The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Yearly Archives for 2011

I’m a HAG (Hybrid Adventure Gamer)

OK, so let’s talk about this weekend. You know, that Mid-Life Crisis/event I was woefully under-qualified for/Hybrid Adventure Games/Death March into the desert? Let’s talk about that.

I tend to think pretty much everything in life can be broken down into The Good, The Bad and The Weird, so let’s go at it like that.

The Good

1. I didn’t die. (We’ll go ahead and elaborate on why this really deserves the top position under The Good later on in The Bad.)

2. My sister finished the run in third place for the women and 15th place over all. Sorry, did you hear me? THIRD PLACE. I’m still not sure how we’re related as it took me NEARLY TWICE AS LONG to finish. It seriously is kind of a problem for me that she’s so awesomely hardcore in the athletics department. I keep thinking because we’re related I should probably be able to step it up and kick some ass if I just really try a little harder, but then at the end when I’ve laid everything I have on the table and the best thing I can say about my performance is that I didn’t die… well it’s a little deflating for my ego. She could try a little less hard sometimes for the good of the rest of us, is what I’m saying.

3. Sarah decided running in a tutu is her favorite thing to do ever and she’s just going to run in a tutu all of the time from now on.

4. One thing my ego is totally not deflated about is my team recruiting abilities. If nothing else (OK, and I admit it, there’s nothing else) I am awesome at talking seriously rad, committed and hilarious people into doing ridiculous and life-threatening things with me. I mean, really, not only did they let me convince them to dress as Carebears for our team costume, they completely committed to their costumes:

Matador Bear, Mustachioed Bear, Bear Down Bear, Dance-a-lot Bear, Beers-a-lot Bear


It also turned out they were all pretty spectacular athletes, despite all of the humble discussion about ‘needing to train’ and’ being nervous’ in the weeks leading up to the event. I should have guessed it would go like this when I was like ‘Oh, we can do this, it will be awesome! We’ll kick ass!’ and they were like, ‘Um, this is going to be really hard. Are we sure this is something we want to do for fun?’ It turns out I was overcompensating for lack of skill with bravado, or just possibly delusional, and they were being modest.

5. The non-run events were actually super fun. I liked the obstacle course the best. I was pretty good at the barbed wire part. Mostly because it was exactly the right height that I could kind of skitter under it like a spider, but most of the non-shorty-mcgee people had to actually crawl to get under it.

6. My dad was really a superb Carebear Starer:

7. All of the people involved in the event seemed super nice and out to have a great time. No fewer than 3 people who were running with me (non-volunteers) offered or gave me water during the run. I like to think it was more because they were just awesome and kind people and less because I looked like I was actually going to die in the middle of the desert and that would sort of harsh the buzz of the entire event.

The Bad

1. The ‘run’, or as I like to call it, the ‘hour and thirty-three minute, 5.4 mile death march through the desert in 100+ degree temps’ was the worst thing I’ve ever done, in my life. And I’ve given birth three times. I was not in the slightest bit prepared for what occurred. Like on 11 different levels. The trail was an up and down bike path that meandered out into the middle of the goddamn desert. There were two water stations. The heat was unbearable and there was not a speck of shade. I’m having PTSD flashbacks just describing it.

By mile 3 I had constant goosebumps all over my arms. Which apparently is what your body does when you have heatstroke. Twice, when I ran by a clump of slightly taller bushes, I stopped and huddled beneath them thinking the tiny amount of shade might cool me down just a bit. It didn’t, and then when I stood up I had to fight the spins worse than freshman year in college after a night of drinking in Nogales. It was not OK.

2. In an attempt to pre-hydrate I downed a bottle of Gatorade right before we started the run. So of course I had to pee most of the entire run. And again, we were out in the middle of the god-forsaken desert. My choices were: A) hold it or B) find a saguaro and figure out which direction was least visible to people running from any possible direction and squat, not getting close enough to actually puncture myself. So I held it. But that resulted in this exchange between my sister and my husband immediately after I crossed the finish line:

Sarah – Where did Mini* go?

Jason – I don’t know… she just flipped me off and headed straight to the bathroom. I haven’t seen her since.

To be fair, my husband totally didn’t deserve being flipped off at all. I just have an irrational anger reaction to people trying to cheer me on when I’m in pain.

3. At one point during the run I was so out of it from the heat and dehydration and having to pee and everything that even though there was an arrow that very distinctly pointed to the path on the left, I took the wash to the right and wandered that direction about 50 yards. I likely would have continued until they found my bleached skeleton, still wearing a tutu and sparkly black leg warmers, 2 weeks later, but the boys dressed as fairy princesses who were just behind me for the first half of the run saw me wander off course and yelled that I was going the wrong way. So you could say my Guardian Fairy Princess Boys saved my life.

The Weird

1. I’m not a beer drinker when there’s any other option. However, when I haven’t really eaten anything the whole day, and am in need of something, anything, to dull the pain and heat of what I’ve just been through, I can down a PBR tallboy (or 3) with the rest of them. I learned the key is to drink them fast, because if you don’t, they get warm and taste even worse.

2. There was a guy in a full banana costume that was amazingly lithe over the obstacle course. And my mother was kind of obsessed with him. “Oh my gosh, that costume is kind of obscene, don’t you think? Oh it’s just embarrassing, I mean really. I wish he would stand still so I could get a good picture of him…”

3. There was a girl who threw a pony keg 35 feet. I threw mine 15 feet. Even Super Athlete Sarah only threw hers 17 feet. I think that girl must have been a shot putter in college. I wish I had seen her do it.

