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Recommended blogs

1. http://www.thethoughtfulmom.com
Hello, there! I’m Krysta. I am a mom to one-year-old triplets and a perpetual student of life.

2. http://www.thethoughtfulmom.com
Hi, I am Jen, mom of two under two and a half ish.

3. http://locketlove.com
As an Independent Designer with Origami Owl®, I have had the opportunity to learn, grow & inspire alongside my amazing team and fellow designers.

4. http://www.mrsaokaworkinprogress.com
I’m the worst when it comes to talking about myself, believe it or not…

5. http://www.awhirlwindkindoflife.com
I am a mother, military spouse, nursing student, and homeowner.

6. http://www.thatskinnyelephant.blogspot.co.uk/
Of elephants and rainbows by Shereena Gill. A byte canvas of a newbie mummy.

7. http://www.angelastrand.com
I’m Angela. I’m a pacific northwest girl, with 3 babies, a great husband, 8 chickens and a dog.

8. http://www.muffinteahouse.com/
I craft, cook and renovate. Check out my DIY shenanigans!

9. http://www.anuncomplicatedlifeblog.blogspot.co.uk
A a career-driven, hyper motivated person, I gave up my career to manage a home. To simplify. To (re)find meaning and joy in simple things. To re-prioritize. To re-focus.

10. http://reneebodkin.com/
Renee Bodkin’s Blog

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Letters to Maximus

Dear Maximum Desimus Meridius,

I come to you once again with answers to your question, “Are you entertained?”

For this Presidents’ Day Weekend, I believe I was.

For the day of Valentine’s, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a hearty meal of hotdogs from Grey’s Papaya. The meal was delicious, though slightly marred by the fact that I had mixed mustard and ketchup–the ketchup alone would’ve sufficed. The highlight of going to the Met was that we had decided to park in the museum parking lot. Living in Jersey and working in New York, our initial compulsion was to take a train to avoid the traffic, then when we decided to bring the car because hauling child and stroller around would’ve been a heavy workout, we decided to bring the car. We could’ve parked somewhere free (probably ten blocks away from the museum) and taken the train or walked to the museum, but since it was the day of Valentine’s, we decided, “Why not?” It cost us an extra $25 to pay the parking fee, but no matter. We hardly spent anything for the entrance fee because my husband is a student preparing for his Masters and the child’s free in admission.

After we left the Met, fairly educated, we headed to Chinatown where we searched for some replacement phones. We ate a snack of Bubble Iced-Tea and man-sized pigs in a blanket, which the child gobbled up. On our way home, we picked up cardiac delights of deep-fried salted pork bellies and another Filipino dish called Palabok (rice noodles with bits of shrimp, cracklin’, spring onions, boiled egg, and an inexplicably yellow sauce), and headed home for dinner.

We got home and hubby and I had a little spat, so dinner was wrechedly quiet. All things considered, we were fairly entertained.

The following day, I decided to vegetate in bed watching first CSI, then NCIS, CSI: NY, and Numb3rs. I contemplated watching Girls Next Door, but after seeing that JIM BEAM COMMERCIAL “THE GIRLFRIEND”
and the Burger King Burger Shots commercial,

 

I felt nauseated by the anti-feminist sludge that I decided I couldn’t. So while the latter part left me unentertained, I was mostly entertained.

So, hubby and I decided we’d first watch UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS, then SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRES.

First of all, let me tell you, Maximus, that I was thoroughly entertained by both movies, but let me tell you why in both cases.

