Silver Linings

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

It’s been 3 months since my last post.

A lot of things have changed since my last post and I’m sorry I didn’t write it down. At least for my own benefit.

The day after, I completely lost it. And in the middle of my going off the deep end, I applied for mortgages in Tom’s name.

One of them got approved. Or rather pre-approved, which means jack-shit.  And that began our wild goose chase that ended with us being denied while under contract. twice.

What can I say, I’m a bit of slow learner.

Lucky for us, a down and out homeowner, and our shared realtor, There was a home for us to move to anyway.

It’ much bigger than Pandoras Box could ever dream of being and it’s in a different town with the best elementary school in the district.I can even order delivery if I wanted to ( and I did). Real life civilization, folks.

Let me introduce you to The Money Pit.

Tom Hanks and Shelly Long not included



Mr. McGillicuddy, our guard dragon


$80 for a leaf blower no longer seems ridiculous.


Don’t be surprised if my next post is about a bath tub crashing through to the first floor.

Fear is a gust of wind the rattles my bones. Fear is a gray cloud that stops the quickens my heart. Fear is a click, creak and groan of a settling house. It’s an unexpected flash of light. Fear is a ghost that haunts me day and night. I am forever at the ready for the fear to be realized.

During the day I watch the sky and judge the wind. I check like it’s the next Twitter.  I look for reasons to leave the house. I don’t want to be here. Something bad might happen. Something I can’t protect my family against.

At night I stay up late, whether I am tired or not. I’m on the computer with The Weather Channel map open at all times. I peek out windows and check and recheck the locks. I make sure my keys and sneakers are readily available. I check for the dial tone. I go over in head how to load and hold the shotgun. Then I remember that if I ever had to shoot it, My kids would probably be in the line of fire. So I keep the phone in my pocket and wish I had a baseball bat.

When I finally go to bed, I lie there and think. In between lock and weather check, that is. I wonder, is tonight the night we get another tornado? Is this the night some one is going to break in?  Or is this place just going to go up in flames. If so, we’re all screwed.

We’re so far from help, calling wouldn’t matter. It would be over before they got halfway here. So I am always waiting to be called into action. I fear that moment when I have to stop being mom and  be the hero.

And I want it to stop.

I can’t live this way. My family shouldn’t have to put up with Edgy Mommy. Or Exhausted Mommy. It’s not fair to any of us.

So I’ve been looking for a new place to live. Tom has a new, better paying job so we can afford more. But it still is not enough. Rent prices have skyrocketed since the high volume gas well fracking has moved into the area. And once again, we are priced out of the market. The safe ones anyway.

That hasn’t stopped me. Everyday, several times a day, I have been scouring Craigslist and the local newspapers online for something that will work. I’ve even had Tom applying for mortgages while I talk to real estate agents. And for the past 3 months nothing has panned out. We are wither too late, they won’t take the cat ( that Tom won’t part with) or they want 1st, last and 2 months security. That can total over 4 grand.

Until today.

Today I found a 3 bedroom duplex in a nice area that is going to be available in September.  It’s in a great school district and they accept cats. It’s a situation that would alleviate my fears to some degree. It’s in a more populated area, mere minutes from the state troopers and a fire department. The neighborhood (all owned by the same company) look well maintained. And it has a BASEMENT. It’s like Manna  from Heaven. Just one, not so small catch. The rent is more than half of Tom’s paycheck and it would take more than $2k to move in.

If we paid nothing but food gas and insurance, we could get it done in about a month. Maybe a month and a half.

But to what end.

Sure, it has just about everything we want. It’s safe (looking), clean, cared for and convenient. I wouldn’t burst into tears and speed my kids up to my moms at the first clap of thunder and wind gust of 10 MPH.  I wouldn’t spend the night wondering if I should sleep in the hall outside my kids door, just in case.

I would, however, spend my night wondering how we were going to pay the heat, electric, insurance and food bills. And what about when the kids out grow the clothes and shoes they have. I can’t even fathom Christmas and Birthdays.

