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.


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):, (adult jobs), etc etc etc.

  • Apply for an EIN on (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.,, and 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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