Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Other Mothers

I think sometimes as a parent of a school-aged child I forget that other parents feel the way I feel. No matter what the situation or circumstances, we all may have similarities. Recently I was speaking with another mother from my son's class and it turns out we have some of the same issues. Before this, I thought she was more of a PTO mom because she's so involved in our kids' class activities. Come to find out, she makes fun of the PTO moms, has some of the same stresses of caring for aging parents, and concerns about moving from a large city to a small town. Funny how that works.

I think I'm struggling to find my identity as a parent to a kid in school. Not only that, but in a town where you run into people you know constantly because your kids recognize each other. It's so odd when my kid and I are walking around and suddenly my kid or another kid is telling me they know each other! Even more so when people tell me they already know our business because they know someone who told them before we did! Then I wonder if I'm stuck here in this town forever because my kid is in school already. Do I want to stay here or do I want to move back to IL and the schools there? I'm so conflicted. 

There are so many things that I worry and think about and I never considered that this mother would have the same issues as I do. Sometimes it's hard to get past the pre-conceived notions we have from someone's exterior image. Do I want to be a PTO mom or a room mom or someone who comes up with class activities and events? Do I want to be a once a month mom who comes to help for field trips or various monthly activities? I don't know yet. I don't know where I'm at with everything that comes with the territory of a kid in school. it's such a fine line for me. 

Right now, with the both of us in school at the same time, I find even just getting us both ready is a challenge. I'm not sure I want to add anything else to that. Maintaining friendships with these other moms is difficult too. It's not helping that I've been sick this week, and Noah went into the hospital because of a cough & sinus infection that caused bronchiolitis. He's missed almost a day every week because of it. I worry that the other moms are judging me, and one even joked that we were coming in late one day because we couldn't get up in time. It was nice to shoot her down with "He was in the hospital" but it's obvious the though is already out there.

I just need to remember I'm not the only one going through stuff at home. Did I mention I'm also dreading parent teacher conferences next week?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is It September Yet?

I honestly don't feel like blogging lately. I'm busy with way too much work (which is good) and trying to get both of us ready for school. Mine isn't going so well and making appointments for all the medical stuff for the kid is wearing me out. I'm overwhelmed and can't wait for September when we can get into a routine with school. I also need to make some doctor appointments for myself.

We're also going through a rough time here with back talk and blatantly disobeying me. I'm not sure if it's an age thing or something about not seeing his dad since June. That alone is enough to piss me off but whatever. Not my problem since I can't control what he does.

We have a fun week ahead and something planned for every other day this week. Then it's time to buckle down & get things done next week. Hopefully the elementary school is open so I can turn in some paper work. I feel like the only mom that doesn't know what teacher my son is getting. Whatever. Everything is just whatever right now. Is it September yet?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saving Money This Summer - Games and Streaming TV

I'm absolutely on a mission to save money as it warms up outside. Not only do I want to put my PlayOn and Netflix to good use, but I also want to try to watch less television this summer. It's ridiculous to pay for subscriptions that are barely being used and my kid had plenty of stuff to do. I also want to save for the colder months now that I know how much it costs to heat this place!

This winter just about tapped me out financially. I wasn't sure how much it would cost to electrically heat my new apartment, and boy was I in for a shock! Now that I've averaged it out over the year, it's more manageable. The quarterly water bill was a new one too. It's easier to think of it as a monthly expense rather than, "OMG WTF we need to shower less!"

I also didn't have the benefit of educational financial aid to help out this year either. Thankfully, I got resident tuition rates this year, after a huge drama, and I'm going back to school in the fall. Another reason to quit cable and move to streaming TV - focusing purposes.

So between the video game subscription with Gamefly, the Netflix subscription and PlayOn, I should successfully lower my bills by a significant amount every month this summer. I was able to take this last year away from school, even though it hurt financially, and transition into writing with transcription as a back up. I'm in a good place and I'm looking forward to saving money this summer.

This week: How to connect your laptop or computer to your television for streaming purposes.

Friday, June 10, 2011

How He Breaks My Heart

"Are you wearing that to daddy's house?" my son asked me yesterday. It's a simple gauchos outfit in a pretty print that I pulled out of the back of the closet. I'd forgotten how comfortable it is! I haven't worn it since my son was a baby and I took him to his dad's house for the first time. A time when I was about 30 pounds thinner (hence the back of the closet), and was still trying to impress the ex. Yesterday it was jammies.

My son told me how pretty I looked in my "dress" and that he loved it so much. I adore that boy. When he asked me if I was going to wear it to his daddy's house, I told him no and he looked disappointed. He asked if daddy had ever seen it, and I replied yes, when he was a baby. He asked if daddy hated it when he saw it, and I told him no. I waited a few minutes before asking him why did he want me to wear it to his dad's house. Sometimes, when I press too hard, he shuts down and "forgets" or says "I have no words" and changes the subject. I already knew where he was going with these questions.

"I want you to wear it to daddy's because I want you to look pretty for him." Of course I asked why, and his answer broke my heart. "I want daddy to marry you again." Before I said anything, he answered himself and said he knew daddy and I wouldn't get married again. Then he asked for a hug.

