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What it’s Really Like to be a Single Mother

April 4, 2011
what it's like to be a single mom

This post has been percolating for the last week (actually the last 18 years) since I read these articles:

1 in 5 US Moms Have Kids with Multiple Dads

Single Men More Likely to Cheat on Taxes

One Woman Goes Undercover on Dating Site for Cheaters

25 Richest Hedge Fund Managers Made $22 Billion Last Year

Last week as I was trying to get ready for work, get the kids ready for school and make the lunches, I caught the tail end of a segment on the Today Show about the richest hedge fund earners this year. John Paulson, Ray Dalio, Jim Simons and David Tepper all topped out the list each earning over $2 billion. I believe in capitalism so my beef is not with these men who earned these unimaginable amounts of money. More power to them. I hope they spread the wealth around a little by hiring a bunch of people as well as giving it away to charitable organizations.

Sorry, I got off track a little. I’m not angry that these men made all this money but it occurred to me as I was watching the segment, and later thinking about it, that I will never come close to earning that kind of money, I’m in the wrong profession and I am a mother. I probably work more hours than most of these men but effort doesn’t usually count. In addition to being in the wrong profession I am also a single mom and that means I will never make that kind of money without having a rich uncle somewhere or being divorced from someone like Donald Trump. Is he currently single?

Which brings us to the next article about 1 in 5 moms who have kids with multiple dads. The article is interesting and worth reading but what has stuck with me most was this:

An important message that doesn’t appear to be getting through is just how hard it is to raise a child as a single parent.

“While these women tended to be poorer than others to begin with, their whole lifetimes continue to be disadvantaged,” the study’s author, Cassandra Dorius said.

I’ll tell you how hard it is and maybe some of you will listen. Maybe some of you will rethink your assumptions about single mothers (see the comments on the article about single men tax cheaters) and maybe some of you will work on your marriage and stay together rather than look to dating sites for cheaters.

As some of you know I have been married and divorced, twice. I have one child from each marriage. I am college educated, intelligent and somewhat street smart. I don’t do drugs and I don’t gamble. And yet I have struggled for the past 18 years even though I have always been employed in one form or another. I have never gone on welfare, though I could have certainly qualified for the service.

I can work and I do now, but that wasn’t always the case.  I was not working at the time of both my divorces, but that was because both husbands thought it wise that I stay home with the children since daycare was so expensive for infants. Both marriages ended when my kids were each 8 months old. Thankfully I have had a lot of financial help from my family, but always reluctantly and always with judgment.

And judgment is just what any mother needs isn’t it?

The implication is that I am lazy or careless with money because I never seemed to have enough, when in reality what I didn’t have enough of was time. Being a single mother means you will never have enough time in the day to do what married couples do seemingly effortlessly because there is only one of you. In addition to working a full time job I have to help the kids with homework, I have to feed them, I have to wash their clothes, I have to meet with their teachers and take them to the doctor when they get sick which means I have to miss work when they get sick. It is that last one that is the real career killer and why it is I have forged a career where I can work from home. I still don’t have enough time but at least no one can threaten to fire me because my child has strep throat for the fourth time this year. Yes, I actually got fired for that.

And then I went out and found another job and another job all the while letting the things like laundry, cooking and cleaning go as well as only half paying attention to homework because I spent so much time looking for a job that wasn’t based solely on commission.

I have taken more shitty jobs than I care to recount and most of them ended poorly because the groups I worked for were shady at best. As a single mom who has been floating from one job to another for the last two decades I don’t get the interviews for companies that are trustworthy or stable. I get called back to the fly by night companies, mostly sales positions.

  • I have sold used cars and even continued after a ‘customer’ taking a test drive stated he could drive me anywhere and kill me and no one would ever know.
  • I have sold credit card processing to business owners who could not understand the terms of what they were signing.
  • I have sold Melalueca and other multi level marketing products which always cost me more than I made.
  • I have worked at retail shops making minimum wage.
  • I have worked for several questionable online companies of which I am too ashamed to list here.
  • I have cleaned houses.
  • I have even cleaned and painted properties for my real estate agent ex husband.
  • I never thought I would ever take any of these jobs but I have lived through two recessions and now there isn’t any job that is beneath me.
  • I have considered turning tricks and I have considered suicide on more than one occasion.

Not that I want to die or have sex with strangers for money but after trying everything else and still coming up short I’ve wondered if the kids wouldn’t be better off with someone who could support them. Friends and family aren’t the only ones who judge you as a single mom, pretty soon you start to do it too.

