The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2011

Not That I Want to Hug About it or Anything, But I’m Proud of You

This weekend I went to Arizona PodCamp. Unless you were there too, you’re totally thinking one of the following right now:

Does this involve Ted Williams and his frozen head?

Is she talking about her garden again?

OK, I knew she had some sort of alternative view on religion, but now she’s involved in an alien cult?

Or if you’re moderately techie, you might be thinking:

Good lord, now she’s getting into Podcasting? Does she not have enough hobbies? It might be time for a hobby intervention…

Right? Was I right? When I was little my mom tried to teach me to be psychic, but I don’t think it worked.

Anyway, to answer your questions: No, No, No, No, Yes, No, I’m ok for now and probably when we get to the point where something like that is necessary my husband can handle it, thanks for your concern, though.

Before I showed up at Podcamp Sunday morning I didn’t totally get what it was either. A bunch of months ago I was asked to sit on a writing panel and answer questions about writing for the web at this thing called Podcamp. I went to Wordcamp this year, so I had a feeling it was something like that, but about Pods. Which, as a category (seedpods, space pods, frozen head pods,  iPods), I tend to have limited knowledge about.

But it turns out Podcamp is really more of a social media ‘unconference’. I think I don’t really know what an ‘unconference’ is in relation to a ‘conference’. But that may be because I’ve never been to a real conference. So what I’ve experienced at an unconference seems like what happens in movies and on TV when people go to a conference. You get a name badge. You go to several different speakers on different topics that sort of generally relate to each other. There’s a lunch break. Everyone wears matching t-shirts. They give away prizes.

Hmm, maybe the last two aren’t what I’ve normally heard about conferences. So is an unconference just like a more fun conference that you’re not required to go to for your work? I think that could be it.

The point is; I went to this thing. And I may or may not completely understand the semantics of what it was, but it was pretty rad. I listened to a local chef talk about how to take better pictures of food (and how chefs are really pretty horrified when people take bad pictures of their awesome food and post them on blogs and Yelp). I answered questions about the difference between writing for the web and writing for other media with three other super rad webbishly writer types. Then I listened to a panel of totally geeky types talk about what people do to eff up their WordPress blogs.

It was good info, the whole thing seemed expertly run and dude, it was totally free! What? I know, right? Maybe that’s part of the ‘unconference’ difference too. Dude, I think I only ever want to go to unconferences from now on. Conferences are for losers.

Today, thinking back on that event, I’m feeling pretty proud of all the people who organize stuff like this. The volunteers who put this together spent a bajillion hours, got paid not a dime and basically just did it because of a love of being involved in the Phoenix community. These are all people who like to share knowledge and ideas just to make each other better. How cool is that?

So good job AZpodcamp people. My hat is off to you. And thank you, Tyler Hurst, for inviting me to sit on a panel. You’re a pain in the ass and an instigator and sometimes you bully me just for fun (wait, stick with it, I’m getting to the nicer part), but you have a good soul. You work hard and you do it for the right reasons. Community is important. Metro-Phoenix is worth the effort. People sharing knowledge and thoughts and ideas is the answer to everything. (I’m uncomfortable with absolutes. But I’ve thought about it and this time the absolute applies. EVERYTHING.) I am proud to have people like you and all of the others who supported and attended Podcamp in my community.

Also? I, for one, am glad you’re changing the name next year. TechPhx makes more sense. Not that I know that much more about tech than I do about pods.

Running and Writing. And Writing and Running. And…

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzz….*SNORT* Huh? Oh… I must have dozed off for a second. Sorry. I suddenly have an excessive amount of hobbies and it’s taking all the energy I can muster just to keep up with them this week. I keep telling myself I can absolutely maintain this pace if I just try a little harder, but I’ve recently determined I’m a pathological liar. Although I haven’t figured out what to do with the information yet, so on I press.

Pros of this week:

1. I ran 10.5 miles. Not in one shot, of course. And really, ‘ran’ is probably too strong of a word. I probably should have said, “I covered the distance of 10.5 miles using only my feet as a mode of transportation.”