I know this gets easier as he gets older. Hell, I'm a child of divorce. I know it does eventually. This part just really sucks right now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Eye Twitch

My eye has been twitching for a week or so. It got progressively worse the less I slept and the more I stressed out. I've been working on a huge project for my son's class and it had to get done by Wednesday. I was still trying to get it to work right on Monday and it was barely even started. I was freaking out, to say the least.

Yesterday afternoon, after scouring the Internet for information, I found a program to help me. Thank God for the Internet and user forums. So the project fell together within a couple of hours after I figured out how to use the program correctly. By 4am Tuesday morning, I was almost done but fried. Nothing has gotten done at home while I worked on this. Nothing. My house is scary. My kid has been dealing with a crabby, tired momma. And my eye - oh my GOD, my eye twitching was making it worse. We're talking a deep lower eye twitch that was erratic and almost painful.

Suddenly, about the same time I started copying the completed project so each parent gets one, my eye stopped twitching! I suddenly feel calm and less freaked out. I'm not even kidding. I went from a tight chest filled with anxiety and panic last week, to this happy calm feeling. School is out tomorrow and I'm free from the daily stress of getting us out the door on time. The rushed, "EAT EAT OMG FREAKIN' EAT!!!" If this is what I'm going to go through for the next 12 years, I'm screwed.

Tomorrow we're going to the school at 8:45am. Why? Why in the world would I do that to myself? Because I feel happy! No, not really. Ha ha! Actually, I'm giving in to my child's despair of not getting a yearbook when his best friend got one. When the order forms showed up, I thought "Not for 4K. No." Now that I saw it, I want him to have one. So I called and there are only six left. First come, first serve. I'll be there before the school opens just to get him one. Oh, and to drop off the project and to help the teacher with a technically issue if it's not figured out yet.

Is this what it's like when your kid starts school? I'm already committed to PTA projects for next year, which I'm happy to do because it's technical stuff. I feel like I'm becoming this other person who gets involved and is social and stuff. It's weird, but I kind of like it. I think. I'm resistant to the idea too. Maybe it's because I almost feel like we're not going to settle down here. I still kind of want to live in Arizona. I don't know. All I know is it's summer break as of tomorrow, I'm stress free and I drive to Chicago on Saturday to drop the kid off for two whole weeks. TWO WEEKS!!! YIPPEEEEE!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

One More Week

I'm overwhelmed and stressed out (as usual). I have work piling up and a project for my son's school that needs to be done by Tuesday. I drive to Chicago in a week to take the boy child to his dad's house. Two whole weeks of blissful quiet. No Disney Channel or Cartoon Network blaring at all hours of the day. In fact, I'd be shocked if I turned on the television at all! I'll miss him after about day three and will call everyday to check on him. Last time he barely talked to me on the phone because his older brother was finally there for the summer.

My plans are to sleep, clean and read while I can. I also plan to work my ass off to get caught up so I don't fall behind again. It's been hard this year without relying on financial aid from school. It was refreshing to take a break from it though. There is some drama with it but I have two weeks to straighten everything out.

My son's bedroom is about to be de-cluttered of all the toys he's accumulated. I'm about to purge all the clothes that have been piling up. I need to see what gaps need filling - other than socks and underwear. I'm sure he need shoes - don't they always? Goodwill (or other local charity) here we come!

Two blissful weeks. Seven more days to get there. Four days of hell before we're free from school. *sighs*

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Single Parents Not Supporting Each Other

I drafted the title for this a year ago and I never finished. It's sad that as I wrote this today it's still relevant. 


Recently, I contacted another single mom, @SingleMomsChi, who is trying to put together a single mom group in the Chicago area. I noticed the tweet from another single mom blog owner, @Singlemommyhood, and offered my help. I used to run the single mom meetup group in the Chicago suburbs and my friend Erich ran the Chicago single parent's group for a while. I figured I could give her a heads up on the struggles and frustrations of trying to organize single parents. 


Obviously, the biggest difficulty getting single parents to come together is time. None of us have enough of it and we're constantly stretched to breaking. What little time we have left, between work, school and kids, is used up cleaning or sleeping. It's really hard to get single parents together consistently for get togethers. I had a core group of single parents show up to almost all the events and a few new faces showed up once or twice and vanished. The online community I provided was even quieter. I assumed that starting conversations on a shared discussion board would foster communication in the group and help comfort levels at gatherings. Not so much. 


When we finally did get a large group of single parents together, boy did we talk! It helped if the kids were able to play while we talked, but we always found a way to share our struggles. The only problem was the separation of the groups within our single parent group. There was the never-married group, the divorced-with-an-active-dad group, the no-father-involvement group, and then a miscellaneous group that included dads, widows, etc. Each branch of single parents had a different experience with single parenthood, and it caused friction.