And that’s just the financial side of being a single mom.

It gets worse. You see there is no one there when a child spikes a fever in the middle of the night, to take turns cleaning up vomit or soothe the sick child. There is no one there to tell you everything is going to be okay when you don’t know how you are going to make it through one more day. There is never anyone there to back you up when trying to set boundaries for your kids, and no one ever says “Listen to your mother” and “Don’t talk to to your mother that way”. When you tell the kids if they do that one more time you will pull the car over, they know you won’t because as a single mother you just want to get from point A to point B without stopping, probably because you are almost out of gas.

As a single mother you are Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. You are the one who explains all the hard lessons of life and you are the one who more often than not has to tell them they can’t go to camp, play in an after school sport or take swimming lessons because it is just not in the budget. You are the one who has to explain to them that they won’t be able to do most of the things other kids do like go to Disney Land.

While I am not suggesting women stay in marriages that are abusive or where addiction is involved I am here to tell you that no matter how bad you think it is being married with children it is a million times harder being single with children. Forget dating, forget going out with your girlfriends, forget shopping and forget looking your age.

You see, once you are a single mom it’s hard to catch up. Being poor is really expensive and since you probably won’t have a financial net it will cost you dearly. Late payments and overdraft fees add up and you get both because even though everyone tells you not to count on child support you do anyway because it is money coming to you and all that stuff about it being a law. The bank doesn’t care that your child support payment didn’t come and they don’t care if a client didn’t pay. They are in charge of your money so you learn to suck it up in the hopes that they won’t take all of it.  As a single mom you have to make hard choices. Processed food is less expensive than healthy food and it keeps longer. You can feed your kids a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese for about $2 or you can spend a lot more and give them something healthy. Healthy eating is a luxury.

Of course you can’t share all of this with your kids because they have enough to worry about and don’t need to know about the things that keep you from sleeping most nights. It’s hard enough for any kid to grow up these days, they don’t need the added stress.

There are certainly single moms out there who are doing well.  Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, Cheryl Crowe and other celebrities can easily afford to hire nannies and other domestic help and they make it look easy but most of us aren’t celebrities. Still, you hear of women who wrote books, started successful businesses and climbed the corporate ladder all while raising their kids on their own.  I don’t know how they did it, and I have asked God (or whoever is up there running things) numerous times to please share the secret with me because so far I haven’t figured it out. He hasn’t answered me yet but I’m still hopeful.

Of course it isn’t all doom and gloom. If you work hard enough and your kids stay healthy you can expect to achieve in 18 years what normal people do in six months.

I don’t know what I would do with those billions of dollars that the hedge fund guys earn. I can’t even imagine having that much money. Knowing what I know I would do something to help other single women who were struggling like I have. I’ve often fantasized about winning the lottery when it gets really high. I don’t buy lottery tickets so my chances of winning aren’t very good but occasionally I drive by one of the billboards with the jackpot amount all lit up and it gets me thinking what I would do with something like $315 million. While I would certainly stock my pantry, fix my leaky basement, pay off my car and maybe even take the kids to Disney Land I don’t know that I would do anything extravagant.

I would love the feeling of depositing that kind of money in my bank and watching them come to me to do a little ass kissing. And then I would give it to an accountant somewhere else so they never got their hands on any of it. I fantasize about that a lot. I also dream of having envelopes of cash, say $10,000,  at the ready so when I see a mom in the grocery store who is disheveled, telling her kids no to all the candy and toys and who clearly hasn’t slept in days (in other words a single mom because if not she would have left the kids at home) I can just hand it over to her and walk away. It wouldn’t solve all her problems, not even close, but for a few days she might just be able to breathe.

 

 

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Blogging Events Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off Winter

Twin Cities Blizzard-December 2010

December 12, 2010
Twin Cities Blizzard Dec. 2010, Snowmaggedon, Too much snow, I hate snow, winter sucks, Minnesota Winter

I’ve missed you internet. First it was the trojan* that incapacitated my PC and laptop and then this! I was almost back online when this monster of a storm hit late Friday night. I wasn’t the least bit prepared for it and ran to the store, like everyone else in my neighborhood, at 8pm. The shelves were empty but I made do by grabbing some sauerkraut, corned beef, swiss and pumpernickel. I threw it all in a Crock Pot and called it good.

And it was.

