Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why my husband gets to buy an obnoxiously large television

I went in to talk to our mortgage broker yesterday to hash out the details of our new home loan. He is such a great guy. He shops at our comic book store, I cut the whole family's hair, and his wife is our attorney. It's so great to have friends in high places.

I was a little nervous to find out what our new payment would be. We are moving from one of the least desirable neighborhoods in town to a much nicer area. I made peace with the fact that our property taxes would be much higher than they are now and that our house payment would reflect that. Also our new house, while not some giant McMansion in a swanky subdivision, cost considerably more than our house now.

The Jeffersons vibe wore off once I sat down and did the math in my head--or so I thought.

The other day I made a call over to the tax assessor to get the scoop on my new tax bill. I could have cried tears of joy when she gave me the number. Our new tax bill will not be the thousand (or higher) more a year than I thought, but a mere few hundred. High fives all around!

Then yesterday's meeting at the bank was on the docket, and again (being the crazed worrier that I am), I got that sick feeling in my stomach thinking about how we were going to swing a bigger mortgage payment. I could always go back to work, but childcare ate up so much of my income when I was working that it felt like walking up the down escalator.

Then Mr. Awesomekickass Bank Guy laid it on me, and my jaw hit the desk.

He looked worried. "Are you alright? Is this higher than you were expecting?"

I regained my composure, stopped myself from jumping over the desk, and told him that it was NO WHERE NEAR what I thought we would be paying.

In the last 5 years or so, I've made it a point to pay just a bit more than what the payment ticket states. There are boxes to check to indicate where the overage should go. Sometimes I checked "principle" and sometimes I checked "escrow" (to cover increases in property taxes). It's not much, but after a few years, it makes a difference. I did the same thing with my car payment and got it paid off a year early. It got to the point where I didn't even think about the little bit extra I paid each month. I just worked it into the budget.

So, he shows me the number again. I am stunned.

Our payment is going up $55. FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS.

With the proceeds from the sale of our current house, we'll have enough left (after closing costs, realtor commission, and the down payment on the new house) to pay off the credit cards completely and get the immediate need items (washer/dryer, paint, dining room table, etc.). All this and our payment is only going up less than a hundred dollars a month.

I'm still in shock.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Perspective

The world, according to my almost 3 year old.


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The artist:
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

And now, onto the more important stuff


I'm still riding the adrenaline high (and the hangover low) of having my house sold.

GodDAMN am I a happy camper!

The couple that bought it has a 5 year old son and are engaged. It's good to know a growing family is moving in and not some investor who might chop it up into apartments like happens to so many old houses around here.

It only took a few hours of back and forth haggling, but it was relatively painless compared to the first round of bullshit we went through a few weeks back.

We will close on our new house June 5th and close on this one June 28th, which gives us a good three weeks of moving time.

It was so weird to wake up this morning and not have to immediately start picking up and cleaning. Good thing too because the celebratory vodka tonics last night would have made the task most unpleasant.

The best part, and solid proof of how much of a total June Cleaver I have become, is that I am beyond excited to go buy a new washer and dryer. I know I want high efficiency front loaders, but that's about it. I went online yesterday to price compare not realizing just how many different brands there were.

So, it's down to you: the handful of people who might happen to be reading this schlock. Pimp me some washer and dryer combos. I need guidance here.

Just remember, choose wisely. You don't want me cursing your name every time I sort my laundry.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Aw Yeah, Bitches

Today Mina graduated from preschool.

Today we had to be out of the house for two hours while someone came through.

Today I slammed Audrey's thumb in the car door.

Today I sold my motherfuckin' house.

And now I'm drunk.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

If you can't say anything nice, we're probably best friends

The girls were out of town this weekend so Jim and I decided to do the one thing we never get to do in peace while they are here...

Go out to dinner, of course. (What did you think I was talking about?)

It was a 30-40 minute wait for a table, so we settled in at the bar. It was nice to just sit and have an uninterrupted conversation. I ran into a couple of old clients and caught up with them. Then we chatted with a family of Jim's regular customers that was also waiting for a table.

Then my old boss walked in.

His name is Joe. His was the first salon I ever worked at. I apprenticed there during my last third of beauty school and worked full time there for a couple years beyond.

The salon was Joe's first forray out on his own. The salon was brand new when he took me on as an apprentice. He had just left a place where he had worked for over 10 years, and swore up and down he wouldn't make the same mistakes his former boss had. Right.

To be honest, it was never really Joe that I didn't get along with. He may have been a decent hairstylist, but he wasn't what one would consider a scholar. It was easy to ignore his pissy episodes because he just wasn't a very smart man. It's not nice to pick on slow people.