I have always been a fan of the UNDERWORLD series. Not only do I love vampires and warewolves, but when they’re represented by beautiful people and a good storyline, I’m in Underworld heaven (is that possible?). While I know the legend of the rise of the lycans from the original Underworld movies, I thoroughly enjoyed how they retold this tragic tale. The effects, mood, characters, and cinematography stayed true to the original Underworld tales, so I thoroughly appreciated the continuity. Because as you know, Maximus, there’s nothing I hate more in multi-part movies than changing characters midway, like in those Mummy movies, where they changed Rachel Weiss for that other actress I couldn’t remember what her name is.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a completely enjoyable movie. It was Oscar-worthy in a sense that the production was awesome, acting was great, and parts of it was thoroughly depressing, but it was absolutely enjoyable because unlike the tiresome usual tragic ending Oscar movies tend to have (no offense, Maximus), this one ended satisfyingly happy. It even had a happy dance in the end in lieu of the after-life throw-you-a-bone happy endings (aka, Main Characters Are Dead but Really, They’re In a Happier Place Now sucker endings). So yes, for an Oscar-smart time with an ending that, for once, won’t leave heavy emotional feelings of sadness in your heart, you must watch SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Here I conclude my letter, Maximus. I shall write to you again, for no doubt, I will have occasion to answer your all-important question again.

Until then, I am, most humbly

Entertained

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Let me just put my foot down riiiiight here.

I admit that I’m completely and utterly clueless when it comes to auto care. I couldn’t tell the difference between a gasket and a cap, and if they shouldn’t even be in the same sentence, it’s only testament to the fact that I know nothing about car repair. I had, at several instances, watched people change my flat tire, but only because if I ever do get caught with one and I don’t have anyone to help me, I might attempt to change the flat tire myself. The closest I’ve come to caring for my car is pumping gas into its tank and pumping air into its tires.

As a result of all this, I let my husband make sure that the car doesn’t conk out on me. So he brings it to the shop, and whenever he asks my opinion concerning repairs, I adamantly state, “I know nothing about any of that.” However, our latest experience with our friendly Strauss had my hackles rising.

It all began with my muffler.

My car’s muffler, you pervs.

It was noisy and, I was told at one point, it was hazardous to my and my child’s health because it could mean a CO leak into the car. So we immediately took it to the nearest repair shop to have that “noise” fixed last Sunday. Come Sunday evening, we’re told that they couldn’t fix it because they had to order the part, and that the part would arrive Monday morning. So we took our car home and just brought it back to the shop at 7am on Monday. The repair would cost us $350, which wasn’t bad. My car’s an ‘97 Eclipse and its value these days is probably in the range of $1500. Considering the thing’s fully paid for, $350 repair costs isn’t that bad. It still stings, but it’s not that bad.

Monday afternoon and Strauss calls my husband, telling him that the noise isn’t gone and that they have to do another repair, which will come out to repair costs of $750. Now, slap me with a monkey wrench, but at that point, the cost of repairs is now HALF the cost of the car.

O.O

Just–no way! Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not cheap, but the thought that the cost of repairs is half the cost of the thing itself is just utterly ridiculous! It’s an old car! NO. WAY.

So hubby tells them, no, don’t do the extra repairs, we’re going to pick up our car that night.

So my husband tells me the story over the phone and informs me that in order to get the car out of the shop, we should pay for the $350 repairs, and so for once, when my husband asked me what we should do, I took a pregnant pause, worked myself into a lather thinking about how Strauss screwed up the repairs, and said, “What the fuck? They want us to pay for something they didn’t fix? NO. We didn’t tell them to replace the stupid pipe,” and I didn’t know if it was a pipe or a gasket or what, just that I know some kind of tube had been replaced, “we told them to get rid of the noise! I’m not going to freaking pay $350 for something they didn’t do.” I would’ve gone on, but my husband began to get worked up in a lather, too, and now he was completely anti-paying. He thought Strauss was screwing him sideways.

So that night, we went to Strauss and refused to pay. Strauss got into a bit of a confused state and they ended up having to contact the District Manager for what to do next. The DM wasn’t going to be available until the next day so we left the car in Strauss.

The next day, the DM contacts my husband again and tries to work it out with him. The final say was that Strauss wasn’t going to charge us for labor, and that they were going to do the second repair, and the total cost of it would be around $450.

<insert many, many curse words here.>

When my husband reported this to me, I grudgingly told him it was a reasonable compromise, but I told him to ask the manager what would happen if the noise was still there. Are they going to keep charging us and compromising, and all that shit? Dig us into a deeper hole, maybe? So finally, hubby tells the DM that we’ll pay the $450 if it gets fixed, but if it doesn’t, we’re not going to pay shit.