The mood around my house was pretty jovial. It was a Friday night, the snow hadn’t begun in earnest and everyone was still having a pretty good time. My daughter and I were playing a marathon game of Plants VS Zombies and my son was out getting his eyebrow pierced. The heat was cranked up, the Christmas movies were playing on TV and all was good.

I woke up the next morning (Saturday) and looked outside, the snow had stopped for the time being and it didn’t look as if we had more than 6 inches on the ground. 6 inches is nothing so I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled in for a couple of hours until the rest of the house woke up. I stepped outside when I let the dog out and noticed my neighbor shoveling. We exchanged “good morning”s and talked a little about the weather and what was still headed our way. I remember thinking to myself that my neighbor is a little obsessed with shoveling. I was was far more practical and was going to wait until the snow had stopped falling officially.

I say officially because the snow had stopped only for a brief moment, the worst was yet to come, and come it did.

24 hours later we had nearly 20 inches of new snow on the ground. The 5th worst snowstorm in recorded history for the Twin Cities, proving that Global Warming is oh so real because I have been alive for all five of these storms.

I have a snow blower but I can’t figure out how to start it. Either it’s the choke that is messing me up or it doesn’t work. I’m not really sure. I asked my brother if I could borrow his (because his used to be mine until we traded two years ago when I moved to a smaller lot and didn’t need as much power and width). He sent me a text message saying it was out of gas.

Now, I know my brother and how he doesn’t like confrontation of any kind. I also know that he is willing to lie if it suits his purposes. I also know he has been out in the snow all day long and the last thing he wants to do is help his sister out.  Actually, it doesn’t matter if he has been in the snow all day or not, he never wants to help out his sister.

Instead of confronting him on any of these things I just played right along with him and texted back to him that I had a can of gas in my garage. He responded that I could come and get it since he was finished with it until they plowed.

If I could actually get to my garage and get my car out it I wouldn’t need to borrow the fucking snow blower.

Because I have a very passive – aggressive relationship with my brother (for reasons he won’t share with me), I simply said I couldn’t get either vehicle out due to the drifts and then I said “thanks anyway”.

I’m not sure why I thanked him.

It is 7:15pm as I type this and we just finished shoveling the car out. We haven’t yet shoveled out the truck, there is still four feet of snow between the truck and the alley that needs to be removed and there just isn’t any place left to put the damn snow.

My son and I actually considered sharing a car until spring.

* I am virus free now but not without all kinds of hell. I still haven’t managed to reinstall all my software and while I backed everything up I haven’t taken any of it off the hard drive. I have all kinds of posts that are just itching to get out (just ask me about the Minnesota bloggers who snubbed me) but until I get my computer back up to speed and catch up with work, you will have to wait. But consider this: why do we only hear Stevie Wonder songs at Christmas?

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Kids Music Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off Winter

Fuck Christmas

December 1, 2010
A Christmas tree inside a home.
Image via Wikipedia

That’s right, I said it. We’re all thinking it in the back of our minds so why not say it?

Thanksgiving was pretty much swallowed whole by Christmas. Even before we carved that turkey I got 687 emails about great deals on gifts for Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Not one of them was enough of a deal to make me sell a kidney or get my ass out of bed at 3am. $40 off on an iPad and I might have sold something but those don’t go on sale. And, I’m not going to get one anyway, even though it is all I really want in the whole wide world, though a Dyson or even a Kindle would make me happy too. No, if I want one of those I am going to have to buy it myself and that isn’t going to happen because I just finished paying off last Christmas.

Of course it isn’t about the gifts that I am not going to get. Christmas is about good will toward men and forgiveness and the birth of some baby, it’s not about the commercialism at all. I just wish someone would tell that to the stores, the media and my kids.

The Music

It’s only December 1st and for the last month two of my favorite radio stations have been playing non-stop Christmas music, I like myself a little Jingle Bells, but not before Thanksgiving. Even Billy Idol’s Jingle Bell Rock can be fun once in a while but no one, and I mean no one, needs to hear *NSYNC’s version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Give me some Bing Crosby, and even pair him up with David Bowie but please stop playing Celine Dion and that dreadful Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. That one will stick in your head until the 4th of July.