I see this online as well. For such a large group to allow itself to become so segmented is a shame. To say that a mom who gets every other weekend 'off' while the kids are at their father's is any less a single parent than someone without the other parent involved is ridiculous. To make it worse is the group splits up again when you talk about dating and not dating - for whatever reason. I had a mother's boyfriend show up at one of our gatherings to drop something off for her and the envy and ugly came out when she left. When single parents get married, they get jettisoned from the single parent tribe. They've got in-house support now and past experience doesn't count anymore. I don't understand it.


I can't believe that single parents have in-fighting that's along the lines of working moms vs. stay-at-home moms! I'm seriously shocked when I see another single mom claim they have it harder than another single mom for whatever reason. We ALL have our hardships, but we're all trying to raise our kids to be awesome adults. Whether my son is gone for two weeks with his dad this summer, or whether I have him 24/7 the rest of the year is irrelevant to my experience as a single mom as it relates to another single mom. The experiences are unique to me as an individual, but I'm still a single mom who struggles to raise my son alone. 


I admit that getting regular child support and my son going with his dad is nice, but I knew he'd be involved before I had a child with him. I still had to fight my ass off for the child support and the divorce, like any divorce, was horrible. Why would I ever say that someone who was never married to their kids' father isn't equal to me as a single parent, or had it easy, because they never had to deal with divorce court? Doesn't that sound crazy? We all struggle with something - even the rich single parents (not that I'd know).

We are all single parents and we need to come together and support each other, not tear each other apart. You never know when the single parent you judge as 'not single parent enough' has the answers or can support you when you need it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicago Bloggers I'd Like to Meet

So the whole time I lived in Chicago, I never met up with any of the other Chicago bloggers that I wanted to meet. I have no idea why. Oh, wait, probably because my social skills suck. Or probably because I was always working to survive in IL. Or maybe because I don't really reach out via email to most bloggers I read, which is weird when they were local and I could've easily met them (assuming they wanted to meet me). I lurk and sometimes comment, and I admit to not being super social about meeting others but I'd like to change that. Even though I've moved to WI, I still have family and friends in Chicago.

So, this summer I'd like to try and meet a few of the bloggers I've been following for years, if possible. Bloggers I'd like to meet this summer include:

Jess @ Sassafrass - A fabulous fellow single mom in Chicago w/a son who also loves Star Wars.
Amy @ Comments from the Peanut Gallery - Mom of 4 who is truly amazing, with a boy close in age to Noah.
Shannon @ Same Old Shannon - I'm often going through the same thing with Noah.
'Harriet' @ Spynotes - I've been reading about her son since he was younger than Noah is now.
Dawn @ Because I Said So - Author and now a single mom of six, she's getting ready to move to FL soon.
Melisa @ Suburban Scrawl - Also an author, to a Chicago city guide for teens & another book, she lived across town from me before I moved and I never met her! Silly me.

I have some of these ladies on my twitter feed and/or my Facebook friends list. I'll just have to figure out the rest, and hopefully this summer I'll get to share stories about meeting them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Long Ride Home - From Dating to Divorce & How Babies are Made

Boy did we have an interesting talk on the way home! To keep him awake the last 40 minutes of our drive, which was already 10 PM, I asked him if he understood why I wouldn't be going with him to his daddy's when his brother came for the summer. I don't think I've ever explained or talked about his dad and I being divorced. He knows we were married and has seen the wedding rings in a box. He sees marriage on TV and thinks if you kiss you're married (I'll let him think that for a while). He also thinks he can marry me, which I keep telling him is impossible but is cute and funny at the same time. It wasn't an easy talk and included his brother's mom and his dad not being married and not having to get divorced. It kind of kills the "Don't have sex unless you're married" thing too. Lord help me, I hope I did it all right because it confuses me sometimes too.

I was feeling somewhat confident - until he asked what "special place" babies come out of (thanks mom! LOL). I tried to come up with descriptions he could relate to since we were in the car. He didn't understand how babies come out of your 'pee pee' and kept saying he was cutting his pee pee off to get the baby out. Oy vey. Not going well. So then we had to talk about boy and girl parts being different and only girls have babies but daddies help. I was WAY in over my head without age-appropriate books to fall back on. I'm going to the library tomorrow, but it may be too late after he goes to school and shares all his new info. Oh lord, I'm in trouble I know it. Anyway, I finally got to the point where I said a girl's uterus (hooray me using the correct terms) was like a water balloon with his big Bakugan shoved inside it and the balloon stretched to make the Bakugan fit in it. Then, when he wanted the Bakugan out, the mouth of the balloon stretched to let it out. He insisted the Bakugan was too big and I kept saying it stretched. I think his brain exploded at that point and he also asked if they had to cut the pee pee to get the baby out. How was I not ready for this?? Now he wants to see proof of all this online. I think I said, "Um, oh boy" and "we'll see." 

The last bombshell was my own fault for asking if he had any more questions and he could ask me anything. He hit me with, "What's dating?" Damn you Disney for not having cartoons on later in the day! I asked him what he thought first, as I do after almost everything he asks to see what details he wants. I clarified to see if he knew what a date was and he said taking a girl to a restaurant. Good boy. I think I then inserted something about gold diggers but he wanted to know about why boys and girls date. The answer I gave was that when he's older he will like girls and dating is a way to find someone you really like a lot so you can get married. I slyly added that you don't date other girls once you really, really like just one because it hurts the girl's feelings if you said you only liked her the most. But until he picks one, he can date whomever he wants or not go on another date if he doesn't.