But my ankle, which was suffering from some kind of over-use or general stupidity injury after the Hybrid Adventure games, seems to be holding up. My hip was a little sore after this morning’s run, but nothing seems to be totally debilitating.

I have officially joined a team and registered for RAGNAR at the end of February and I registered for The Warrior Dash at the end of April. I’m about 75% committed to doing a Rim to Rim hike with my Dad and various other family members next October (this one scares me, though). I also really want to do this race Jason found and sent me (it’s nice to know I married a man who’s willing to indulge and support my insanity rather that have me committed) called The Color Run, in January. Apparently you wear a white tshirt and people spray paint at you as you run three miles. How awesome does that sound? It’s like combining art with exercise. LOVE. It also benefits Cardon Children’s Hospital, which is unfortunately, a place we know well. So even though that’s a ridiculous amount of events I’ve committed myself to, I’m probably gonna add that one too.

2. I’ve written 9,500 words for NaNoWriMo this week. And of course plenty of others for blogs and emails and stuff like that. I’m suddenly so conscious of every word that I type. I feel like I should get credit for them all.

I’m totally enjoying NNWM (no one calls it that). Not every second of it, of course. There were several hours this week when I really just wanted to ‘accidentally’ spill a diet coke into my laptop so that Jason would have to take it apart and clean it out and fix it and I would be forced to watch my shows I’ve been missing and drink my wine I’ve been abstaining from while I write (<-BLATANT LIE. I’ve totally been sipping my Chardonnay as I write at night. See? Pathological.).

But the point is, over all I already feel like I’ve learned SO MUCH about the process of writing long form and the stamina it takes to do it. It really is so much like running. It’s kind of awful at points while you’re doing it and you just have to keep telling yourself to put one foot in front of the other, and then you’ll get in a groove and time and the world will speed by. Plus, when you’re done with either you feel really proud that you’ve actually done it.

But, you know, still 32,500 words to go. And I don’t get any credit for the 545 I’ve just written here. Lame.

Cons of this week:

1. Not one of the SEVEN shortsales I’m currently waiting to have approved or at least responded to, made any progress this week. Dude. Can a bank please throw a girl a bone here?

2. I went to visit my Endocrinologist this week for a check up (not to just hang out and talk shit about our husbands or anything). I have a genetic auto-immune thyroid disease called Hashimotos (which is really a lot less of a big deal than all of those words make it sound) that I have to take medication for daily and blood taken once a year to make sure I’m correctly medicated.

So the con part is that when I got weighed, the scale was definitely sporting a number I hadn’t seen since freshman year in college when I lived next door to the student union and regularly ate four meals a day, for no other reason except to socialize.

When I sat down with the doctor to go over my lab results and how I’ve been doing, this is how it went:

Me – I’m feeling fine and everything. But my weight is up, huh?

Doctor – Let me check. Uh… yeah. You’re up about 6 lbs from your last visit and 9 total from when you started seeing me in 2009.

Me – NINE POUNDS? In two and a half years? Don’t tell my mother, OK? She’s your patient too. There’s an oath you took that says you can’t tell anyone about that, right?

Doctor – The Hippocratic Oath is about not doing harm. But no, I won’t tell your mother. It’s not that big of a deal. You’re still within an acceptable range for your height.

Me – Ugh, but I’ve always been pretty stable without having to work much at it. Is my thyroid medication off?

Doctor – Well, no, actually. Your levels are totally good. It’s not your thyroid.

Me – I’ve recently started exercising. Do you think it could be that I’ve gained muscle?

Doctor – Have you been doing heavy duty lifting and weight training?

Me – No… running 3 miles three times a week and taking ballet once or twice a week.

Doctor – No. You have not gained 9 lbs in muscle from a small amount of running and dance over two months.

Me – Well, I mean, I guess it must be my age. My metabolism is starting to slow down, right?

Doctor – You’re 33. Metabolism doesn’t start to slow down until people reach early 40s. This is not about your age.

