I Am What Happens to Your Stuff

I called my brother the other day and reached his voicemail. He must have still been at the burial site and couldn’t pick up. I was waiting at the country club trying to find out how soon everyone would arrive from the cemetery so I could let the chef know when to bring out the food. The sooner the better, I had a five year old to pick up at a bowling themed birthday party at 1:30.

It was Saturday and I was working. I had three children with me because there was a minimum of 35 for food and we were crossing our fingers to get 25 at the funeral and lunch. I figured somebody has to eat all those stuffed shells and beef tips, it may as well be us. When you reach 94, you’ve outlived most of the warm butts who would normally attend your services. It happens.

This is what I do. Everything and anything, from funeral luncheon arrangements to disposing of storagebelongings, including but not limited to, clothing, food, china, furniture, vintage Pfaff sewing machines, decorative plates and mid-century blaupunkt radio turntable liquor cabinets that everybody and their brother’s grandparents once had displayed prominently next to their chenille sofas. And jewelry. Jewelry is nice.

I search for hidden cash in ancient Tupperware containers and in envelopes taped under dresser drawers. The treasure hunt makes up for the times I must empty disgusting fridges and clean up other people’s bathrooms. They don’t make rubber gloves large enough for that.

Over the years I’ve found money and cut gems, massive amounts of vintage jewelry and enough bows to top Christmas presents for the rest of my life. I don’t get to keep anything, except the bows, and the dryer sheets and loads of tissue boxes. But, all in all, it’s not such a bad way to make a buck.

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That Person

I’ve become that person.

I’m not exactly sure what elements in my life have banded together to create this person that I have become but I think living in third world countries and being a single mother have certainly contributed.

Long story short: Last night I took my iPad to a kiosk in the mall to be repaired. Over the summer the glass got stepped on, broke and I subsequently tried to fix it at home. Bad idea – I messed up the wifi receptor and had to have it replaced.

After being thoroughly rebuked by 16 year old Ron at the kiosk, “In the future, never try to fix this at home.”  I was given a quote of $65 to replace the wifi thingy and to clean off some remaining adhesive and restick the glass. Thirty minutes to fix.

Thirty minutes later he hadn’t even started. I had all four kids with me. In the mall. sephThey had already raided Sephora and were covered in make-up. Loads of kid homework and exhaustion were looming at home. The best decision seemed to be: go home and pick up the repaired iPad the next morning. Young Ron said that was fine and that, no, I did not need a receipt.

This morning when I returned to pay, a different man charged me $75 for the job. $75. WHAT! I was quoted $65. The man talked to the kiosk owner on the phone again and again but the owner refused  to budge on the price.

There was nothing left for me to do but wait. I was told the boss would be there in person in 20 minutes. *I seriously considered plopping down $70 in cash ($65 + 7% sales tax) and taking my iPad and leaving. If he said anything I was going to reply, “Arrest me!” and walk off. But the ATM only gave out $20s.*

I knew the owner wouldn’t be there in twenty. Still, I stood right there in front of the guy at the kiosk for 20 minutes. He became increasingly uncomfortable. Then I waited 10 more minutes and when the guy still would not charge me $65 for the repair, although I asked him, I spoke to a security guard and asked where I could make a complaint.

$10

I want my ten dollars!

While I was writing out the complaint at Guest Services, the owner finally arrived. He had kept me, a customer, waiting for 40 minutes. For $10. The owner then called Ron and asked how much he had quoted me the night before (wait, couldn’t the boss have done this 40 minutes ago?) The owner hung up and charged me $65.

I own my own business. The amount of money that I could have made in those 45 minutes at the mall had I been working is MORE than the $10 I was fighting for. I actually lost money. But, you see,  I have become that  person. I knew I was being scammed. The owner of the kiosk assumed that I would grumpily pay the extra $10 in order to move on with my life. He was wrong.

He had no earthly idea that he was dealing with that person, although he probably has a more colorful name for me.

I suppose Single motherhood, Being a woman and Vast experience overseas in bargaining and rip-off techniques have formed me in to that person. I stood up for my ten dollars. I stood up for all our ten dollars. In the end, I felt really good.

Kind of silly that I just wrote about my “Good Morning” Mission yesterday. Oh well,  you can follow the crazy on bloglovin’

1%. Or 5.

The kids and I watched the movie, Blended, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore the other night.

blended_movie_poster_wallpaper

While it was showing in the theaters I saw that it didn’t receive great reviews but we figured that for a Friday night family movie, it was worth a try. This Is Not a movie review post, but I will say that we, kind and uncritical people, loved it and my kids want to own it. For a single parent, like myself, it was hauntingly accurate and funny; as well as being funny and sweet and, did I mention, laugh-out-loud funny? (Disclaimer: it does contain the regular dosage of Sandler crudeness, but mostly in brief spurts.)

On to the purpose of the post… At one point in the movie Sandler & Barrymore are agreeing that, as parents, you must give your kids 100% of yourself. They finally agree to 99%, with 1% withheld for the Parent’s personal wants.