He's said before he met the girl his dad used to date (but has since broken up with) and I did ask how he felt about his dad dating someone or my dating someone. He yelled at me that I can't date because I have to marry him. Again, the discussion on marrying your mom is not possible. Then he asked if his dad kissed the girl and I said yes. He said that was yucky and he was going to barf when we got home. Always hilarious. Before we reached our exit for home, I told him that it wasn't anything he had to think about now because that was all big boy stuff. I told him to enjoy being a little boy and have fun playing with his toys and the kids at school. He just kept saying he wanted to be a big boy now, but then said he wanted to be a little boy forever. What a tough age he's at now trying to figure things out and how the world works.

You know, I wish they gave out a handbook of all the fun stuff you'll get asked in every situation. I thought I was prepared for this inquisition. I really did. All the single parent blogs, the books with advice, the how to talk about sex with your kid info - none of it popped into my head while I got the third degree from a 5 year old. The thing that did come out of it is that now he knows he can ask me anything and I'll tell him. The most hilarious thing before we got in the house is he said, "It's a dumb question" to which I told him there are no dumb questions. He asked, "Do you say 'stupid'?" Easiest question of the day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day with Birthday Parties

What a long, ridiculous weekend! My son learned about divorce, marriage, dating, how babies are made and come out, and had two birthday parties. I got to drive 3.5 hours on Mother's Day to get us home, deal with a grumpy ex and put together toys for which we have no batteries. Tomorrow, I get to do the laundry, buy batteries and clean the house. Fun times!

My son is learning early about stretching out bday celebrations. He had four parties to celebrate his birthday over the course of a week. Sunday was our special 'party', just us at the BBQ restaurant he's been begging me to take him to for months. We had a great day opening presents and then eating. Tuesday he got his school party because he was too sick on Monday to go to school. Since it was a short week at school and he had this past Friday off, I planned to take him to Chicago to see the grandparents. I didn't realize it was Mother's Day when I planned this, obviously.

The original plan was to go to a water park resort, but then I read they had a bed bugs report. Pass on that! Come to find out one of my old ex-boyfriends was there with his daughter and I totally would have run into them had I gone. Awkward, especially when I would've been in a bathing suit. Karma was nice to me that day. With the broken arm, and both of us recovering from sickness, I just headed to my mom's and she had a party planned for Saturday. For some reason my son and I don't sleep well there. I don't know why but he didn't get down until 2 AM. Yep, this single momma was beside herself and severely pissed off and tired after driving 4 hours and 2 potty stops to get there. I finally fell out asleep at 4 AM but tossed and turned.

My mom's party was nice and even though my brother only got to stop by for a minute while he was working, my son said his favorite part was playing soccer with his uncle! I love that he didn't say presents first, but he amended that quickly. He didn't even eat any cake, but I have lots in my fridge right now! I always get leftovers to take home from my mom's. Thank goodness too because tomorrow I'm going to be on the couch resting as much as I can.

While we were at my mom's I was telling her that my son's teacher is pregnant and that my son said babies shoot out of our arms. Then, apparently, the doctor tapes our arms back on! After I stopped laughing, I told him the right way women give birth, with as little detail as possible. Since I had a c-section I've always just said he was cut out of my tummy and he let that go. My mom tried to help, which was funny too, but I found out later he was more confused.

At his dad's house on Sunday, his grandparents had a small birthday party for him. Since the ex and I are having some not-getting-along issues right now and it was a little awkward with us, but I always enjoy his family and our son loves seeing everyone. I did have to explain that I wouldn't be there the next time he was visiting because he's going to stay for a few weeks. He was disappointed and I had to explain that his brother would be there so mommy would be at home while daddy brought him there. I'll be picking him up when they're done, I think. Who knows how it will work out. I think my son was a little confused by this. So I made a mental note to talk about it later on the drive home. The drive home was the true test of my parenting skills. Getting along with the ex was nothing compared to what came next. More on that tomorrow.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday!

Five years of solo parenting this beautiful "baby" and what a wild ride it's been.
Love you son.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Freelance Budgeting - Where is the Money Coming From?

As a freelancer, there are ebbs and flows to available work. Holidays are usually the lean times. Knowing this, you'd think I'd prepare better, but it's also the time when the holidays want to empty my bank account! I've been in transition for a while and trying to better budget things so Christmas and my son's birthdays (6 months apart) don't do as much damage as they have in the past. Now that I have approximately seven income streams, from both writing and transcription, I had to find a better method. I was losing track of expenses to income and everything was everywhere.  