No, my problem was with the Mister of his relationship: Tom.

Tom was Joe's longtime boyfriend. Joe treated him like shit and Tom took it. It was kind of embarrassing to watch.

Tom and I butted heads almost immediately. Tom was a cunt in every faction of the word. He was 15 years older than Joe (and a good 25 years older than me), and thought because he was older, he automatically was wiser.

In the first few months of my employment Joe took us all to a class in Chicago. For reasons I'll never figure out, Tom tagged along. I'm pretty sure Tom was there only to make sure Joe didnn't get into any trouble. He may have been a doormat, but he also took on the role of smothering mother hen at every opportunity. I think he knew that if Joe had the chance to have any fun, he would leave Tom behind in the dust.

At breakfast before the class, a song I recognized was playing.

"I love Ella Fitzgerald," I shared. "I have this album at home. My Aunt bought it for me a few years ago."

"This isn't Ella Fitzgerald," Tom snorted through his disgusting white moustache.

"Yeah, I'm sure it is. I have this at home. It's a collection of Cole Porter songs."

Tom seemed to enjoy the fact that he was "putting me in my place". How could I, at 22 years old, possibly know anything about jazz legends? "It's Billie Holiday, dear."

Then I was pissed. I know it was just a stupid song, but I knew I was right. Why take it any further? But I wasn't ready to back down.

"Look, I know I'm right on this one." Everyone at the table stopped talking and waited to see the next move.

What I didn't know at the time, being so new to this circle of friends, is that Tom does NOT like to be told he is wrong (by anyone but Joe, of course). They weren't afraid of him or anything. They just wanted to see if I could stand up to him.

I could see that he wasn't going to back down, and our food came anyway. I let it go with a, "I guess we'll have to agree to disagree" and a hearty eyeroll.

Minutes later Tom got up to "use the restroom". A few moments after he got back a waiter approached out table to check on our progress. Before walking away though he addressed Tom personally and said, "Sir, I checked with the manager. It's Ella Fitzgerald Sings Cole Porter."

Tom didn't talk to anyone for the rest of the meal.

During the next couple of years we had many more disagreements and stupid spats. I honestly can't believe he never made Joe fire me.

I ran into Tom years after I quit that salon. I was grocery shopping with Mina who wasn't yet 2 years old at the time. I caught Tom in the corner of my eye and felt a tinge of rage rising up. I decided that avoiding him would be the best course of action lest I swear in front of the immpressionable little sprout in my shopping cart.

He saw me though, and it was too late.

"Hiiiiii Chaylene!"

I shot him an icy glare.

"Don't you remember me? It's TOM!"

In my best bitch-on-a-stick tone, "Yes, I remember you."

His face fell, and he slowly turned away, "Oh..."

Immature? Maybe. But it felt good not to pretend to be nice just for the sake of civility. That's how I roll.

Years later I heard through the HairBitch gossip mill that Tom had walked into the backroom of the salon afterhours to find his beloved Joe getting a blowjob....from a woman. A woman Joe had been cheating on Tom with, and later married.

I know Joe saw Jim and I at the bar, but he made a concerted effort to avoid my gaze. He looked kind of scared to be honest. Maybe he remembered that he told me I would "fail miserably in my career" after I told him I was going to another salon. Maybe he remembered the snide remarks he made about what my husband does for a living (that he thought would never get back to me). Maybe he just knows that I wouldn't hesitate to to tell him to go fuck himself in front of his wife (I still don't get that) and friends. He never did talk to us though.

I suppose if he would have ventured over I would have put aside the past and forgave his stupidity and tantrums. I would have had the chance to shake his hand and thank him for humiliating Tom like I never could have.

Then I would have checked his wife for an Adam's Apple.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, fercryinoutloud

We dropped the asking price on Tuesday to try and spark some renewed interest, and it worked!

We had a showing Tuesday, Wednesday and THREE showings today.

Today was rough.

The first one was at 1:00 so I decided that after I picked the girls up from preschool I would take them out to lunch to kill some time. Then a woman called wanting to show the house between 2 and 3. OK, no problem. We just killed a little extra time. I had until 2:45 to pick the dogs up from the doggy daycare place anyway.

On my way to my home from picking up the dogs I got another call that someone wanted to see my house at 5:30.

That's when I started to get weary.

I left the house at 10:30 this morning to drop off the dogs and pick up the girls (who had left the house at 8:30 this morning. It was 3:00 at this point which meant I had at least another 3 hours to kill before I could take everyone home.