Oh, wait. I can.

I just stopped doing that shit a couple months ago. I don’t want to go back.

We can afford to pay our bills and live just a little now. It hurts my heart to think of going back to barely scraping by and counting pennies. Going nowhere and not buying things we need just so we can have a roof over our heads and all the very basics that go with it.

But then again, it hurts my heart to be terrified of my home. It hurts even more when Kieran wants to get in the truck and leave at the first raindrop. It takes everything I have to soothe him and tell him it’s okay when in reality, I want to get in the truck too.

So I’m left with this question-

How much a month is my sense of security worth? How much is my kids sense of security worth?

Gone in 60 Seconds

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I loved that movie. Back before we had cable up here, “Gone in 60 Seconds” was a regular in our meager DVD collection. Some thing about fast cars get to me.

That, of course was PreKids. I haven’t watched that movie in ages.

Now, “gone in 60 seconds” has taken on a whole new meaning. Now it means that while I am doing this-

They are doing this-

Freshly cleaned floor, gone in 60 seconds.

And while I was cleaning up their art, I turned to see the now unlocked hall closet spilling out and running down the hall. And giggling.

Organization, gone in 60 seconds.

Oddly, my sanity is still in tact. So rather than screaming and yelling, I just move the gate further down the hall.

Team Kids -2   Mom-1 Woohoo!

While I handle my business, I realize that not only is the kids room hot, it has actually become a heat source. Basically, it was making the 2 window units in my kitchen/dining/living/flipanut room absolutely pointless.

And I WILL  not have that.

With super mom skill I shove all three yahoos in the toy room with minimal whining and moved the 12,000 pound air conditioner halfway across the house. I also left a trail of water marking my path.

Clean towels, gone in 60 seconds.

And all was quite(ish). And I should have been concerned. And I wasn’t. I went right on taking care of business. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed every second of the peaceful sounds of the kids quietly playing. In another room. Behind a closed door.

In hindsight, I think my sanity took the day off. I mean, come on, I was CLEANING! Red flag anyone?

I enjoyed it so much I actually got shit done for a change. And while I was doing this-

And this-

And more laundry. My little Angels were doing this-

That's as far as it would open.

They emptied half a (once locked) closet. With barely a sound.

Any other plans I had for the day, gone in 60 seconds. It took me that long just to open the door.

 Clearly, they are Ninjas.


Posted: Friday, July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

As we live our lives, we all move toward the same point. The one great equalizer.


Some die old, some die young and some somewhere in the middle. But one plain and simple point is, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Yesterday, around 4 pm, My grandmother made it halfway to the final destination. She had a stroke and is now in a coma. The prognosis is not good.

At 84 years old, it’s safe to say that she led a long and full life. She had 5 kids, was an Air Force wife for many many years, criss-crossing across the country and over to Europe several times.

I remember going to the Thruway with her as a kid. She would meet a friend for coffee and they would pass a small bottle under the table to pour into their Styrofoam cups.  She would put her finger to her lips, indicating that I should keep it a secret. I had no idea why I should but I did anyway.

She had a tiny little baseball bat in her car. According to her, it was for beating up bad guys. At that moment, to me, she was a super hero. Because to me, as a  little kid, only super heroes beat up bad guys.

My most powerful and fondest memories of her took place in her kitchen.

I can see her now, singing to her “Grandma Music” (big band, 40′s type stuff), rolling out pie crust or cinnamon rolls on her kitchen table.  Or putting waffles in the toaster for us or serving my grandfather coffee from her percolator.

Even more recently, I can see her sitting at that very same table in my own kitchen cuddling with Perry as an infant.

Grandma had often to urged me to go back to school. She was always telling me that I was to smart not too. We’ll see what the future hold in that department.

She also kept asking when Tom and I were going to make it legal and have a real wedding. While I understand where she was coming from, I stand by my  belief that a wedding doesn’t make a marriage. Love, trust and a commitment (legally binding or not) from both people makes a marriage. I think she understood because she stopped asking after I told her how I felt. At the very least she respected my feelings.