Enter the budget. Actually, re-enter the budget. I started using Mint.com a while ago and put in my budget numbers, as I thought they were. When those suckers go red, you notice!  But I realized I still wasn't able to track all my sources of income as they were just lumped in together. So I've had to go back to my low-tech methods of Excel. I was able to put all my income sources at the top of the page, put all my expenses at the bottom, and each week I update what came in and what went out. The first column is my estimate for the month and each week is subtracted from that. I have a weekly tally that shows me if I'm falling behind or getting ahead. It also rolls whatever money I have left over into the next month's worksheet to be added to the that monthly total. It's perfect for me while I'm completely slammed with work and trying to stay organized.  Things tend to get lost in the cracks if I'm not careful and this Excel sheet also reminds me which income sources need more attention than others if I see I haven't inputted anything for the week.

I really hope this works the way I'm hoping it will. I'm having trouble staying focussed on work when things get chaotic. I think a big part of the problem was that I thought I was making more in some areas than I really was. I wasn't able to see if I was or not because my previous tracking system was flawed. You'd think I would already have a better system in place after freelancing for the past 5 years, but nope. So, I'm going to see how it goes this month and make adjustments from there. It better work!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Removed

Yes, I removed the piece about travel to Chicago because it was just a test. Well, that and I plan on publishing it elsewhere and I didn't want a duplicate up here. So you're not going crazy if you saw it before and it's gone. Ha!

In other news, I slipped on some ice while walking from my car to my son's school. A residential lot of a man in a wheelchair so even if I got hurt I wouldn't sue or anything. But I am really sore on my right side. I may invest in a sling to keep my arm still if it doesn't feel better on Sunday.

I'm also itching to get away. Maybe to AZ. It's been five years. I just want a vacation, even a short one, just me and the boy. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wisconsin Politics - Shameful!

I don't often get into political debates or conversations because often people choose a side and stick with it. I admit I'm feeling this way right now with the political unrest here in Wisconsin right now. I did not vote for our current Governor Walker, nor am I happy with his tactics of pushing through bills for approval before anyone has a chance to look at them or argue them. With a Republican majority here, the Democrats can argue but bills will pass regardless. Herein lies the problem with the current controversy with the Democratic 14 and those that have left the State of WI for IL until Governor Walker is ready to negotiate.

I've seen people say that these Democratic leaders are cowards for leaving and they should come back to WI to fight and argue their side. The problem is that they are fighting the bill by leaving. Republicans hold a 19-14 majority but need at least one Democrat to be present in order to proceed with voting. Without a quorum, the Republicans cannot just pass this bill because they're the majority! If the Democrats come to office, they will be forced to vote, and even if they vote no the bill will pass. There is no arguing with Governor Walker! He's already said that he's not going to concede to any concessions offered.

Governor Walker has already passed bills into law his first month in office that supposedly is going to bring business into Wisconsin. What it will likely do is contribute to the supposed deficit that he's claiming. I moved to WI from IL because they were the more financially stable state. Suddenly, WI is a financial disaster now that Walker is in office? Suddenly I have to worry that my son's school is going to lose the benefits I moved here for? Ones he would not have had access to in IL? I'm sick over this Governor being in office and claiming he's helping us with all these changes. No one was really paying attention while he had his way in office - until now.

I can only hope this event wakes people up to what this man is doing and that things don't continue to spiral downward. Dictatorships have no place here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Imported

I just imported a bunch of posts from my Wordpress blog and I'm working on making some changes but this is sort of a back up just in case.  Feel free to read anything below that you missed if you don't have the Wordpress link.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You Never Know When...

Life is funny about placing us in other people's paths when they need it. You never know when something you say will be just the thing they need to hear. I find this amazing whenever I see it unfolding right in front of me.

This week my son and I both had eye exams scheduled. I was lucky to get my appointment in the same week as my son's because this particular location is the only one in town that takes my insurance. This means they book up months in advance.

While my son was getting his exam, the eye doctor asked my occupation for their general records. Usually I stumble over myself when I say transcriptionist and freelance writer. I'm anticipating the  "Oh, so you [do nothing] for a living" comments. This time I sucked up the dread and gave a confident reply. She, the doctor, only asked how long and did I like it. Phew. Pretty soon we were out the door and headed to the frames area for the cuteness that is now my son wearing glasses.

Two days later I was in the office sans kid. Since my eyes didn't dilate all the way before the the doctor checked them, she and I had time to chat while we waited. She said that my response to the career question prompted her to share with her brother some ideas about medical transcribing since he's out of work and his wife is pregnant. I let her know that industry is changing and becoming hard to break into, but I gave her the names of websites to give him. Since he has a background in business I told her about some other options available.

I was able to share enough information about home-based businesses that hopefully this family member of hers will be able to find something he can enjoy doing. In this instance, being confident about my career and sharing it with another person allowed someone else to have an open mind about the possibilities.  I was so happy that it worked out the way it did with my coming in again so soon and having time to share information.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quiet in Here

I know I've been quiet again but it's because I'm working behind the scenes to get things moved over to my own domain.  I'm setting up everything in advance that I'll need to make it fabulous. That means doing the design and all that good stuff.  I'm also working on my freelance writing projects and studying for a CPRW, Certified Professional Resume Writer, exam.

I'm trying to get all this done before I start school again in the fall, which sounds like it's ages away but I know better!  August is barely enough time to get everything going just right.