If you are a parent, especially a single parent, you are probably shrugging your shoulders in reluctant agreement; or , possibly, you don’t agree at all. My own children have not seen their father in over 3 and half years. He calls them about six times a year. What I’m saying is, sometimes parents – peace out. Even my own daughter disagreed with the 1% thing.

“Mom, I don’t think that what they said in the movie is right. It’s not 1%, I think it’s more like 5%.”

Okay. I’ll buy that. Yet, is it really possible that 95-99% of our time goes to our children? Do we really only have 5% (or less) of ourselves and our time to pursue our own interests?

Let’s explore this. This weekend my colleagues are traveling to MN for a three-day conference. I would have liked to attend. My colleagues also would have liked for me to attend. But I won’t be attending. – Because I am a single mother. I have four children. And no one to watch them for that many nights.

On the other hand, I am glad that I am not going because it frees up my weekend, because if  I were gone my children would have missed a birthday party (or I would have had to arrange transportation.) I would miss a meeting after church about youth group, (which is important to me.) I would have missed all kinds of important things. And ALL of them kid-related. 

Do you see what I am saying? – even the HIGH points about not being able to attend the conference this weekend are positive because they benefit my children

That 99% is starting to seem a lot more realistic.

For single parents, is there time and room in our lives for romance? Apparently so. At least it seems so in the movies. I haven’t found it true in my own life, but then again I often say, there is a Whole Lot of Female Awesomeness  in this family. It would have to be a special man to be willing to blend in some of that.

What about activities, hobbies, free time? I suppose I have that. I do love to write. Then again, my kids influence my writing – a lot. (eh hem – this whole post and most of what I write.) I like to crochet – generally scarves and beanies – for my kids. Occasionally, I create other things, especially around Christmas, that usually end up as gifts, for teachers, of my children… Hmmmm.

I go to the movies alone sometimes…

Before you start getting all poor Rebecca on me consider, when I left my husband I asked God for my children. Nothing else. Not a portion of our five bedroom/five bathroom home, our lucrative business, vehicles, land, savings, or anything else. We left him (I write a bit about why here and a little bit here) and carried away with us a single suitcase. Eleven years of living. Five people. One suitcase.

The rest of the possessions were, and still are, his.

Hear this: I Totally Got the Better End of That Deal.

Imagine a scale that weighs everything left behind or unrealized in my life on one side and my children seated on the other side. Yeah, no comparison. None.

I asked my chubby little seven year old tonight if she liked watching movies with us on Family Movie Night and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just like ‘nuggling with you.”

I’m delighted with my 1%. Or 5.

And hey, it’s not going to be 99% forever, right? They do grow up, don’t they…?

me writer

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Making It Happen: The Other Girl’s Room

mih ogr

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/(usually) weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

If you have been following along, you will know that within the last couple months our living space has doubled. This has added just a little bit more to my usual workload. Just kidding. This has added WAY MORE WORK to my usual workload. Honestly, it’s starting to wear on me – but the end is in sight. Hallelujah.

The good news is: I have really  buggy children who will BUG ME until I get stuff done – like their bedrooms.

OLIVE GREEN. That was the previous color – ugh. I lived in that olive green room for three years – not my choice. It is now mint chocolate chip green and Paris themed. One super cute eleven year old is just a teensy bit happy. OK, kidding again, she is ecstatic. In fact, I haven’t seen her since we finished the room on Saturday – I suppose she’s still up there reveling in her “private” space. I know she’s still alive because I periodically hear her yell, “GET OUT!” to one of her younger sisters who was apparently attempting to get in.

Char room 2 Char room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since my last Making it Happen post I’ve also: Moved into my bedroom, Almost got the new kitchen livable and Cleaned up and rearranged the “little” girls’ room. Now I just need to find enough time to actually work, build my business and earn enough $$ to hire a cleaning lady.

Amen.

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Making It Happen: Purple Room

MIH PR

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects: Finish paint in both bedrooms. 1/2 DONE!

They found this (and the rot) when they tore out the steps. Now all my bedroom stuff in on a "back burning." w/e ;)

They found this (and the rot) when they tore out the steps. Now all my bedroom stuff in on a “back burner.”  House collapsing into the ground, every floor and door is uneven – w/e 😉

I am super close to having my 13 yr old daughter’s room done! Thanks to my wonderful SIL, J, we painted all day yesterday, then last night E and I cleaned the floor – WE ARE READY TO MOVE FURNITURE PEOPLE! Of course, I need the furniture mover guys… Well, my part is (mostly) done – a little window/door trim painting remains.  I also need the blinds put up, but when we tore out our back steps to replace them, we discovered that the back half of the 123 yr old house is standing on rotting something-or-others, so the hanging of the blinds is on the back burner. Sigh.

THE ROOM LAST WEEK (BEFORE)

ep2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER

eves room

This past week the amount of work left to do on the “new” portion of the house, on top of my regular duties, just seemed overwhelming. But some really wonderful things happened – like my children cleaning my entire house beautifully while I was out on Saturday night. Plus our family received ANOTHER blessing this week – but that deserves it’s own post…

Projects for this week:

Finish paint in my (new) bedroom!