The Food

It starts with Thanksgiving, you have all those leftovers. Pie, turkey, and mashed potatoes and then before you know it you are snarfing down Hershey’s Kisses like there is no tomorrow. You can’t stop with just one.   As much as I would love to spend the entire holiday season in a state of drunkenness, just to make it more bearable, I can’t. I have kids, I sometimes have to drive them places and show up for school functions. Since I can’t drink my way through the holidays I eat instead. I eat things I wouldn’t normally eat any other time of the year. In fact I eat things I don’t even like that much but because it is the holiday and there is a tradition involved. I eat herring. I don’t even like herring but I eat it. I eat those little Russian Tea Cakes because it’s Christmas time. I’ve even been known to eat marzipan, just to see if I might like it now that I am an adult. I don’t, it still sucks.  It used to be that the holiday eating season lasted from Thanksgiving to New Years but now it starts at Halloween and lasts through Valentine’s Day. That leaves us with only eight months to lose it all before it starts again. Which pretty much rules out any travel to warm places.

Traveling

I don’t travel during the holidays. Hell, I don’t travel anywhere these days but if I were to go on some luxury holiday I’d have to get felt up at the airport first. As much as I am looking for some adult company I don’t really care for it by strangers, especially when they are getting paid and I am not. I’m really sick of all the news reports showing the lines at the airport, the stories of people who have been snowed in and are sleeping at the airport. You know what? I don’t care. They are going somewhere which means they are getting away from where ever they are at the moment. I don’t get away and if I did I’d probably have to bring my kids with me. Those people, the ones stuck in the airport with little kids, I do feel sorry for but the rest of the people can suck it. Its winter, it snows, airports have delays, get over it and suck it up.  If you don’t want to sleep at the airport then take your holiday vacation in the summer.

Relatives

What is about the holiday season that makes some people think you must reestablish cut ties? There is a reason we don’t get together the rest of the year, why spoil it by hanging out on Christmas or Christmas Eve? That’s right, we’re related. Thankfully I don’t have any in laws anymore and I don’t have to go to their house and force down over cooked roast beef, drink really cheap wine and then sing songs around the fake fireplace. I don’t have to act happy and excited when I open the third set of bath salts, squelching the impulse to tell them I don’t take baths, I’m a shower kind of girl. There is currently a commercial on TV for a book from the rehab center Passages. I can’t remember the title but the copy says something like “Buy my book and you can be sober for the holidays”. Why would anyone want to be sober for the holidays? If I have to spend time with my relatives you can bet I am going to have my buzz on.

The Ads on TV

The ads on TV probably cause more depression than all the other things about Christmas combined. Who gets a car for Christmas? Someone must be getting a car because they wouldn’t have these commercials suggesting such a thing if it didn’t work. I want to meet these people who get cars for Christmas and then I want them to set me up with their brother.

What about jewelry? The only jewelry I ever got for Christmas, besides the monogrammed stick pin my brother gave me when I was 10, was a bracelet from my first husband. The only reason I got that was because his original gift was an iron and that just didn’t fly. I’m not counting my macaroni bracelet and necklace sets because Jared doesn’t sell those. Next to the Mercedes for Christmas those have to be the most ridiculous Christmas ads ever. If I ever got a gift from Jared, and someone actually said “He went to Jared!” I think I throw it at him. Or the people who said “He went to Jared!” not sure who would be more annoying.

Why don’t we see ads for gifts for men? Aside from the Santa on the electric shaver I can’t think of any ads for men’s clothing or even power tools.  Of course that might be because I am too busy throwing things at the TV during the car and Jared commercials that I just don’t notice them.

Gifts for the kids

Now that my son is older he is easy to buy for, he knows what he wants and he has a pretty good idea of the budget I am working with. The 7 year old daughter not so much. She has no concept of what these things cost and she isn’t the least interested in learning. She just wants it all. Granted, the items on her wish list are less expensive individually but she expects Santa to bring presents still and she doesn’t understand that the elves have gone on strike because Santa can’t afford the union dues anymore. Santa is bringing things like socks and underwear this year, crappy gifts that are practical and kill two birds with one stone. I feel bad because when I was a kid I did get the Barbie Townhouse and I would love to get her one except I would have to put it together, I would have to fix it when it broke and I would have to pay for it by taking out a second mortgage on my house.

Decorating

I haven’t even thought about decorating yet. That’s not really true, last weekend I almost gathered the kids and dragged them to the tree farm but that was a passing thought and eventually it went away. It went away because I realized I would then have to drag out all the lights, ornaments and other Christmas decorations just so I could bitch for three hours while I put it all together. I have a hard time enjoying the lights and smell of the tree when I know I am just going to have to take it all down in a few weeks.