Me – So what you’re saying is that I’m just eating crappy? And that if I keep it up in 10 years I’m going to be super fat?

Doctor – I don’t think I actually said any of those things. But I wouldn’t disagree with that statement.

So yeah. Gonna have to work a little harder on that. You know, in addition to the stuff I’m already this close to failing at. I can totally lose 10 lbs. <- LIAR.

60 is the New 40

Dear Dad,

I spoke to the Universal Aging Commission (UAC) and they’ve reviewed your file. Taking into consideration a number of factors including, but not limited to:

1. Your willingness to dress up like a Carebear and paint your head to match a tennis ball

2. You not only know what a blog is (and don’t refer to it as a ‘weblog’) but are regular writer of one

3. Rather than being embarrassed OF you, your children and their friends are usually embarrassed BY you because they have failed to match your stamina in either drinking or athletics

UAC has decided to grant you the rare but coveted Right to Age Backwards.

60 used to be the benchmark age where people could sit back and rest without humiliation. Once they’ve hit a certain age, men feel comfortable pulling their pants up high and falling asleep in their favorite chair as a means of evicting company after dinner. Once they’ve put in their time, women feel they’ve earned the right to scowl at teenage girls in short shorts and not understand ‘the facebook’.

UAC has determined you’re making these normal folks feel bad about themselves. They’ve decided 60 is really the highest you need to age and that if you continue the pace you’ve set unchecked, the senior set is going to lynch you into submission. So rather than seeing a tragedy like that occur, they’re going to allow you to get younger everyday from here on out, with just a few provisions:

1. You have to stop wearing Mom’s bedazzled reading glasses when you can’t find your own.

2. Going to bed at 8pm is only appropriate if you’re recovering from something. If it’s just a normal day, at least try to make it to 9pm.

3. You should probably get a smart phone. You’re kind of dropping behind the technology curve on that one and you can’t even participate in family Google Messenger (except when Mom messages for you. But then that gets confusing because occasionally she has too much white zin after dinner and starts messaging aggressive things about sporting events on TV and we can’t tell if it’s you messaging through her or just Mom all hopped up on cheap wine).

So congratulations, Dad. Soon, if you play your cards right, in no time you’ll be back to this:

Happy 60th to the man who’s probably going be younger than me someday.



How To Turn a Profit on a Short Sale

Dear Wells Fargo Short Sale Negotiator,

I’m writing to alert you to an error in logic and reason you’ve made regarding the conditions of a potential short sale approval you’ve issued to a seller. It’s possible it’s an error in math, instead, but as the negotiation expert to a large financial institution I’m going to assume your adding and subtracting skills are beyond my sixth grader’s.

On second thought, we all know what assuming does, so I’m going to walk you through the math, too, just in case that really was the problem. I’ll go ahead and round to big numbers to make it really simple:

The seller owes $135,000 to you, the First loan.

The seller owes $86,000 to someone else, the Second loan.

The buyer’s offer was for $150,000.

After closing costs, Realtor fees and $6,000 to the Second loan (which they have agreed to accept in lieu of full payment), the amount you will net with this is $130,000.

Just so we’re clear, that’s $5,000 under what you’re owed for the seller to be released from the loan without a short sale approval.

You came back with several conditions to the approval that you will not move forward without:

  1. The Second loan only gets $3,000, instead of the $6,000 they’ve requested.
  2. Several closing cost fees must be reduced to the tune of $1,000.
  3. The seller must agree to either a $5,000 cash contribution at close of escrow OR a $10,000 personal loan for the next 5 years that you’ve graciously agreed to fund for zero interest.

OK, so let’s just review this counter-offer you’ve made. If the seller agrees to this, you will actually net $139,000 if they pick the $5,000 cash contribution option OR $144,000 if they don’t have that money to scrape together right now (which is likely since they’re doing a SHORT SALE) and have to go with your loan option. So you will profit $4,000-$9,000 more than you’re owed on this loan to begin with.