Besides, nothing interesting has happened to me lately anyway!  Damn those Packers. Ha.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wintertime Sledding

I hate the cold. Why I live in a north midwestern state is beyond comprehension (close to family). I used to live in AZ. It was so warm. Mmmm. Warm.

When it snows I hate it and would never leave the house if not for my son...who loves snow!!! He's obviously his father's son. So the other day when I invited another mom from school to go sledding, it was like an out-of-body experience. I could hear my mouth saying the words, but my brain was like OMG WTF are you DOING?! I was committed to playing in the very cold snow. No backing out since we told our kids we were going.

At some point, I ended up on a sled. It was awesome! This is what really made it worth it though:

The hill was high and steep but the fun was worth the scare.snow sledding

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Karma Looks Like

When I was about 8 or so, my two younger siblings and I thought putting things into the front of an old fan was funny. We were latch-key kids. We had lots of time on our hands. My poor single dad.

The fan was old and therefore very well made and very heavy. Things like hot dogs, carrots, Barbies, and a ping-pong ball were fed into this fan. The ping-pong ball was the thing that finally killed the fan by breaking off a blade, but before that happened my brother found the most ultimate fan 'friendly' item on the planet.  Baby powder. It's a wonder my dad didn't sell us off to the first taker after finding the whole house covered in the fine powder that was shaken into the front of the fan blowing on high.

This is my karma for having laughed and encouraged my brother (until I couldn't breathe):

It snows indoors with crushed popcorn peanuts!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bears Don't Like Cheese



[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Lambeau Field, Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packe...[/caption]


I'm a Bears fan living in Wisconsin and I'm in for a rough weekend when the Bears and Packers meet at Soldier Field to decide the NFC Champion. Until moving to WI from IL this year, I was more of a fair weather, or uninvolved, fan. Suddenly, I've felt the need to claim my love of Chicago in all ways possible such as keeping my IL plates (ssshhhh) and putting my son in navy and orange at school.I blame it on all the Packer love displayed year round. I have fun flaunting my previous city of residence up here, especially considering the big game they're playing!

This week has been nothing but constant amusement for me. The radio is playing made up songs by DJs with the lyrics "Bears Still Suck". Everyone, but us, is wearing green and gold. News is running constant commentary on the rivalry between the Bears and the Packers. Sunday the stores will be ghost towns with the game playing over their intercom systems for the employees. Packers games are serious business up here. I'm impressed with the dedication, but I still did my grocery shopping on Sundays this year for the easy checkout.

This football game really is a huge deal. The rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers goes back over four decades. This is only the second time they've met in the post-season! This game determines who goes to the Super Bowl!!!!  We all know the Packers have been there done that many times over for the Super Bowl, and the last time the Bears were there was 2007 for a loss and 1985 for the win.  Super Bowl Shuffle anyone? I can tell you exactly what I was doing and where I lived in detail that night the Bears won in 1985.

If I was a single girl, rather than a single mom, living up here in WI (which I wouldn't be) then I'd go to Holiday's Pub & Grill in Menasha. Instead, my son and I will go get snacks from the grocery store right before the game (insane I know), and cheer our Bears on to a win when everyone else is booing and yelling obscenities at them.

PackerPlateGoBears

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Going Through Changes

I'm working on some migration changes in the next few weeks. I want to shake things up a bit and have more control over what goes on here.  I figure if I'm working on my writing and transcription business website, I might as well move my blogs over and start hosting them myself as well. I'm excited about it and just need to get the back end running so it looks just right.

In other news, I finally took my behind to the gym. I also wrote down everything that I consumed today. I sure wasn't big on snacking when I knew I had to calorie count and account for it! I also drank water at the gym and with dinner. I hate water. HATE it unless it's ice cold. The only time I drank a lot of water was in AZ and I was outside waiting for the bus or walking to the grocery store. I didn't want to die, obviously. I think my body is massively dehydrated since I've barely peed at all today (sorry TMI), but I drank a lot of water. Will have to keep an eye on that. The goal is to be able to feel cute this summer and not like a sweaty gross mess every time the sun touches my skin. We'll see!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sick, sick, sick! And More Sick.

I feel like we've been sick for 100 years. It's never ending. First strep, then bronchitis, and now head colds that rejuvenated the coughing fits. My house looks like an explosion hit it. I straightened up the living room and actually vacuumed one day. I had to lay down after that. It was a disaster by the next day.

My son is on a paper shredding kick. Tissues, newspaper, bills, and other important documents I don't hide...that he might draw on first before I can rescue it. I finally told him he could shred paper in one place and I wouldn't freak out anymore. He has a nest thing going in the corner of the room. I scoop them up when I remember and it makes him really mad the next day.

At this point, I don't even care. If someone tries to stop by, I'll have to be rude and not invite them in. Who wants to come to the germ house anyway?! I could really use a spouse right now to help with cleaning up here & feeding the kid so I can rest. But no. Oh well.

I can't wait to be able to open some windows here without getting frostbite. Thankfully my mom gave us a humidifier to offset the electric heating we have. It's like the Sahara in my house without any oasis to replenish our bodies of moisture. I'm constantly parched in the back of my throat.

