Thursday, June 28, 2012

You Boys Like Mexico?!?

The dogs escaped our yard on Thursday. I guess the biggest problem with having dogs the size of rodents is the fact they only need a hole slightly smaller than a rodent to escape.

This wasn't the first time.

About 3 years ago, when I was childless and had significantly more discretionary funds, they escaped. In a panic, I considered calling the police and asking if they'd bust out the reverse 911 system to call all my neighbors and ask if they'd seen my 4 legged children.

I was able to track them down in a shelter 20 miles south. Excited to find them, I didn't blink when they announced the fee to jail break the tiny terrors - $600.

I know hotel rooms in Malibu that cost less than my dog's two night shelter stay but I was getting my babies back and I didn't care.

When I opened my back gate and found them to be missing last Thursday, I tried not to crumble into a ball of tears. Nope. Not because I was worried about the dogs, but because $600 means a whole lot more in my world now than it did then. I called the same shelter and, surprise surprise, they were there again.

I'm annoyed, but not surprised, my dog ran for the Mexican border. He's a Chihuahua. He was probably looking to visit a cousin in Tijuana. My other dog, a boston terrier, likely followed on the promise of cheap margaritas and warm sandy beaches.

I'm guessing the terrier got close to the border, watched the locals make a taco out of a street dog, and turned himself in to the closest US animal shelter.

The shelter quoted me a 'good deal' this time since it took me less than 24 hours to locate them. $300. But, they'd let me out for $175 if I'd let them cut the cajones off the non-neutered terrier.

Looks like Hutch will be walking sideways for a few days because I don't have 300 bucks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I DID ask!

"Hey babe, did you ask Lindsey to go to the fair with us?" Chris asked after he got home from work yesterday.

"Yeah" I replied.

He started to walk down the hallway then backtracked, "What exactly did you say?"

"I said we were going to the fair Thursday" I said.


"And what?"

"Where's the invitation in that?"

"Isn't it implied?" I asked.

"There needs to be an actual invitation."

"Why would I say we were going to the fair and there be no implied invitation?!? That would be rude." I said.

"You still need to ask. Ok. Let's try this another way. Let's say your sister calls and says she's stopping at the grocery store..."

"I'd ask her for milk" I say quickly.

"But she didn't ask if you needed anything"

"Why else would she say she was going to the store?!?"

"Because she's being conversational. That's what normal people do."

"That doesn't make sense. We aren't conversational. She'd say 'store' I'd say 'milk'. Bam. Phone call over" I said matter-of-factly.

"Like me, Lindsey married into this nut-job family. We need translators. I think learning Klingon would be easier than trying to understand the way your family communicates." he said eyeing our dining room wall as if debating whether or not to start hitting his head against it.

"I'll prove you wrong. Guaranteed she knows she was invited. I'll put 10 bucks on it." I said, cocky.

This morning I am $10 poorer.

But! When asked the same question, my brother looked at me confused. "Well, yeah. You said you were going to the fair. Isn't the invitation implied?!?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Budget Smudget...

I'm great at frugality but not so great at budgeting. Sure, I can make fancy multi-colored self-calculating spreadsheets but accuracy isn't my strong point.

I'm guessing accuracy would be a good thing when dealing with finances.

I downloaded an app called thinking it would solve all my problems. The app pulls every transaction from your checking account and classifies them. At the end of the month, you can see how much you spent in each category and set budgets or goals based on your spending habits.

The app produced a pie chart of my spending. My 'pie' wasn't so much a sliced pie as it was a giant cheese wheel with the word 'MORTGAGE' stamped across it.

I set my budget working timidly around the mortgage cheese wheel. $10 for food this month? Sure! I've survived on $8 before!

Satisfied, I clicked 'finished'.

I picked up groceries and diapers for the kidlet only to get a loud DING of an incoming e-mail on my cell phone.

"You are $47 over your grocery budget"


"You are $13 over your gasoline budget"


"You are $27 over your childcare budget"

What I didn't know? The stupid app harasses you EVERY TIME you use your debit card and go over budget.


"Do you really need that Nestle bar? It puts you over budget and we don't even want to get into your caloric budget"

It's like my mother... but with access to my checking account... requires more time and attention...and slightly less guilt.

No more grocery trips this week.


Monday, June 25, 2012


I was forced to purchase a suit for a formal meeting at work this week. I hate shopping but even more, I hate clothes shopping.