Did you really mean to say: We will not approve this short sale? Because that actually makes a little more sense than this MC Escher logic/math problem you’ve turned back to us.

I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and let you correct one of your errors. OK?


The Realtor Who’s Really Hoping You’re Just Not That Bright, Instead of Evil

10 Things That Scare The Crap Out of Me

1. My oldest son’s report card

2. How comfortable mom-jeans are

3. How many people I’ve seen wearing these shoes recently:

4. The two-foot wall space above the kitchen cabinets directly over the stove that’s coated in a grease/dust mixture and has never been cleaned

5. The projected cost of putting three children through college in the next 7-15 years

6. The research about metabolism in relation to women over 30

7. The first day of NaNoWriMo is tomorrow and I have two parties to throw this weekend

8. The rapidly shrinking amount of time I have to lose 10 lbs before my big, tropical, 10 year anniversary vacation

9. How close I am to having a teenage son (616 days)

10. The fact that I’m going to be home alone with two huge bags of Halloween candy all day

Don’t let your fears get the best of you on this spooky day. Happy Halloween!

My Review of American Horror Story

Me (after the kids are in bed last night): Hey, babe? I want you to watch this new show, American Horror Story, with me tonight. It’s on On Demand and everyone says it’s really good. I watched the first 3 minutes of the first episode and it seemed totally interesting. Want to?

Jason: Is it scary?

Me: I don’t know… I mean I guess it’s supposed to be, but it’s a serialized show, how can it be that scary?

Jason: OK, I’ll try it out if you want to.


Me (the next morning): I DIDN’T SLEEP AT ALL. Not one bit.

Jason: What? Really? Because of that show?

Me: Yes, because of that show. And because in the dark and without my glasses on, the fan in our room looks like a giant tarantula on the ceiling…

Jason: Um… no it doesn’t.

Me: And because your cat was scratching at the wardrobe next to the bed like she was trying to warn me about a ghost or a psychotic killer in there waiting for me to fall asleep …

Jason: She does that every night. You’re just usually snoring so loud you don’t hear it.

Me: And because Gray sleepwalked down the stairs and tried to go out into the garage halfway through the show, and when we tried to talk to him about what he was doing, he just stared at us with children of the corn eyes and refused to even make a sound…

Jason: OK, I admit that was creepy. Especially because the kid’s never sleepwalked before in his life.

Me: And because even though I tried desperately to think of calming, beautiful and sleep-inducing things like unicorns and drinking margaritas on the beach while attractive men fan me and tell me I’m brilliant and funny, I kept seeing body parts in glass jars, the mirror punishment room, psycho killers of all varieties and Jessica Lange with her boyfriend who’s a third of her age.

Jason: It’s just a show.

Me: I’m feeling like this is a sign you don’t love me anymore.

Jason: WHAT?!

Me: Why would you let me watch that? And right before bed?

Jason: Wait, wait, you asked me to watch it with you!

Me: Yes, and you let that happen. You also bought two bags of Chili Cheese Fritos last night.

Jason: You love Chili Cheese Fritos!

Me: That is my point. After nearly 10 years of marriage you should know I can’t be trusted to act in my own self-interest when either scary things OR Chili Cheese Fritos are involved. It’s your job to save me from myself.

Jason: Oh my god. Are you serious? Fine. We won’t watch that show again.

Me: What? We’re still two episodes behind! Of course we’re going to watch it. Now I’m emotionally invested. I have to find out if Francis Conroy is a ghost or if Dylan McDermott just has some strange old lady fetish we don’t totally understand yet. And is anyone ever going to tell Jessica Lange it’s not politically correct to call her daughter a ‘mongoloid’?

Jason: I’m not ever going to win in this, am I?

Me: Not super likely.

National Novel Writing and Peeing My Pants With Fear Month

I’m NaNoWriMo-ing in t-minus 5 days. You’ve heard of it, right? National Novel Writing Month? I think it’s probably pronounced ‘Nah-No-Rye-Moe’, but I always pronounce it ‘Nah-No-Ree-Moe’ because I just do. I also pronounce biopic ‘bi-ah-pic’, like myopic instead of ‘bio-pic’. Feel free to be embarrassed for me.