My kids were tired from the two hours we spent at the pizza place with a ball pit. (I know those things are gross, but it was in the 50's today, and too cold for the park). My dogs were tired from the four hours they spent sniffing butts and wrestling with other dogs. I was tired from shuttling to and fro all damn morning and afternoon with two kids and two dogs in the car.

We finally got to come home around 6:30. Poor Audrey was so tired that she passed out in the car on the way home and barely woke up while I changed her into pajamas. Mina made it through dinner and a bath, but was dead to the world after one short bedtime story.

I usually go out with a couple of friends for a drink on Thursday nights, but even that sounds like it would take too much effort. I don't know that I would be very good company tonight anyway.

I'm just bitchy and out of sorts so much of the time lately. I have to keep my house clean in case someone wants to see it. That part doesn't bother me so much as it is nice to have everything looking nice most of the time. I do hate having to scoop up the kids and the dogs at pretty much the drop of a hat. Audrey was in the process of giving up her nap anyway, but it didn't help that she keeps getting shuffled around town during her normal snooze time.

I know I should be excited that so many people are looking at the house, but I can't help but feel like I am being held hostage by this whole experience.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Daniel, my brother

Today my Mom told me something that kind of shocked me.

My younger brother was trying to figure out a way to buy my house (to rent out) to relieve me of the burden.

I was speechless for a second.

It's not that my brother don't get along. It's just that I never really see him anymore. He lives in NYC and has some fancy job that takes him all over the world. He doesn't always make it home for holidays either. Mostly we email back and forth once in a while. He sent me an email just the other day to make sure I knew Jerry Fallwell had bitten the dust (he knew I would appreciate the heads up).

As it turns out, there is some residency law that prohibits him from using the purchase of my house as a tax write off. I don't know how any of that works, and I'm certain my Mom's convoluted explaination didn't help any.

It was so touching that the kid that once ratted me out for smoking at the bus stop (I was in junior high! I was such a J.D., oy) has turned into such a would be benefactor.

I really should have been nicer to him when we were growing up.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cooler Than Jesus

Kick ass license plate I saw while out running errands today:

WWYDI

Saturday, May 12, 2007

But I don't have any freckles

I have red hair. I was born with it. It's been changed to just about every color of the rainbow at one time or another, but it is naturally red.

As a kid, everywhere I went, some old guy would invariably call me "Red" or "Carrot Top" which pissed me off. Even at 8 years old, I had no tolerance for elderly smartasses.

"'Bet she has a real temper, that one", some smarmy retiree would quip at my Mom while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Well, wouldn't you if you couldn't go anywhere without someone pointing out the painfully obvious?

People were fascinated by it. They would ask which side of the family it came from, then share some story about how their Great-Great Aunt on their Mother's side had red hair. I couldn't help but roll my eyes and pull on my Mom's arm to get the fuck out of there.

As I got older I grew to hate my natural born locks. I felt like some kind of freak. No one I knew had red hair, and we all know that when you've been saddled with a genetic rarity such as this, kids can and will be cruel.

It didn't help any that I was a really ugly kid. Oh, good times....

We also happened to live in southern California at the time, and in addition to having the pelo roja I was as pasty as the driven snow.

I remember idolizing Cyndi Lauper and Annie Lennox back in the day. Not because of their talent, but because they had red hair. I wasn't quite clued into the fact that theirs wasn't natural. I begged my Mother to shave a checkerboard in the side of my 'do like Ms. Lauper or crop it ultra-short like Annie. She gave me a horrified "no", and I was stuck with the long in the back/feathered sides and top (pretty much a longer version of a mullet). Hey, it was the early 80's! I know--still not a good excuse.

Later in my early teens, I was asked if the "curtains matched the drapes". It took me a few times of laughing uncomfortably with a puzzled look on my face before I was filled in on what that meant. Nothing like asking a 13 year old what color her pubic hair is. Classy.

A few years later I was introduced to the phrase "redheaded stepchild". I didn't know what it meant (honestly, I still don't) but I sensed it wasn't good.

After moving away from home, I experimented with an array of shades. I was every color from the whitest blond to the blackest black. Throw in a few shades of purple, blue and an unfortunate kelly green stint and my hair had seen it all.

And that was before I went to beauty school.

And then it happened. I made peace with my cranial hue.

One summer day, I was walking around campus minding my own damn business when a car full of frat boys zoomed by. One hung out the window and as they passed me yelled, "FIRE BUSH!".

It stopped me in my tracks.

Fire Bush? Really?

At first I was embarrassed, mortified and not just a little bit angry--stupid monkey boys with nothing better to do than sexually harass a lone woman taking a stroll.

Then, I was fascinated by the fact that walking down the street with red hair could elicit such a response from total (albeit undeniably cunty) strangers.

