide is turning.

I’m sure you do, as well. After all, I’m sure this hasn’t been a very fun place to read for the past year or so.

But I’m hoping for good things in my future.

And hope feels good. I haven’t felt hope in awhile…and I kind of like it.

Thursday Ten: Where Reality TV Kind of Invades My Brain edition (Oh. And New Job.)

1. Things I’ve thought while watching reality television this week: Why did Adam Levine do that to his hair? He looks like he’s trying to sell me a car. Has Keith Urban always looked like Bryan Adams? Or is that Jon Bon Jovi? Who is it that Keith Urban looks like right now (besides Keith Urban)? How does Abby Lee have any clients when she’s such a meanie? I wonder how much those moms pay for all those dance lessons. (I blame The Princess for “Dance Moms” – it’s her addiction, not mine.)

2. I started a new job on Monday. So far, so good. I’m struggling with being the new person who doesn’t know everything yet. I’m told that this will pass.

3. Negative windchills are just unnecessary. This winter is unnecessary.

4. I wish I had some Dots right now. Except the pink ones. Nobody wants those.
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5. This new full time schedule means I’m on the hunt for some slow cooker recipes. I have NOT liked coming home and being crushed for time to hurry up and get food prepared. I want to relax when I get home, hang out with my kids. Not bust my butt over some subpar meal. So, if you have a crock pot dish you recommend, go ahead and tell me about it. MY KIDS ARE TIRED OF SANDWICHES.

6. After sending my beloved 24-70 lens off for repair (finally) it returned home this week. Sharp and lovely and fast again. I was only without it for a couple of weeks and the repair cost was less than I anticipated. I’m pleased. (Also, if you have ever packaged up a very expensive lens to ship via FedEx, you may know my panic. Is there even such a thing as too much bubble wrap?)

7. Is it the weekend yet? It has been so long since I’ve worked a traditional level, I’ve forgotten how to long for Friday at 5, but wait, I think I remember how now. IS IT FRIDAY YET?

8. Learning new things, nine hours a day for days on end? Tiring. Not enough coffee or green tea. Zzzzzz….

9. Sometimes when I click through to read an article that ends up being particularly stupid, I wish I could have a take-back and get back my time and take my page view back from their stats.

10. What has been the best part of your week? I’m asking a) because I care and b) because I’m too tired to come up with a tenth thing because OY THIS WEEK. Anyway, tell me about you. How’s your week?