Anyway, the point of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000+ word novel in the month of November. You can’t start before, and you have to hit 50K before the end of the month or you haven’t ‘won’.

Have I mentioned my life long dream is to write a novel? Like dating back to first grade when I won the district writing contest for my literary work of art Down in the Dumps:

I’m down in the dumps,

I’m head over heels,

Don’t know how I got here,

Maybe on wheels.

Which I also brilliantly illustrated with a picture of a girl upside-down on a pile of trash with a wagon nearby. Because I’m nothing if not literal.

I know what you’re thinking: Um, if this has been your dream your whole life, why do you need a dumb contest to do it? If it’s so important to you, why don’t you just… WRITE A BOOK?

And yes. While kind of harsh, you make a valid point. I shouldn’t need a special month to pursue what I consider my destiny. I’m just saying you could have said it in a nicer tone of voice and told me I’m pretty afterward, but whatever. The problem is, I have a small mental block about the whole thing. I’m a little… you could say, UTTERLY TERRIFIED of failing epically at the one thing I’ve wanted to do my entire life.

I’ve tried, time and time again. I never get past about 2000 words on one book before I feel the overwhelming urge to start over because it sucks or isn’t right. I fall victim to the trap of desired perfection. If I can’t do it awesomely and perfectly, then I’ll just keep starting over until it is awesomely perfect.

Obviously I know this will never work. I strongly believe writing a book is like skiing or surfing or ballet or trapeze: you have to practice to not suck. The first time you do it, it’s going to be impossible to make it down the mountain without getting snow on your ass, even if you’re a natural. You have to do it again and again and again to teach your body which way to lean so that you don’t face plant into a tree at 30 mph. You have to practice standing on releve’ with your ballet teacher poking you in the thigh, abdomen, back and shoulders shrieking for you to ‘lift up, suck in, tighten, move only right here an inch to the left’ before you can do a pirouette without eating shit.

My assumption is you can only write a novel without it being a giant steaming pile of crap once you’ve done it time and time again and learned from your errors and failures. The paralyzingly daunting difference between writing a novel and surfing a wave is that one takes a 10 minutes of paddling out and a minute and a half of struggling to stand up, while the other takes god-knows-how-much time and energy to churn out the 70-80k words of an average novel.

But I know I have the content in me. I’ve written an average of 2500 words a week for this blog consistently for the last 16 months. That’s 160,000 words, or the length of TWO novels, in just 16 months. The length shouldn’t scare me.

I just need to get over that pesky little fear of failure. That’s where NaNoWriMo comes in. My plan is to go into the thing fully aware that I’m going to fail at quality. It’s going to be horrible. But I’m going to succeed at quantity. I’m going to push through and get my 50k words on the paper, on one moderately cohesive topic, in one month, even if it kills me (and it just might).

And because I always need a POA, I’ve devised a set of rules for myself for the month of November to get through the monster task of writing 50k words in 30 days (without dropping any of the other 11,639 balls I have currently orbiting my head):

1. Write at least 1,700 words every day.

2. No wine or TV is allowed unless 1,700 words have been written for the day.

3. If for some reason I am not able to complete my 1,700 words for the day, I must get up by 5AM the next day to catch up my word count for the day before. I’m still expected to complete my next 1,700 words for that day as well.

4. All NaNoWriMo writing must be done in the morning before the kids wake up or at night after they go to bed (unless I’m attending a Write-In event).

5. Blog posts are still scheduled as usual, although I am allowed to cut back to 2 per week for RE Tangent if necessary.

6. Never say die.

So… that’s where I’m at. I’ve been having nightmares about the whole thing for the last week and I’m a little sick just thinking about it, but by golly, I’M COMMITTED. (Or at least I probably will be by my husband and family by the end of all of this.)

The Pledge of the Mom

I pledge allegiance to the sisterhood of mothering.