It seems to me the holiday depression is kicking in a little early this year. Usually I make it through at least one viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life before the blues kick me. I’m not ready to slit my wrists and I’m not going to skip Christmas but knowing I’m not getting that iPad, Dyson or Kindle makes slogging through the holiday season just a little harder each year. Thankfully, I have Kalua.

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That's Why!

November 22, 2010
Photo of an Oreo cookie on a white table.
Image via Wikipedia

I am one of those parents who say Because I said so, I say it a lot. I say it more than I thought I ever would which is a lot because when I was young I promised myself that I would never be one of those mothers who said it.

Of course I was stupid and childless at the time.

I say Because I said so not because I am power hungry and want to exert my authority,  I say it because words fail me when I have to repeat the same reason over and over. I can’t usually articulate myself in the moment but I have a few minutes here so here are the reasons why I say Because I said so.

Because I don’t feel like cleaning up paints and clay at 9:30pm.

Because the recycling man comes at 7:30am, and I’d rather do my nagging on Thursday night than Friday morning.

Because, God Dammit, Christmas doesn’t officially start until after Thanksgiving!

Because I spent the whole fucking weekend putting the house back together and you did that in less than five minutes.

Because the cat really doesn’t enjoy being carried all day long.

Because techno dance music does not lull me to sleep.

Because the dog is hungry and he’s bugging me, and because he’s your dog.

Because we cannot live on a diet of Oreos and cheese popcorn.

Because I just spent a fortune straightening those teeth.

Because you smell.

Because I said so!

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Kids Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

The Reason

May 10, 2010

See this?

It’s my kitchen sink, a single kitchen sink.

Pretty innocuous right?

It’s not.

 

It should look like this.

 

 

But it doesn’t.

It looks like this,

not even three minutes after I said these words:

“Unless it needs to soak, it doesn’t belong in the sink.”

I used a lot more words before those words were spoken, such as I’m tired of nagging everyone about putting the dishes in the dishwasher, and Are you listening to me?

Those pleas were answered with:

I get it mom, you don’t need to keep telling me this.

Apparently he doesn’t, and I do.

If the dishes can make it to the sink there is no reason they can’t make it to the dishwasher.

There are no excuses.

I’m telling all of you about this because when they interview my neighbors I don’t want anyone saying something like this:

“She was always so nice. I don’t know what made her lose it and hold up a bank with her wrist rocket”

I’ll tell you what made me hold up a bank with my wrist rocket:

I need a vacation.

It should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway.

Without my kids.

I haven’t had a real, grown up, vacation in 8 years. In fact the last time I took a vacation I ended up with my most recent kid. Thankfully I’ve solved that little problem.

I could probably swing the hotel and airfare (because at this point I need to go far away) by selling a cornea or two. If anyone needs a couple of corneas please send me an email.

The problem is, airfare and hotel are just the beginning.

I also need to kennel the dog for a week. Which means getting his shots caught up.

I would need to find a responsible adult, who is willing to watch my kids for a week. They’d probably want to be paid too.

I’d need to buy some clothes because as much as I have given up caring about my appearance, if I make it out of town, preferably someplace warm but I’m not really picky about that, I need to wear something besides paint covered sweat pants that are four sizes too large.

I know I shouldn’t complain. There are tons of single moms out there who have way more children than I do. But TLC isn’t making reality shows about Midwestern moms who wear paint stained sweat pants for three days in a row. Ty Pennington isn’t going to remodel my house because Extreme Home Makeover doesn’t do that for single moms with only two kids. I’d need eight more and at least one in a wheelchair.

As far as I can tell there is no charity set up for single mom bloggers who can’t come up with a decent post because they are in desperate need of a vacation. I’ve looked, I know, there isn’t one.

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I've Decided To Have Another Baby

April 8, 2009

Not because I want to be pregnant again.
Not because I want swollen ankles or no waist again.
Not because I want bloody nipples or leaking boobs again.
Not because I miss flipping one out every two hours or using that damn pump again.
Not because I miss the pitter patter of little feet.
Not because I never want to sleep through the night again
Not because I miss wearing puke on my left shoulder.
Not because I love scraping peanut butter off the bottom of the fridge.
Not because I enjoy spending all my money on people who are thankless.
Not because I love spending my nights administering medicine.
Not because I love nagging.
Not because I love driving them to all of their activities and in the process have forgotten to have life.
Not because I love doing their homework.
Not because I will (hopefully) miss those three hour long dinners waiting for the picky one to eat enough to sustain a gerbil.
Not because I have too much time on my hands.