Being cheap and having a poor body image has done wonders at creating the frugal person I am today. My husband doesn't appreciate my frugality nearly as much as he should. In fact, he should encourage it. When I ask the age old question, 'Does this make my butt look big?', he should respond 'Yes'.

I'd never go shopping again.

Instead, he grabs my butt, says 'Best butt on the planet!' and well.. other things I can't repeat. Some of us just can't catch a break.

I had spent hours at the mall trying on every suit in every store. Frustrated, I finally bought one on the clearance rack. Dejected from seeing my nearly naked body in the worst lighting, I moped as I left the shopping mall.

Walking to my car, a man walking toward me stopped suddenly, looked me up and down, and said, 'De-Li-Cious!' as if ogling a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.

Shocked, I stopped walking and he continued forward past me saying, 'MMMMMMmmmmmmMMMMMmm' still staring.

I could say how much I hate it when men 'objectify women' or say inappropriate things but....

every once in a while, it's nice to be called delicious.

Friday, June 22, 2012


My sister-in-law cleaned out her closet and donated her clothes to me. It was a nice thought with one minor problem - we aren't exactly the same size.

She's 5" taller and 20 pounds thinner.

Comparatively, she's young hot Cameron Diaz. I'm... current age Liza Minnelli.

So when she brought me the basket, I looked down and said, "Uh. Thanks?"

I went home, and after much debate, tried the clothes on. Remarkably, some things fit while others sent me into fits of laughter at the thought of squeezing my large round butt into the tiny square shorts.

I ran outside to Chris working in the yard and said, "Look hon! Lindsey gave me these shorts and they fit!"

He squinted up into the sunshine to look at me from the hole he was digging for a retaining wall and said, "They seem kinda tight."

Good thing he already had a hole started, it made it easy to bury his body.

I wore one of the cute dresses up to mom and dad's on Sunday and cringed every time I walked past Lindsey. I was terrified she'd say, "So glad you could fit into my maternity dress" or "So glad you found my obese cousin's dress in the pile!"

I checked as soon as I got home. No maternity and there isn't an 'X' after the size. Whew!

Thanks for the clothes Lindsey *wink*

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Married a Used Car Salesman…

After some rough negotiations, Chris and I agreed on an amount to spend on the swing set.  Chris convinced me a bigger set would be better ‘for our future’ (and the whole wine argument was a pretty good one) and I figured that would be the end of it…

That amount?

THAT amount?

… was the ‘base’ price.  Options are extra.

According to Chris, you “can’t JUST buy the swing set.”  You need sand for the base, a retaining wall to level off the area, and rental equipment to put it all together.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I said throwing my hands forward.  “You didn’t say all those were necessary BEFORE we bought the set.  Isn’t all that stuff optional?”

He looked at me as if I had just said steering wheels in cars were ‘optional’.

“Can’t we build it as is?  Isn’t a 90 degree slide every kid’s dream?  Plus, at that angle, we could convert the monkey bars into a ladder.” I said in all seriousness.

He rolled his eyes and gave me a list of ‘non-optional’ necessities.

“How many yards of sand for HOW much?!?!” I asked.  “Why don’t we buy a couple camels too?  They’ll feel right at home!”

The swing set is going to be mighty nice… which is good, because as soon as it’s built, Chris will be sleeping in it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

THE Playset...

My brothers, sister, their kids, and my parents are congregating at our house on the 4th of July.  My brother will be making his famous sushi rolls while we watch the fireworks from our backyard.

Sure, our backyard is 'sketchy'.

'Sketchy' meaning... mowed weeds since we can't afford landscaping... and even if we could afford to plant something green, we couldn't afford to water it at the California premium water prices.

Chris asked what we planned to do for the kids to keep them entertained.

"Give them sugar and send them home?" I said.

"I'm thinking we should put a swing set in the backyard.  Cash is going to need one anyway so let's put it in a little earlier so your nieces and nephews can enjoy it" he said sincerely.

This is exactly why I can't divorce him.  He'd win my parents in a custody battle. 

"Yeah.  That would be OK.  We both get an extra paycheck this month so let's save most of it and pull a little out for some swings" I said.

I was thinking we'd go on Craigslist and buy some cheap swings for 50 bucks.

Chris... well... he was thinking more along the lines of this:

"Honey.  We live less than a mile from a really nice park.  Why would we invest in anything grand for our yard?" I asked.

"Because you can't take wine to the park" he said.

...And that's the story of why we have a huge playset in our backyard.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Do you have this in a 4?