When I see a fellow mother on the train with a small child who’s throwing an unholy fit, I will not pretend I don’t see the desperation on her face. I will not ignore the fact that her eyeballs are 10 seconds from bursting out of her head at the frustration of being so very far over the limit of patience one person can be expected to exhibit. I will not politely turn a blind eye the fact that her tantruming toddler just slammed the back of his thick skull into her fragile cheekbone while she was attempting to restrain him and answer her cell phone. I pledge to jump up and offer assistance even as my embarrassed husband silently begs me to not get involved with strangers, because I remember plane rides alone with small children I wouldn’t have made it through without the kindness of strangers.

When I have the luxury of grocery shopping alone, I pledge to let the mom of one, two, three, four, FOUR children under the age of five in and clustered around her cart go ahead of me even though she has more items than I do because I can see if I don’t she’ll probably give up and abandon the cart and her groceries and go home without checking out because she just can’t take it anymore. I’ve been ushered to the front of lines more than once for exactly that look of panic in my eye.

In the restaurant when my children are behaving and eating quietly, I pledge not to judge or roll my eyes at the mother at the next table with the kid who just told her he hates her and he’s not eating the pasta he ordered and then threw the plate on the waitress’s shoes. Instead, I pledge to catch her eye and give her a reassuring smile so she knows that my asshole kid did the same thing two weeks ago at a different restaurant.

At the airport when I see a mom engaged in a heated discussion with the TSA agent about exactly how her stroller is supposed to collapse small enough to fit through the scanner while she holds a 6 month old baby and her 3 year old daughter becomes distracted and starts to wander off, I pledge to yell and make a scene so the kid doesn’t get lost, even if it means I’ll be detained and strip-searched for my trouble.

When I see a kid whose mom isn’t watching pick up an old band aid on the ground at the playground and move it toward her face, I pledge to swat it out of her hand in horror, even though polite society says I should mind my own business.

I pledge to be bossier, nosier, pushier and more involved with other people than the bare minimum, because my children and I wouldn’t have survived as long as we have without similarly bossy, nosy, pushy and overly involved people.

I pledge to be a mom.

10 Things To Do Before You Have Kids

Don’t get me wrong, I totally dig my kids and hubs. I have a good thing going here, and I know it. I managed to find a man who totally puts up with my shit at a very young age. Most aren’t so lucky. That said, I started this whole ‘being a grown-up and nurturing human life’ crap pretty early. I wasn’t a teen mom or anything (obvs. Or you would know me from my US Weekly cover shoots), but I definitely skipped a certain amount of early 20s shenanigans in favor of diaper changing.

Because my kids are finally reaching a slightly more self-sufficient stage, I’ve had a little more time to think about things that I want to do for me: activities, travel, hobbies, life dreams, etc. I realized, there are a few things I wish I could go back and do under the protection of ‘Young and Stupid’ that I will never be able to get away with at this point.

So just to help everyone who hasn’t yet made that jump into parenthood and responsible adultness, but is considering it, I’ve made a list of 10 things I wish I could go back and do before I had kids:

1. Dye my hair blue – I’ve totally always wanted to sport an alternative look. Now it would just be a detriment to my kids’ abilities to score playdates. “Jared, you want to go to Gray’s house after school? Isn’t his mom the one in her 30s with blue hair? I think she has mental problems, it’s a bad idea.”

2. Join an acrobatic troop – I was a gymnast for years when I was a kid and a diver in high school. What I wouldn’t kill for now to be in the Sea World dolphins and divers show? Or do a stint in a Vegas show involving trapezes and sparkly pasties? I’m obviously too old and fat to learn the trade now, but hot damn to I wish I could go back and rock that shit when I was 20.

3. Live in a foreign country – I know if Jason and I decided we really wanted to move to Uruguay or something, technically we could. But obviously we wouldn’t. The ridiculousness of finding schools and jobs and housing and packing up all of our stuff infinitely outweighs the romanticism of experiencing the daily life of another culture. Let me tell you, though, if I was 23 and single and could find any excuse to spend a summer working at a Gelato stand in Rome? I would jump at it.