No, the reason I have decided I want another baby is that both my other kids were c-sections. The next one is an automatic c-section. That would mean I would get up to 5 days in the hospital. 5 days of someone bringing me meals. 5 days of no cooking, cleaning, nagging, driving, worrying (yeah I know that one isn’t true).
And that will be like going to a spa for a week.

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Installation

January 7, 2009

My electrician arrived yesterday and after getting caught up he got down to work. My electrician has finished every project that ex #2 (also an electrician) has ever started. He has been fixing my problems for the last five years so we had a little catching up to do. My daughter used to think he was way cool because he once had lunch with one of the Wiggles. She’s not so impressed by that fact anymore but was pleased that he hung around after he was finished and created a Mii that looked just like Michael Jackson. But I’m getting off track.

After installing the plug, he and my son lugged the broken dryer up the stairs to take outside. Measuring was done to make sure it would fit up the stairway but only at the bottom of the stairway. My stairway, from the basement to the first floor, evidently shrinks as you go up. So they hauled it back down and turned it and tried again. Since the dryer was broken I didn’t care if they had to force it through. Which is what they had to do. Once they got the broken dryer out they grabbed the dryer from the garage, that hopefully works, and reversed the process. Again measuring of the machine was completed but not the vent/exhaust connectors at the bottom that stuck out just enough so the damn thing wouldn’t fit. Since this one presumably did work I really didn’t want them to force it through the door opening.

After looking at the situation (with the door to the outside off and letting in all the cold air) it was clear that drastic measures had to be taken. My options were few. Get it in or buy a new one that would fit.

“Let’s just take a Sawz-All to the doorway” I suggested.

“You really aren’t afraid of anything are you?” My electrician asked.

I might not care about defacing my kitchen but my electrician was not willing to. He slowly and methodically pulled off the trim to the doorway leading to the basement. Because he would be putting it all back together he wanted to make sure that he didn’t split any of the pieces of wood. He did a fine job of taking my doorway apart and they managed to get the dryer down though it was still a tight squeeze.

After the dryer was installed and checked to make sure it worked (it did!) they loaded the washing machine onto the hand truck and were going to haul it out and bring the one in the garage in.

“Don’t you think it might be better to bring the one in the garage down and make sure it works before you haul out this one?” I asked.

“Nah, it’ll work.” My electrician assured me.

“I’m not so sure, it’s been sitting in my garage for a year and a half. My garage was flooded last winter and there was two inches of ice coating the floor of the garage. The machines were stuck in the ice.” I explained.

“Okay, maybe you have a point.” My electrician conceded.

So they brought the other down but did not uninstall the old once since the newer one had ice in the bottom of it. We decided to let it thaw out for a day and then see what happens.

Before the door dissembling took place my electrician and I had gone through the house to make a list of the other jobs that needed to be done. The lights in the bedrooms and the switches on the second floor. He also took a look at my dishwasher since the new one was coming today. When the door business happened, and it took at least an hour to take it all apart, everything else got forgotten. So he forgot to unhook my dishwasher. He said he would be back on Saturday, since neither of us had a life, and would finish the rest then. I thanked him profusely and let him leave.

The dishwasher was supposed to be delivered today but they hadn’t called the night before to let me know when so I assumed they were not coming today. This was actually a good thing since I hadn’t gotten the old one out and figured I could go a few more days washing dishes by hand. I put the dishwasher out of my thoughts and decided that I would see if the washing machine worked.

After putzing around with the connections, forgetting to turn the water off, spraying the whole laundry room, turning the water off and then unhooking the connection and then reversing the process with the newer machine I started it up. And it worked. Pretty well.

It doesn’t spin all that wonderfully but I think it is because the machine is not level. Really not level. I tried to adjust the little feet but they wouldn’t budge. My electrician likes to play with his level so I left it for him to mess with. I don’t have any laundry at this point so no biggie until Saturday.

The phone rings and it’s the dishwasher people calling to let me know the dishwasher will arrive between 10:30 and 12:30. I got this call at 10:00.

I had rented a hand truck yesterday for the dryer but had returned it. When I ordered the dishwasher I did not get the installation since I figured I could do it myself. Big mistake. So now I know my dishwasher is coming. I have no way to remove the old one, and I don’t know how to get the old one out. I did not want to have an extra dishwasher sitting in my teeny tiny kitchen until Saturday. So I did what any woman worth her weight would do.