Chris and I have been taking Cash outdoors a lot since the weather has been beautiful lately.  I don't have a lot of non-business attire and asked Chris if he wouldn't mind if I bought a few cheap sundresses from a shop down the street since they were on sale for $15.

Chris walked Cash around the outdoor mall while I went inside to try the clothes on.  I usually pull a 6 and an 8 and pray (sometimes out loud ) that the 6 will fit. 

I found an adorable dress and put on the 6 in the fitting room only to discover it was too large.  Excitedly, I threw open the fitting room door and asked the attendant, "EXCUSE ME.  THIS 6 IS TOO LARGE.  DO YOU HAVE A 4?"

"Sure.  I'll grab one for ya." she said, staring at me oddly.

"YEAH.  THE 6 IS JUST HUGE!!!" I say, nearly screaming for all to hear.

She brought it back and sure enough, it fit perfectly.

"I'LL TAKE THE 4." I say to her as if she were going deaf.

At the cash register, I tell the cashier, "THIS DRESS IS ADORABLE.  I'M SURE GLAD THE 4 FIT!"

"Uh yeah.  Cute." He responded quietly.

Made a total fool of myself.  But...


**To be fair, the dress had elastic, was fitted in my small parts and poofy on my big parts - it's not like I've actually lost weight... I'm still putting it in the win column though.**

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Mom bought me a jogging stroller before I had the kidlet.  I was really into running before I got pregnant, then I got pregnant and stopped, then...

used the kid as an excuse to avoid all physical activity.

Even though I weigh the same as I did pre-pregnancy, I'm unhappy with my newly misshapen body.  Rather than sit around and complain (even though I'm awesome at it), I decided it was time to dust off the jogging stroller and take up running again.

I've never used a jogging stroller but assumed any idiot can figure out how to use one right?

I started lightly jogging down a hill.  "This is so easy!  Who knew it would come back so fast?!?" I thought to myself.

As I reached the bottom of the steep hill, I realized... um.  I can't stop.

Turns out, I wasn't so much running as being dragged by the jogging stroller... and the end of the street was coming fast.

"AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"  I screamed running out of control. 

"AHHHHHH.  HEEEAHHHH!" Cash screamed with joy.

I slammed my feet to the concrete and pinched the brakes (I no longer wondered why they were there at this point) and slid to the edge of the sidewalk.  I heard the air escape Cash's lungs as his body slammed against the  5-point harness... then I heard him erupt with laughter.  Glad he thinks this is funny.

Taking a few deep breaths to regain my composure, I tried to turn toward the walking trail.  I discover the front tire doesn't move... at all.  A friendly passing jogging mother informs me the front tire on jogging strollers doesn't move to prevent you from hitting a rock and falling.

I don't run that fast so this stationery tire thing is hardly necessary.  It only prevents me from being able to turn which is NOT helpful considering this is my trail...

Unwilling to give up, I run straight.  Bouncing between sidewalk and grass, I discovered two more problems.  First, our dear Lord didn't bless me with a lot in the chestal area.  Sports bras have always been more decorative than functional.  Things have changed a lot since my body morphed.   I was wishing I had a bra way more functional and way less decorative. 

The second problem?  My post pregnancy bladder.

I'll leave it at that.

I powered through an hour and arrived home a sweaty, smelly, heaving mess.  Hubby was puttering around the garage, drinking a high calorie beer, enjoying every sip.  He didn't gain an ounce during my pregnancy and hasn't had to worry about losing anything.

I have no doubt God is a man.  Because if God were a woman, I'd weight 110 pounds and could drink a Guinness while my fat husband fought the jogging stroller.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Trade-In Value...

I was watching tv last night and an ad for the new Infiniti SUV came on.

"Wow hon. Remember the days when buying a car like that was actually an option?" I asked. He smiled and nodded.

Ever since we had the kidlet, our finances have been stretched - which is why I cringe every time Dave Ramsey says, "Kids are cheap!"

Obviously he hasn't had a baby under the roof for a long time and must not remember how much a pack of diapers costs... or daycare...or food...or health insurance.

Dear Dave, kids are FAR from cheap.

Anyway, as someone who was used to having a little fun money at all times, it's been an adjustment.

I stared at the car. Watched it's sleek black finish crawl across the screen. And sighed.

Cash chose that moment to pull himself up on my knees, look up, and smile.

I can't remember a time in my past when I had so many moments like this. Moments I take a deep breath and smile because it feels like all is right with the world. I had money in the bank, but I was missing these moments.

The moments that make you feel whole.

Screw the car. My little boy is the best trade-in I ever had.