He probably didn’t use the word “shit” but you get the idea.

The DM agreed, and hours later, the DM called again and said that the initial repair apparently was just an issue of incorrect installation, that they had forgotten to install one part or another, and that now the noise was fixed, and that we only had to pay $350.

So there’s our happy ending, but let me just start my little rant over here:

Needless to say, I am completely and utterly annoyed by this Strauss branch. What gets to me is the fact that they take all these repairs and back-and-forth with customers for granted. They keep recommending extra repairs and extra what-nots, billing, and billing, and billing, knowing that the customer feels like he ought to have that repair and this repair and that repair done.

They took it for granted that my husband and I would just lie down and wallow in these added repairs and fork over the money, because they do it all the time, don’t they? I don’t think they’re dishonest, I just think they don’t think twice. I’m sure hundrends upon hundreds of customers have found themselves billed thousands just so they could get their cars repaired and have felt that they had no choice. It’s so irritating that Strauss believes that they could just do this.

Well, you know what? We didn’t take it, and in the end? We were right. WE. WERE. RIGHT.

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Recession Resmession

Americans are big spenders.

I’m not going to wow you with statistics that I’ve researched all week and news reports I’ve gathered from newspapers (who still reads those things?) and the television. I didn’t need to do that. I simply had to go out and experience the frenzy myself. I’m not even talking about going to Walmart–I’m quite stocked up on baby diapers and cat food, thanks. I wasn’t going to risk getting trampled on for anything else. I’m talking about going to a regular mall and little-known (or so I thought) boutiques.

First thing in the morning, Spouse, Child, Sister in Law, and I decided we would go to the mall. A mile away, we got caught in traffic. We eventually discovered that this long line that was running at a quick mile an hour was the line to the mall parking lot. When we finally disengaged from the line to find a carspace, we had to drive around the zero-availability parking garage. It was so bad that we saw several fights breaking out. It was anarchy. We got lucky about twenty minutes later when a car left right in front of us. We parked, and several times while we were unloading, cars pulled up behind us, hoping we were leaving instead off arriving. When we were all strollered up and ready to mall, we wheeled into the mall and saw the sea of shoppers moving in varrying currents. Madness, I tell you. Recession resmession. Nobody seemed to have a shortage of spending money–or maybe they did and just didn’t give a damn.

So we proceeded to do our own damage. I raided the pillow-case and serving bowl shelves in Crate & Barrel. They were ON SALE. Then we moseyed around, looking for more sales, which we found in Papyrus and also in Benetton. I went wild in Benetton because everything was 60% off. I shit you not. And hours later, we left to have a very, very late lunch at some buffet, but that’s a detail I’m not even going to get into, because we went straight to Pier 1 after that and I RAIDED the post-Christmas sales. All tree ornaments were 50% off. I bought a ton of lovely Christmas kringles and came up to damages of $70. That’s the only real amount I’ll confess too. I’m too ashamed to tell how much I spent for that entire day. I actually feel no remorse. Perhaps it’s because my almost-one-year old got a ton of clothes from his godmother, grandmother, and our lovely friends. He’ll be styling until next year, so he’s good, I’m good, the Spouse has his PS3, and the cat isn’t hungry.

Considering our spending spree, we still practiced some constraint. I shudder at the number of bags some of our fellow-shoppers were carrying. I’m not the pot calling the kettle–I’m just saying that all in all, that mall had its halls full of willing shoppers. Nobody strong-armed anyone to buy anything. We were all willing to exchange our money for wares. We were all hedonists delighting in the, supposedly, smart spending.

It was amazing.

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Angry in the Morning (Post #1)

Mondays to Fridays, I’m angry in the morning. It isn’t something that I do on purpose nor is it exaggerated internalization. I don’t think about it first thing nor do I psych myself to have that mindset. It’s pure emotion that I can neither predict nor control.