4. Have a job I spend 12 hours a day at – I know it seems ridiculous to want a chance to work myself to death, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to hold a job I could give EVERYTHING to. I graduated from college and had a baby 2 months later. 7 weeks after that I started my first adult job. There’s a certain decadence to the idea of being only committed to doing your job awesomely. I’ve never even actually worked through dinner.

5. Own a piece of white furniture – Did you see that episode of The Rachel Zoe Project where she had her house designed all in gorgeous white couches and rugs and accents and amazingness? Yeah, all I could think about while watching that was that it would immediately look like a Jackson Pollock painting if it was in my house.

6. Pose for an artist – I’m not saying I was gorgeous before I had kids, but it would be nice to have proof that I didn’t always have a roadmap of stretchmarks.

7. Try out for The Amazing Race – which totally didn’t exist before I had kids, but whatever, this is my fantasy. I think my sister and I would rock TAR. And by ‘rock’ it I mean totally embarrass our family by our lack of natural directionality.

8. Live alone – I went straight from my parents, to roommates, to a husband and a baby. I don’t know that I’d love living alone, but I think it would be interesting to have the experience of being completely in control of my own space and schedule, if for no reason but to learn how I’d deal with it.

9. Attend Burning Man – I’m still not totally sure I understand what goes on at Burning Man besides weird costumes and some sort of artistic chaos, but I have this feeling it would be something I would remember. I also have this feeling that at this point in my life I’d prefer to sleep in a bed and super drugged out people would terrify me or piss me off. I’m obviously too old for that shit now.

10. Chain myself to a tree or go on a hunger strike – Extreme political passion is for the insane or those with the luxury of extra time. I wish I had the energy to save the world from itself, but I’d totally settle for the ability to say I had at one time.

So there you go, kids, if you’ve completed that list, feel free to make the big leap!

How I’m Gonna Get Rich

I finally figured out how Jason and I are going to get rich and be able to put our trajillion children through college. We’re going to build a time machine, go back in time, and rather than betting on sporting events (because I don’t know enough about sports not to screw it up) or picking the winning lotto numbers (because of the lottery curse, duh) I’m going to go back and help myself not spend the money I already have in totally moronic ways. Dude, it’s a gold mine! Every time I look back and think, “I am the stupidest person alive, I might just as well have flushed that money I just spent down the magical poop stealing water chair,” I could just rewind and unspend it. I think I might end up being a billionaire.

I’m going to get Jason started on building the time machine and while he’s at it, I’ll make a list of all of the potential stupidity money I can go back and unspend:

1. Overage fees from that one bank account I don’t keep any money in, but still have two bills that auto-pay out of and every other month I forget to transfer money into.

2. Late fees on credit cards I have the money to pay off and just forget to log in and hit ‘pay bill’ on time.

3. Fines for not turning paperwork in on time to my broker (which are completely deserved).

4. The gym subscription I had for 6 months without walking in the door at the gym once, before I canceled it.

5. The newspaper subscriptions I have only for the coupons I haven’t used in 4 months.

6. Late fees on movies I forgot to return so many days in a row that now we own them (does anyone want to borrow Darjeeling Limited? I never got through the whole thing, but the part I saw was both boring and weird).

7. The jeans I bought at Target last week that neither fit me correctly nor are flattering.

8. Padded costs for signing up for events or lessons outside of the ‘early sign-up’ window.

9. Extra shipping charges for getting things where they need to go fast because I waited till the last minute.

10. Meat that expires in my fridge because I bought it to cook tomorrow and then was too lazy and got takeout instead.

11. Kids’ meals my children never touch at restaurants (really? $5 for what is clearly the blue box mac n cheese?).

12. Health insurance for 90% of the time (ok, ALL insurance for 90% of the time).

13. Unused Groupons for restaurants we never go to and even if we did would be too embarrassed to pull out a Groupon to pay at anyway.

This is genius. I just need a time machine and all my problems will be solved. Maybe I should call Phineas and Ferb.