I'm tired again already. I have work to get done and all I want is a nap. Why can't my son be taking the bus to and from school?! One more place for him to collect germs to bring home is all that would be. God, I hope the plague ends with this last cold because I'm so over it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should I Work from Home?

The newest post at Singlemommyhood brought this post on, as my comment there got longer and longer. I know I've written about this before, and vented my stress here before too. But this is a more helpful  post on working from home and things you should think about before deciding to do it.

I decided it was best for me to find a way to work from home after trying to work part time after my son was born and failing in a huge way. I started out transcribing and now I write resumes & have other writing projects as well. I am not a social person, hate mornings, hate commuting, and hate office politics so working at home is perfect for me. The hardest part for me was time management and a kid who wasn't in school yet. Next year he goes full day, and I cannot wait! It seems like when I drop him off for his current 1/2 day that I'm almost turning right back around to get him before anything got done.

First, I did a lot of research to avoid those 'get rich quick' ads. I hate those with a passion. I hate any WAH ad that claims you will make tons of money fast because it's not gonna happen. It's a small business, even if you subcontract, and it takes a lot of work to get a business off the ground and become profitable. Often you work longer hours and make less, but your expenses have decreased. It really becomes a work/life balance since work is always right there in the middle of your home life.

My advice, which is mostly for subcontracting (1099 workers):

  • Find something you are good at and enjoy doing! If you can market and sell and have a large network of friends then maybe candles, adult products, or makeup sales is your bag. I personally suck at those. If you can type, have good grammar & spelling, then maybe transcription or writing is the way to go. I know of a lot of customer service jobs being done from home if it is quiet (no pet/kid noise). Or find your niche and market it.

  • Find forums and resources to check if a company is legit & pays on time (subcontracting): WAHM.com, workplacelikehome.comtextilicious.com (adult jobs), etc etc etc.

  • Apply for an EIN on irs.com (free) so you're not giving your SSN to companies you aren't sure about.

  • If it's a career change, make sure you can break in without experience. Medical can be difficult to find a job without having some experience already. The medical field is changing & getting harder to find work. Newbies find themselves working in brick & mortar jobs to get the experience before they can WAH. Do your research in the field you think will work for you. I know quite a few people who took classes for medical transcription & found out too late they couldn't find a job. Odesk.com, elance.com, and guru.com are good places to get experience but the pay might be lower than industry standard at first.

  • It's easier if your kids are in school full time but not impossible. You will be exhausted and they will probably watch too much TV if they're home with you while you work. Anyone with small kids will probably work after they're in bed which means late nights and sleep deprivation. It gets easier after they start school, really. If you have family or friends that can give you a little bit of breathing room, that is a huge help. If your ex takes the kids, schedule more work for those weekends. As much as I love my son, being with him 24/7 took a toll on my sanity while I tried to work. Take breaks from each other in some way.

  • I wish I could've sent my son to daycare before my son started going to school, or that the state would've subsidized part time daycare like when I worked part time outside the home. When I started WAH, I was super low income but would've made more money if he was in daycare. For some reason, working at home is still seen as 'less than' going to an office. You have to have boundaries and let your family and friends know it's a real job even though it's flexible.

  • Think about what you're going to do about insurance. What will you do if you need to take time off for sickness? What will you do for money if you subcontract and they let you go or go under? It's imperative to have a backup plan, more than one subcontract, & finances to cover emergencies. You have to put away money to pay quarterly taxes or you pay a penalty.

  • Find things for the kids to do while you work. Coloring, playdoh, special videos they only watch when you work, etc. It helps if you have a 'quiet time' during the day if they're not napping anymore. McDonalds has WiFi & playlands and the staff doesn't give snooty looks if your kid is making a mess (ahem, Starbucks I'm looking at you). Plan for your work to take 10 times longer if they're home and awake while you work.


Remember, the reason you work from home is to be with your kids more, even if you have to work longer hours than you did in an office. So in the scramble to make ends meet, stop and go have fun! Take time to enjoy your flexible schedule and go to a kids' museum or a park or the library. Sign up for a class and make crafts in the middle of the day. Go to the gym & burn off the stress! Take advantage of a random day off to play with your kid. Take a nap or read a book. That's why you work from home.

The Dreaded Gym Membership

So joined the local gym today. They, of course, had a new year special going and I get a student discount. No reason not to join since my son is in school 1/2 day. No reason not to go after I drop him off everyday. No excuses left not to go and get right.

I love myself just not the packaging. On Christmas Day I saw a true reflection in a mirror that made me so disgusted with my naked body I cried. I finally saw it without my blinders on. I hate it. I don't love any part of it like I used to. Even when I've said I hated some part of my body (usually my fat knees or my big feet), I've had a part that I loved to compensate for the dislike of those other parts. Not this time. I hate it all except my eyes and mouth. Last year some older boys mooed at me in a grocery store and it hurt, but not enough to motivate me. Now I've reached the point that I need and want to change how I feel.  How I look. Everything. I have to.