 

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Making It Happen: The Girl’s Room

mih gr

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

For the first time in my 13 1/2 year old’s life she is getting her very. own. bedroom. This is pretty exciting. I didn’t get to do the work on my bedroom this week (family in from AZ) or scrub the bathroom floor (dang it – I was looking forward to that…) – workmen still working in bathroom.

BUT I did get my girl’s room primed. It was work too. There was a lot of scrubbing and cleaning and wiping that went on even before the paint.

BEFORE

ep5 ep4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ep2

Taken during a break. Getting my prime on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is where you learn how cheap I am:

I’ve gone through 4 semi-used cans of primer that I’ve found in my house. They usually are separated and look pretty gross but I just mix them up and voila! Here is my technique:

ep3 ep1

 

Rusty & Dusty? No problem! Just wrap lip in tin foil. 😉

 

 

 

 

I also got gardening done this week – my squash is sprouting!

Projects for this week:

Finish paint in both bedrooms.

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Making It Happen: PAINTED BEDROOM

MIH PBFact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

I’m expanding into the other half of our Victorian Home. I spent all day Saturday and half Sunday priming and painting the (previously) tan/maroon walls. (I’d Rather Be Blogging and I May Be Addicted)

r3

ew. ugly. 

bye bye.

 

 

 

 

 

wall1 wall 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bedroom walls are primed and the top is painted – all with paint I found around the house. Today, I bought the color for the paneling on the bottom – this room will be done this week!

wall 3

 

Bathroom tile floor. I will be on my hands and knees scrubbing this one. And the sink. And the radiator.

Deep breath.

 

 

 

 

Projects for this week:

More painting in my bedroom and the girl’s bedroom. If I scrub a floor – well, that would be cool too.

I am really thankful for great health – no back pain. I’m feeling good – I’ll keep plugging along. God is good.

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I May Be Addicted

I may be addicted.

md2

I had a mini-“help”er.

I’ve spent eight+ hours over the past two days, basically this whole weekend, painting a bedroom. At 6:30 tonight I changed my paint-laden pants into a semi-clean skirt and took my daughter out to buy a bathing suit for tomorrow because the one she bought after church today, during the “entire family buys bathing suits after church extravaganza”, didn’t look right (to her). Of course, as soon as I reached the shopping center I realized it was Sunday and the shops would be closed by 6PM. It was 7:08PM. I promised the girl we would stop at the store on the way to the pool tomorrow and get her a suit, I sent her into the local ice cream parlor for a vanilla milkshake for dinner, swore her to secrecy since the sisters weren’t getting ice cream and came home.

Dishes need to be done, my house is trashed and all I really want to do is lay down and sleep. Or watch Signed, Sealed and Delivered, whichever comes first.

I think not.

I think not.

Before any of that could happen I was hugging my tearful seven year old whose heart was breaking because she didn’t get ice cream (somebody spilled the beans) and I smelled smoke on her hair. When I asked why she smelled like smoke she told me it was because there was smoke upstairs. Uh oh.

“Why does it smell like smoke upstairs?” I yelled up the steps.

My thirteen year old said it was the potatoes on the stove.

 

The boiling potatoes for the potato salad for tomorrow that I put on the stove. And forgot about.

This confirms that I really shouldn’t be allowed near kitchens or basically attempt to work at all for the rest of the night.

Yet here I am. 7:39PM on a Sunday night and I feel compelled to blog.

I wonder what disasters I’ll find when I read this post tomorrow…

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

 

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Have a Plan Man, Er… Mom

Advice-for-Single-Moms-Have-a-Plan

“…it can still feel like I’ve been punched in the gut when I know an event is occurring that my children cannot participate in because they do not have a father who lives locally.” – Me

There are some things that only single moms know. I’ve found having a plan helps A LOT.

I’ve written about it here for my bi-weekly post for Moms of Faith.

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Making It Happen: CLEANING

mih cLEANING

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

Sand entire vanity – Fail. Sand antique desk – DONE

mih sand

Mostly sanded. Rough week, I’m happy with 50% completed.

 

 

 

 

Projects for Next Week:

Clean up the new bedroom.

house 2

It’s gonna be beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be moving into a new bedroom. The previous occupant left it a mess. (read about that here) I’ve already had some professionals come through to clean out the big stuff, I now need to sweep, mop and paint the room. Sweeping, mopping and arranging are on the agenda for this week. 

Since I will be expanding into the other half of the house, my home improvement workload is gonna be huge. Here are some BEFORE pics:

house 4

Drywall, electricity, painting. Lot of work in this soon-to-be bedroom for my 13 yr old. Beautiful sun room with 4 windows and 2 window seats. 

house 3

Oh, the kitchen. New floor, new mantel. It’s gonna be a gorgeous dining room/kitchen once I’m done with it. Cannot wait. How cool to have a fireplace in your kitchen! Just like Little House on the Prairie.

 

 

house 5

Bathroom. New toilet. Resurface tub. Seriously scrub floor. But this original tile floor is going to look great! (I hope)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am like the perkiest person ever in this post.

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