She also asked me cyber stalk my cousin a few times a year. Just to check up on her and her mom and sister. I obliged every time. It was her wish that my cousin and I would reconnect.

Wish granted, Grandma.

It may have taken your soul leaving this earth and I may have made an ass out of myself on the phone ( I hate phones) but you got your wish.

While my grandma was not without her faults, I loved her and cared about her.

I will miss her.


May you fly with golden wings, dance on light feet, sing with the angels and openly drink spiked coffee.

I love you

A Love Letter

Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dear Township,

Thank you for your stellar road maintenance. Since early June, I have had only 3 flat tires either while driving on or immediately after driving on your very recently graded roads.

I would also like to commend you on your ability to fix but not really fix a road.  You know the one I’m talking about. But if your not sure let me refresh your memory.

When I moved up here in 2005, R Road was riddled with potholes and the 90 degree curve was only big enough for one car. unless the second car wanted to drive over a 12 inch drop off into the very sharp rocks. Year after year it got worse.  I used to joke that you were waiting for it to turn back to dirt.

Well the joke was on me and it was good one guys.

Last year you regraded the road and took up what little ashphalt was left and packed some loose stone to the blind curve to add an extra 3 inches on one side.


Fast forward to this year and our brand new road crew. We had a lot of rain and a couple of roads washed out, either in part or whole. R road (the one that used to be paved) was partially washed away on either side leaving almost enough room for one vehicle up most of the road.

You guys were on it like stink on shit. Within a couple weeks, You had kinda smoothed it out leaving only shallow ditches filled with large sharp boulders.

How do I know they’re sharp? Just ask my right rear tire. Some people enjoy playing “chicken” with larger vehicles who are already in the narrowest part.

I do not but that just seems to be me.

Do you know what I do enjoy? How you just can’t seem to get out of my fast enough when I unknowingly roll up on your work.


I’m just tooting along on your handiwork when, BAM! Out of nowhere, there you guys are. And rather than make me wait an extra minute or so to let you get completely out of the road, you wave me over a giant pile of sharp rocks.

Just ask my left rear tire about that one.

And now, thanks to your hard work, those same sharp rocks are spread all over the road.

Just ask my left front tire and my three kids who had to sit in a hot truck with no a/c while I changed my tire.

Thanks for all your hard work and effort to keep our dusty dirt roads functioning.

Love ,

Me and She Who Must Not Be Named

Hey, Where’s Perry?

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

We are huge fans of Phineas & Ferb here in Pandoras Box. So big in fact that during my eleventythousandth month pregnant, I decide that I was going to name my 3rd and final child Perry.

Yes, I named my kid after a teal cartoon platypus. My inspiration came during this episode…………

I know.  Slighty genius, slightly crazy.

One of the added bonuses of being named after a cartoon character is having your own, ready made catch phrase. One that I never tire of saying.

So, in case you were wondering this is where Perry is………………..



Oh, there you are Perry.

Ready to kick ass.

Little Boxes

Posted: Monday, May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Life has been kind of quiet around here lately. Nothing to really write about. Until Thursday, that is.

Last Thursday Amanda turned 5. She’s a big girl now, getting ready for kindergarten. She also is starting to look like a teenager. All she needs is a cell phone ( and her PHD so she can kiss boys) and she is good  to go.  This happens way too fast.

Do you know what else happens fast?

Tornado weather.

Yep, we got some of that Thursday night. No warning either.

I didn’t check the weather on the computer and no warnings came on the TV. Tom and I stood on the back porch and watched a wall of white come at us over the valley.

My backyard

Imagine this disappearing behind a white wall. Rapidly.

As I watched it my nervousness grew. I’m not a fan of storms, not here anyway. My first two winters here left me shaken, almost literally. It took less than 5 minutes for what turn out to be gale force winds and torrential rain to descend upon us.

My nervousness turned into outright fear. I couldn’t even hear myself yell to Tom that maybe we should seek better shelter.