I wake up at 5:30 A.M. so I can get to work on time. Wake up 15 minutes later and I can be 45 minutes late for work. Sometimes, I’m angry getting up–usually when I haven’t had enough sleep because of the baby. Sometimes, the anger doesn’t come until later, usually when I get in the car and start to drive.

It’s in the car where most of my anger happens. I drive, polite as you please, then some moron cuts me on the road, or perhaps some nervous jerk honks his horn as he drives by because he’s afraid I’ll cut him, or maybe–and this usually makes me as annoyed as hell, cars in front of me turn or change lanes without signaling. Drivers on the road have lazy fingers. They couldn’t be bothered to flick their signal lights on to make a turn. It’s an epidemic. They should be quarantined.

The anger causes me to talk to myself and say very bad words. My child’s first word will be “fuck” because he’s in the back seat, hearing this every morning and absorbing it into his baby brain. I’ll be horrified, sure, but not surprised.

By the time I get to my son’s babysitter to drop him off, I’d have gone through every conceivable swear word in the English language and I’m primed for battle. The train/bus trips between Jersey and New York is fine, but once I get off at downtown New York, the anger is quick and scathing.

Slow pedestrians (”Damn. Just please get out of my way if you can’t walk faster than that!”), idiots who stop walking up the side of the escalator that’s supposed to be for walking (”Don’t they know they have to walk up escalators in the morning?! Stupid tourists!”), crossing guards who stop you from getting to the other side–never mind that a bus is speeding down the road just now (”I could’ve beaten that bus!”), or the person who keeps swiping his train pass at the turnstile in spite of the the “INSUFFICIENT FARE” clearly flashing on the instruction panel (”What part of INSUFFICIENT FARE did you not understand, retard?”).

And then a block away from my building, while getting breakfast, I realize that I’m not the only one angry in the morning, because the person who rang up my breakfast bill gave me the “whatevs” look when I apologized for taking so long to count up exact change. The thought that she’s angry would, of course, piss me off.

The anger usually ends right when I sit at my desk to begin work and breakfast, but I’m exhausted. The anger has drained me. At 8:30 AM I feel like it’s already 5 PM and I want to go home.

I get angry in the evening, too, but that’s another story.

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Stay tuned!

The general idea is that I can churn out something interesting–or at least make it seem like I have something interesting–to write about. That’s a tough order considering I’m basically a working mom, with a son, a husband, and a cat and a small white house. We pay and we pay and we pay for stuff and the stupid things we do, and we work and we work and we work to be able to pay and pay and pay and… (it goes on), well, it’s not an incredibly interesting lifestyle, but I’ve done enough dumb things to make people perhaps want to read my posts, if only to laugh at my misfortunes. That said, I’m not the unluckiest person out there. In fact, I think I’m pretty fucking lucky. I’ve got a job, my family is healthy, we live comfortably, and things are generally dandy, but who the hell wants to read about that? If I have to embellish on my normal life with mixed metaphors and exaggerated expressions of sadness, joy, anger, resentment, etcetera, just so I can get people to actually follow me in this Blog Eat Blog World, then I’m your momma. And on that note, this isn’t a mommy blog. I’m a mom, that can’t be helped, but me claiming to be a mommy blogger and supposedly seeming like I know more about this mommying business than other mommies?–that’s just dangerous. So what’s this blog about? It’s about me–blogging, and trying to find the funny in a world where the unfunny can eat you alive, and the pit of sarchasm (no, I did not mispell that) can swallow you whole, and where irreverence can summon hell and devour your poor, misbegotten soul (I can go on with these eating metaphors), and so on and so forth ::burp::. So sit back, relax… enjoy Reality Blogging, and just like all those Hills and Laguna Beaches, I may come up with fiction every once in a while. Yes, fiction. Don’t worry, I won’t pass it off as real. I’ll tell you if it’s a short story, or maybe I won’t, but if you ever think my short stories (or long stories, depending on what inspires me) are real stories about me, then the vampire that sucked my blood in the alley one cold night ought to pick up a lamp post and hit you on the head with it.