I could blame the weight gain on quitting smoking, no gallbladder, stress, pregnancy, single parenthood, or whatever. I'd be lying. It was poor choices and sitting on my ass all day in front of a computer. I currently sit at 227 & I'm 5'6". I'm disgusted that I'm firmly in the 200's where I said I would never go.  I'm going to change that even though it's going to be really hard. I really dislike things that don't come easy to me.  I like the easy, efficient, fast way to do things. Exercise, weight loss, and healthy living are none of those things - at first.

I truly hate working out. I hate getting sweaty. I hate the blotchy, itchy mess I become when I sweat. But I hate possibly dying early even more. Even worse, I hate not feeling cute. I miss feeling confident in my clothes instead of hiding the 'bad' parts in them.

So I joined the gym today. Tomorrow I start working out even though my head is still a little congested. Slow and steady I will tell myself when I'm gasping for air on the treadmill. The fast and easy way isn't going to work this time. Like my son says all the time, "It's not a race mom."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"It's a Book" by Lane Smith = Awesome! (review)

I just read the best kid's book ever! My best friend sent it to us for Christmas as a gift, and I think it's hilarious in a tongue in cheek kind of way.  Obviously, I'm not being paid or compensated for this review since it was a gift.

It's a Book by Lane Smith is marketed as a kid's book for ages 4-8, but if you have lost your sense of humor with using the word Jackass for a donkey it might be better for older readers like third to fifth grade.  Since the younger children will likely yell out "Jackass" repeatedly out of context, and if it bugs you, or could become a public embarrassment, trade it out with "Donkey".  I honestly thought it was hilarious and a smart play on words.  I figure my son can say Jackass all day at home, and he already knows some words aren't for outside conversation.  I've warned him if he says it in public (aka school) they will give him a red day and probably call me to get him.  It works for us and the big bad swear words he knows are only for adults to say, so he doesn't.

Anyway, the book talks about technology versus old-school reading and it's pretty funny in it's simplistic way.  Younger children probably won't understand the terminology "blogging" or "Wi-Fi", but my son knew about texting and tweeting.  I explained the other words to him.  He is a techie kid and at 4.5 years old he knows how to work a laptop and navigate his kid sites like PBSkids.  So if you don't have a tech savvy kid and they're not familiar with the Internet or other technology, it won't be quite as fun comprehension-wise. I found It's a Book to be amusing rather than controversial and my son is excited about reading it, which is never a bad thing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

All Better - Just Add Work

I just needed time away from the holidays to recover mentally and physically.  After the strep and bronchitis here and then the traveling and anniversary date, I was feeling a real mess.  Now it's a new year and the boy is back to school and I'm working on my writing projects, building my resume writing client base, and maintaining my transcription company.  It's a lot to have going on, and occasionally something doesn't make it on my calendar, but I feel good about the new year so far.

The resume writing is a new endeavor here. I happened upon a few clients by accident and I really enjoy doing it.  Since it's not a full blown company just yet, it's easy to fit into my schedule.  I'm tapering off on the transcription to do more writing.  It all works out and blends together nicely as it all has similarities.  I'm very lucky to be doing what I enjoy and feel passionate about doing as far as work.

Now that we're all better here physically, it's time to start making doctor appointments.  More specifically, my son probably needs glasses per the school nurse's eye test failure.  The problem is our HMO not issuing the authorization forms until the only vision place in town is booked for the whole month already. Now I understand why people get go with a PPO!  I mean, the boy can't see at school so now he has to wait over a month or more to be able to see a doctor, IF they get a cancellation in February. Great.  I'm going to get mine done at the same time just to save some time.  I can't wait to see what happens when I try to find and schedule a mental health appointment regarding adult ADHD.  That's going to be super tons of fun, I can tell already.  Speaking of which, if you haven't see ADD and Loving It?! and you have a loved one with ADD or think you may have ADHD yourself, watch it now.  Seriously.  This video had me sitting open-mouthed at the computer (& TV when it was on PBS) in tears.  I would recommend it highly to anyone who thinks ADD/ADHD is a made up excuse for active kids.  Trust me, I used to be one of those that thought the kids just needed more discipline from permissive parents.  Karma is a real bitch I tell ya!

So my month is going to be filled with phone calls, paperwork, and doctors appointments.  Dental and hearing will be on the agenda since I just got the all-day 5K intro letter today.  My taxes and FAFSA are on the agenda as well this month.  This year my financial aid info will be sent on time to the colleges here!  I should be in a nice financial groove by then and ready to take it on.  This year was good to have off, but I'm ready to finish it now.  Now if I could just shake off the pervasive chill up here, I'd be golden!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Seven Year Anniversary...or not.

Today marks what would have been my seven year anniversary had I served my ex with divorce papers in 2008, and had we not separated less than a year after our marriage.

I sat here a long time staring at the screen, wondering what else to write about this.  I don't think I have anything else I want to say right now.  Maybe tomorrow I'll feel better writing about it.  Even though our divorce was final in 2009, I have mixed feelings about everything and the circumstances that surrounded it.

Note to those people getting engaged and/or married around the holidays...don't.  It messes them up later if things go wrong.

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