Maybe this red hair thing wasn't the detriment I'd always seen it as. Perhaps it held some kind of magical power. I liked that.

I haven't messed with the color of my hair for years now. I used to wear it in a really short pixie (think Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby). Now it's slowly making its way down the middle of my back. I'm not just wearing it--I'm wearing it.




And yes, the carpet matches the drapes.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Things to know before going to the salon

1. Don't be late.

Stylists work on a schedule. If one person is late, it can throw off the rest of their day, and that makes them cranky. Do you want a cranky person holding scissors an inch from your face? Didn't think so.

If you are going to be late, call ahead and let him/her know so at least they are prepared. But don't make it a habit or you may find they aren't able to get you in as easily as before.

2. Tip.

It doesn't have to be an extravagant amount, but leave something. Most stylists work on commission so they aren't seeing the entirety of what you pay for hair services. Add chemical fees and taxes to the mix and the amount the stylist sees is even less.

3. If you love your hair, tell your friends.

No amount of commercials or "specials" can replace word of mouth advertising. Stylists thrive on it to build their clientele. There is no greater compliment to your Hair Bitch than to have a bunch of people come in on another of his/her clients' recommendation.

4. Don't be an asshole.

Seems simple enough, right? Apparently not by the herds of fucktards filling appointment books everywhere.

For example, don't say you want a change, but refuse to change your hair.

"Um, I'd like a new look but don't cut any length off, and NO bangs. I don't want any layers in it either."

And that's a direct quote.

Don't buy professional products from the grocery store. It cuts into their ever-shrinking bottom line. The products are usually expired or possibly tampered with, and you're paying more than you would at the salon anyway.

Don't tell your six month pregnant stylist she is getting huge. (Sorry, had to throw that one in. It really stung.)

5. Don't cut your own hair.

Every woman I know snips at her bangs--no big--but chopping away at any other part of the haircut is asking for trouble.

I once had a client who cut the whole front of her hair after every haircut, then had the nerve to come in and blame me for the style not working. She thought I wouldn't know. I knew.

I knew another woman who bought herself some thinning shears(comb-like scissors used by stylists to thin out or create texture in a haircut)at the grocery store and hacked her hair into such a mess that she ended up with bald spots.

6. Don't dump your baggage at every appointment.

There's nothing wrong with taking your stylist into your confidence and sharing. Sometimes a hair appointment turns into more of a therapy session, and that's alright.

Just try not to unload every single time you see him/her. We have our own problems to deal with. We just have to pretend every thing's fan-fucking-tastic at work in order to deal with the public.

7. Unless they are getting a haircut too, leave your kids at home.

Getting your hair done should be a relaxing thing. I don't know many people who can relax with their 2 year old running around in the midst of hot curling irons, sharp scissors and potty-mouthed Hair Bitches.

If you absolutely must bring them, keep them in check. The receptionist is not paid to be a babysitter, and trust me--you don't want her babysitting your kids anyway.

8. Waxing etiquette:

I never braved waxing anything below the neckline, but heard many a tale from former coworkers.

--Take a shower beforehand.
--They've seen it ALL, so don't be embarrassed. Pretend you are at the doctor.
--Don't discuss your anal wart scars during a Brazilian bikini wax (I wish I were kidding, but this actually happened to a girl I worked with).
--Don't bring your boyfriend to a bikini wax (Again, true story. Turned out it was the waxee that liked to have her boyfriend watch her get her hoohaa fur ripped out).

9. Be nice to the receptionist.

He/She is the one who takes your appointment. Their weapon is an eraser (or the delete key) and they're not afraid to use it.

Get in good with the receptionist and you've got yourself an "in".


10. Trust your stylist.

If he/she tells you those chunky yellow Spice Girl-looking stripes won't work, believe them. If he/she tells you it's time to lay off the chemicals for while, believe them. If you're told that they can't get you in for eight weeks, you probably have a really amazing stylist or ....see #1 on this list.


Questions? I'm all ears.

Welcome to the Bacon Show

I stumbled across this today.

I was trying to find a recipe for cole slaw that incorporates bacon and/or bacon grease into the mix. I got some of this broccoli slaw mix at the grocery store the other day and, wanting to knock it off its high and mighty health pedestal, decided it needed some baconation.

Let's be honest, what doesn't taste better with a little bacon?

Alright, lots of things don't...

But that won't stop me from trying.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Switching it up

We're having an open house this afternoon.

Since none of the other open houses or private showings have sold my house, the only conclusion I can come to is that I am going about this all wrong.