A trailer is the last place I wanted to be right then.

Tom took off in search of something, not saying a word. Kieran and Amanda came running out to me, saying that they were scared.  Unable to get Toms attention, I grabbed all three kids and took off for the neighbors as best as I could. They live about 75 yards away but they had a basement.

Out of nowhere, Tom runs up and grabs Amanda who had fallen next to me and heads for the truck. I drag Kieran and carry Perry there as well.

Between the rain and my fogged up windows, I can’t see a thing but I am desperate to get away. I am crazed by my need to protect my family. I just had to get them to the other side of the hill. I hoped that whatever fresh Hell had descended on us wouldn’t have enough steam to get up and over to the other side.

My hope was answered.  After finally buckling the kids into their seats and climbing to the front, Tom spoke. Words came out of his mouth.

That would have been helpful a few minutes prior.

He was saying things I could not understand. The wind had died down and the rain had slowed and we had reached the other side of the hill.

Still I drove.

I asked him to clean my glasses and complaining that I could not see a thing out of the foggy windshield. I was concerned that the road had washed away completely.

It was already have gone from so called “April showers” and have yet to be repair.

And Tom was still talking, but louder now.  I kept driving and shaking my head “NO”. I had to get to a basement. My in-laws have a basement, drunk of  a father in law be damned. I can handle him. I can’t handle what ever that just was.

Now Tom is yelling. I yell back. The kids are whining “Where are we going” and “I’m cold”.

And then it hits me. Tom is telling me the storm has stopped. I can turn around and go back.

Go Back!? Is he MAD!?  I learned a long time ago that wind like that can last for hours if not days at Pandora’s Box. I spent a lot of time walking around Walmart when Amanda was a baby because I was too scared of the wind at home.

But I stopped, pull the stroller cupholder that I was sitting out from under me, waited and went back. I was fully expecting to drive back into Hell.  I thought that at the least, Pandora’s Box would be tipped over and yard toys would be scattered around my landlords  acreage.

I was shocked. The rain had stopped completely now. I could clearly see the trailer standing upright and intact. Even stranger, not a single toy, rain boot or bike and moved. Only my stroller had tipped over and a few boxes on the back porch had blown to the other side of the porch.

I was still unsettled and so were the kids. Understandable so. I immediately set to work finding a corded phone and called my mom. She knew about the storm coming. She had know since 3 that afternoon.

And while Tom was busy trying to figure out how to wake up in the morning for work with out power for his alarm clock. I decided that we weren’t staying there that night. I was on edge, the kids were terrified and mom told me the storms were going to go on through the night.

No Fucking Thank You.

So I packed. With three tired and freaked out kids in the truck and a grumbly Tom in his car, we went to my moms.

Our journey should have taken us 45 minutes at the most. It took more than an hour. A tree had fallen across the road and onto power lines close to the end of our trip. That caused us to double back and take a back road that I had only learned of the night before.

I learned the next day that that was not the only line down. There were hundreds across the county like that. We weren’t suppose to have power back until late Saturday, early Sunday.

Thankfully, a lot of people busted there butts and we got power back on late Friday night and we returned home on Saturday.

That was the scariest thing I have ever been through in my life. Worse than being shot at or seeing 2 pink lines in a dipstick.

And I am still scared. Thunderstorms rolled past us a couple hours ago. I laid in bed counting the time between the lighting and the thunder, shaking like a leaf.

I couldn’t take it so I got up and checked the weather. I watched the radar map a few dozen time, watching the projected path and intensity of the storm. Once my fears were soothed, I wanted to cry.

No one should be afraid to live in their home. No mom should have worry about here house being picked up and torn in half in the middle of the night.

My desire to move is coming dangerously close to desperation. I don’t make good choices when I am desperate. Bad choices like finding employment in fetish porn or selling pot. I bet they both pay well.

And I look good in big sunglasses and sexy hair and I already drink my coffee through a straw. And I have a really big bathtub.

I think I’ll become a “small business owner”. I should have a brick and steel reinforced house in no time.