I put on makeup and a slinky top.

Five minutes later, the delivery guys were at my front door with my new dishwasher. Two young guys with lots of muscle.

They easily brought it through the front door and set it down in my kitchen.

“So is your husband going to install it for you?” The one who talked asked.

“No, there isn’t one anymore, I thought I could probably figure it out on my own.” I said as I smiled and flipped my hair off my shoulder.

“Well we have a few more deliveries in this area and we are ahead of schedule so we could come back and help you if you can unhook the water and the electrical cord. We’ll even take the old one away for you if you like.” The one who spoke said.

“Really, that is so nice of you.” I said as I tried to bat my eyelashes.

“You okay, got something in your eye ma’am?” The one who spoke asked.

So he showed me how to unhook the water supply and even turned off the water for me. He said they would be back shortly. Apparently they cannot mess with my water or electricity unless they are hired to install it. Since I had not gotten the installation they were happy to do the lifting and showing me what to do but could not actually mess with the connections. I was cool with that and bopped down to the basement to turn off the electricity in the kitchen.

Two breakers are clearly marked “Kitchen” on my service panel. I flipped them both to the off position and bopped back upstairs daydreaming about the clean dishes I will soon have. When I got upstairs I notice the light in the kitchen is still on, the clocks on both the microwave and coffee maker are still on and everything else is still working.

That’s not good on so many levels.

To be continued…

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Dumb Shit I Do Send Jen on a Vacation

The Electrician Arrives Tomorrow

January 5, 2009

So I didn’t get to my new SEO Monday post. I’ll try again tomorrow. No, today I had to go to the laundromat again, and hopefully for the last time since tomorrow….

The Electrician Is Coming!

He’s coming to install the four pronged plug that I need for my dryer that has been sitting in my garage for the last year and a half. Not only is he going to be installing my dryer (he doesn’t know this yet but indeed he will be moving the dryer from the garage to the basement and carrying the old one out) but he is also going to be the bearer of light in my house. I’m so excited about this I could pee.

So I have to make sure the house is in tip top shape for the coming of the electrician. I can’t afford to offend him by my unkempt house with dog hair everywhere. I’ve bought some wonderful coffee and have ordered a catered snack to arrive midday. I don’t know if it’s enough but he’s certainly worth the effort.

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Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off

My Traditional Christmas Whine

December 25, 2008

It didn’t turn out like I hoped it would and it didn’t turn out like I thought it would. It was much worse. But it started off really good.

Christmas is not my favorite time of year. I love the holiday and I love seeing my kids on Christmas morning. I complain about my family but they are mine and I do love them and I really do enjoy spending time with them. As long as I get to go home.

I don’t know about other single parents but for me Christmas is a roller coaster. I have to split the holiday and the kids up so they can spend time with their dad. Ex #1 celebrates Christmas a week early and has as long as I have known him. This works out well since we don’t have to manage the bisecting of the two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Ex #2 was supposed to have daughter for Christmas Eve from 9am to 8pm. That was the schedule we agreed upon years ago when we got divorced. We haven’t really stuck to it that much since I have included him in our festivities so we didn’t have to make our daughter go with one parent or the other. This year we fell back on the decree because he is taking me to court to try to dismiss or lower his child support obligation. I’m nice but not nice enough to include him when he is taking me to court.

Three weeks ago I called my brother to figure out what and when we were going to celebrate the day with our mother. Mom is in a nursing home and because she is so frail I am afriad to transfer her into and out of a car anymore. I am afriad I will break something. So we needed to procure a ride from a mobility company. This is why I was asking said brother three weeks early. He wanted to do the celebration at his home but said he didn’t know anything at that time. There was more to it but it’s not worth going into. But suffice to say that he felt it was not my place to try to arrange things when it was his party. So I left it on his plate. When we talked he did say he wanted to do something on Christmas day rather than the eve.

I didn’t hear anything from my brother until the 23rd and ex #2 didn’t contact me until yesterday. I am not the most organized person but it is not for my lack of trying. Brother called and said he was having a hard time getting a ride. No shit, really? You had a hard time getting transportation for the handicap two days before you need it? In his defense he wouldn’t know this since he never took mom to the doctor or any appointments. That is my job. And why I called three weeks in advance, but now I’m being snarky. Long story short he got a ride but had to change the day to Christmas Eve. Fine, grandma just won’t get to see my daughter. We can live with that. He asked me to make a few desserts and some other stuff so I spent the rest of Tuesday evening running errands.