Maybe people don't want a sparkling clean house or uncluttered space. Perhaps I've misjudged the general house buying public.

I've decided that, instead of busting my ass to keep things neat for today's showing, I am going in a whole new direction.

Before: Floors swept and mopped to a blazing shine.
Today: Muddy dog paw prints and a puddle of juice in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Before: Beds made, belongings neatly stashed on shelves and in closets.
Today: Covers pulled down to reveal "wetspot" in master bedroom, handcuffs still attached to the bedpost.

Before: Back porch swept, ashtray dumped and hidden.
Today: Half empty, cigarette-filled beer bottles on back porch.

Before: Back yard mowed and poop scooped.
Today: Pile of dog feces on back steps in shape of Mt. Rushmore.

Before: Leave promptly at start time and leave the showing to my real estate agent.
Today: Stick around and have a few drinks. Proceed to verbally harass and/or make sexually suggestive comments anyone who stays for more than five minutes.


Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Grant Miller Asks the Tough Questions

I had the honor of being grilled by none other than Grant Miller of Grant Miller Media. I feel special, and not in a grocery-store-bagger-at-Kroger kind of way either.

I met Grant back in 1991 at an arts camp for high school kids (ironically enough in the very town I live in now), so if you want some juicy dirt on him from his youth...actually I don't have any, but I'd be happy to make something up.

Enjoy!


You and I actually know each other from the real world, but we haven't seen each other since 1993? 1994? Describe why you stopped returning my phone calls.

Well if you'll recall, it wasn't phone calls but letters I stopped returning. I wish they weren't packed in the storage unit. They are still hilarious to read 13 (or is it 14?) years later. Nothing blackmail worthy, but I could be convinced to share them in the future (royalties to be discussed at a later date).
I think I stopped returning them because I was busy doing important college stuff like getting drunk, hopped up on drugs, and having lots and lots of casual sex. That took up most of my time.


2. You worked in a hair salon in Bloomington, Illinois. What's the best way to style a mullet.

Funny you should ask. Just today I saw a man jogging down the street dressed in a 1985-era Bears jersey, matching shorts and knee high sports socks (with stripes). He had a white terry cloth headband holding down a glorious mullet/porn star moustache combo. I teared up a little.

He had the right idea. It's not just about 'business in the front/party in the back', but the look as a whole. One must commit to the mullet, for the mullet is not merely a hairstyle, but a way of life.

3. Keep the sideburns or shave them off?

You could shave them level with the top of your ears and start religiously watching NASCAR. Don't forget to pull back out that free tshirt you got from sending in your Marlboro carton UPCs.

4. You're trying to sell your house. What lies have told prospective buyers or their realtors?

If I get a little hint as to who's doing the looking, I "stage" the house. One time, I knew a professor from the private college in town was looking, so I put out a few pretentious books on the end table. If I know they have kids, I make sure the art table in the dining room has a couple of the kids' drawings set out on it.

One time I almost left something really embarrassing out that would have only appealed to a vampire.


5. Why should people read your blog?

I like to use the word "cunt" in many different forms. Also, I am friends with you which makes me awesome by proxy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Pants on Fucking Fire

Well, my worst nightmare in all of this house selling business has finally occured.

Someone showed up unannounced.

Oh, he said he called this morning. He said he left me a message to call him if it wasn't alright to come by.

He's a giant, cum-sucking liar!

Since the day we put the "For Sale" sign in the yard, I have had my cell phone on and by my side 24/7. It is clearly stated on the information sheet that realtors are to give me a minimum one hour notice before showing the house. As much as I try to keep the house in pristine condition, two little kids and two little dogs make it impossible.

I got home about noon after picking my older daughter up from preschool to find some old guy and a woman unlocking my front door. Thank the house gods I got to them before they actually opened the door, or my dogs would have given them the standard 'lick 'em 'til they're down" greeting.

I had about one minute to get the dogs on their leashes and the ashtray on the back porch stashed. The beds were not made, the carpet was not vaccuumed this morning. I don't even know if the toilet lid was down. To make the messy house look complete, I can only hope my older daughter pooped in the upstairs bathroom and forgot to flush (per usual).

I didn't even have time to put out the sign in sheet, so I may never even know who the hell this guy is.

After apologizing for the house not being perfectly picked up, I told them to take their time and thanked them for viewing the house.

I wanted to chew the guy out for being such a lying liar, but I figured I'd keep my mouth shut and let the chips fall where they may.

Watch, this will be the one to buy the house. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

For Your Scrapbook

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I like stuff and things. I've been married for close to 14 years and have two miniature versions of myself running around (and it frightens me most of the time). I have never been nor will I ever be a vegetarian.