This is where it gets good.

I get home that night and check my blogs and email. I had an email from Paypal saying I had received a donation. I have had the damn donation button up there for at least six months and had honestly forgotten about since I had only ever gotten one donation. And that one was from a friend. I don’t make money off this blog. I try but nobody clicks on the stupid ads that have nothing do with what I am writing about, and I don’t blame them. They suck. I read the email again and was sure there was a typo or someone was playing a joke on me. It was a very generous donation. I checked my paypal account and saw that it wasn’t a joke. The money was really there. I sent a “thank you” to the donor sure that they would notice their mistake of an extra 0. They sent me a “your welcome”. So it was for real. I could breathe for a few days because of this donation. I was so touched and tickled that someone, a stranger, would give me this gift. I would be able to pay a few bills that I honestly didn’t know how I was going to pay. I also knew I had to give a little back so I tucked a nice chunk into the kettle where Santa was ringing his bell. That morning there had been an apartment fire in a nearby suburb and I felt bad that I couldn’t do anything to help the people who had all lost everything only days before Christmas. This person’s donation allowed me to do that and it felt wonderful.

I don’t get presents for Christmas. It has been ages since there was anything under the tree for me. I’m used to it but I still don’t like it. I don’t know how to change it is the problem. I make my kids buy something for each other and thier dads but have a hard time telling them they must buy or make something for me. I just can’t bring myself to beg so I don’t. They don’t seem to notice. So I know it’s going to turn out this way, I’m whining I know, but I try to focus on the fact that we are all together and everyone is healthy. And that is a wonderful gift. It is not lost on me that things are really pretty good.

So the day began to taper down. Ex #2 didn’t pick up daughter yesterday. He texted me and said he would be picking her up today at 4. I didn’t even point out that it was not his day. It worked out well since she was able to see grandma. Everyone was happy.

She is gone for ten minutes. I was finally getting a moment of peace. I cleaned up the house and ran the dishwasher. It started leaking all over the kitchen floor. It’s a piece of shit and it doesn’t even really clean, the dog does a better job of getting the dishes clean but it had never leaked before. I mopped it up and made a note to myself to pull it out and see if I could find the leak. I continued cleaning up the wrapping paper and plastic packaging from the days glorious festivities. I even considered pouring myself a glass of wine (which I am now having). As I am thinking about sitting down for the first time today my son comes running up from the basement where his room is. He is talking about his toilet and how it is leaking. He is speaking quickly, the way kids do when they have done something wrong but know they must tell you since there is damage happening as they speak and they need help.

“Jiggle the handle” I tell him.

“It’s not a jiggle thing mom. I think it needs to be plunged but the whole floor is covered in water so I didn’t plung it.”

I run downstairs and indeed the whole floor is in about two inches of water. He is has read my mind and is trying to explain to me how it is that there is so much water that he didn’t notice. It’s not two inches in just the bathroom but the whole basement. The cat has stuffed her squishy ball in the drain in the laundry room so it isn’t going down.

I run to the toilet and try to turn off the water. I can’t budge it, it’s rusted in the open postion. I jiggle the handle because I can. I then grab the plunger and plung. The water goes down the pot and at least isn’t spilling over any longer. The water is still dripping out of a crack in the bowl but at least it is not coming out as quickly. I run to grab a wrench so I can shut off the water.

My son’s bathroom is disgusting. It’s disgusting before the toilet overflowed but I am kneeling in this water trying to get at the valve. My hair is in the water and my pants are soaked. He just stands there not knowing what to do. I can’t tell him what to do because I am on auto pilot. Stop the water before it gets to his computer is all I can think of. I grab the wet/dry vac that doesn’t work and tried to suck up the water. I put the hose in the wrong outlet and sprayed water all over the place. At this point I’m laughing my ass off and my son thinks I am crazy. He wants to know if I am mad at him.

“For what?” I ask.
“Making a big poop” he says.

I’m not mad and it isn’t his fault. Things just came together at one time and created a huge mess. We sucked up as much water and filth as we could and loaded everything into the washing machine. I was not expecting the dishwasher to break, I wasn’t expecting the toilet to break, I have been expecting the washing machine and dryer to break for the last year. I suspect this will be the day that it happens.

So I need a new toilet and a new dishwasher (I didn’t even mention the snow blower that broke last week) Merry Christmas to me.

I apologize to everyone, this is really way too long but I do feel better having told my story. The wine didn’t hurt either.

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