4. The tire flip was way harder than it looked. And kind of an ab workout to boot.

All-in-all, I’m glad I participated. Would I sign up for it again knowing it would be exactly like that? HELLS TO THE NO, MY BITCHES. Sorry, I was just possessed by Tyra Banks there for a second. No, I wouldn’t wish that run on my worst enemy. If temps were 20 degrees cooler and I had trained for another month, things might be different, but not in that heat again. That said, I still want to do the Warrior Dash in April. And I’m planning to keep running. It’s not so bad, after all.

*Childhood nickname I will never get rid of.

My Personal Mendoza Line

One of my Facebook friends pointed out yesterday that within 12 hours of each other I posted the two following status updates:

Having one of those moments where I feel totally lucky and fulfilled. My people, my activities, my art. what else could I need? #lucky


i’m not going to kill my children, i’m not going to kill myself, i’m going to make it through. #todaysmantra

Embarrassingly, yes, I did. I can only offer three explanations:

1. I was drinking wine when I posted the first and I hadn’t even had my first Diet Coke of the day when I posted the second.

2. I tend toward an overly dramatic nature.

3. I am most happy with a life full to the brim of a wide variety of activities, people and creative pursuits. Unfortunately, this means there is an extraordinarily fine line between “Happy! Joy! Fun! Love life!” and soul-killing chaos and insanity. I often find myself being crushed under an avalanche of my own creation made up of parties and commitments and art projects. It’s a pretty, sparkly avalanche, to be sure, but I still can’t breathe under it’s weight. Someday I’ll die a horrible, bedazzled death by overcommitment suffocation.

Take today, for instance. Today has already fallen below the Mendoza Line of happiness and functionality. (<- I had to look up what exactly the Mendoza Line was to make sure it wasn’t a reference to some sort of immigration tragedy or something else horribly inappropriate to this situation. Turns out it’s a baseball thing and perfectly appropriate. Whew.)

Things I Must Without Fail Accomplish Today:

Dinner in the crockpot and photographed for tomorrow’s food blog

75 pages of financial information hand labeled with the loan number and faxed in to the lender (on my idiot fax machine that has to be babied through the process) for one of my short sale listings

Comps run and sent to one of my buyers

T-shirts ordered in person at BrandX in Tempe, for my team for the crazy race thing this weekend

Shower taken

Kids dropped with my sister

Drive up to Desert Ridge to write a new build contract with a buyer

Evite for my dad’s 60th birthday party sent

Blog (progress!)

Impediments To Completing These Things:

Gray woke up with a horrible barking cough reminiscent of the time when he was 18 months old and we took him to the ER. Do 7 year olds still get croup?

Jonas woke up with his normal personality and I’ve had to restrain myself from throttling him already 6 times.

The only possible way I’ll get through all of this is if absolutely nothing new crops up that needs to be accomplished in the next 12 hours. And I’ve already gotten 3 client emails.

Things I’ve Actually Accomplished So Far Today:

Going to the grocery store in my jammies and without having brushed my teeth because we’ve been out of milk for two days.

Going to a second grocery store because the first one didn’t have the pork tenderloin I need for tonight’s dinner.

Swearing loudly under my breath because the cereal we bought at the first store was a third of the price at the second store.

Yelling at my kids to Stop touching that, or so help me Jesus! and I don’t care who had the green blanket first, the green blanket is now mine forever because you fought over it and STOP MAKING THAT NOISE, YOU’RE GROUNDED FOREVER FOR MAKING THAT NOISE, 67, 28 and 105 times each respectively.


No worries, I’m sure by the end of the day I’ll be chin-deep in a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, loving my life and scheduling tomorrow up to the gills.

Stuff You Should Probably Know About Running

I’ve been training for the mid-life crisis my mother says I’m having (in the form of a crazy adventure race I’m participating in this weekend) for the last two and a half weeks. I started out running on the treadmill and as of this morning I’m up to 5 miles in the actual great outdoors.

I’m pretty sure this is officially the farthest I’ve run. And possibly the longest I’ve ever ‘trained’ for some kind of race-type thing. I realize this isn’t something to brag about. That said, I’ve learned many things in this short amount of time. And of course, as always, I’m here to share my new found knowledge with you. So here are 8 things I’ve learned in 2 weeks about running:

    1. You should not run like you’re a cat burglar. I’ve always thought proper running form was a fluid, quiet, graceful heel-to-toe placement of your foot. And, well, I’m a big fan of ‘proper form’. My mother always said I had the prettiest freestyle in the pool. My sister lapped me, but boy was my stroke aesthetically pleasing. So I’d been working that heel-to-toe foot placement pretty hardcore until I read Dean’s blog on the subject. That’s when I realized the intense shin and knee pain I’d been experiencing were a direct result of all of the soft-shoe padding I’d been doing up to that point. Apparently you’re supposed to run on the ball of your foot. Which I’ve been doing with a distinct lack of pain ever since. Oops.
    2. You don’t have the run the whole way for it to be considered ‘going for a run’. I totally thought walking was cheating, but I’ve learned from other running-type people that it’s acceptable to run and walk in intervals. Intervals are my friend. I’ve also been told by judgy running-type people that running on a treadmill doesn’t really count. The rules are arbitrary and confusing, is what I’m learning.
    3. The worst part about Jason’s indie music isn’t its pretentiousness, it’s the fact that I don’t know all the words so I can’t sing along at the top of my lungs. Because I’m not a super music-ish person, I had Jason load my hardly used iPod with his own selections so I wouldn’t have to listen to only my thoughts bouncing around in my head as I run. Turns out the stuff he likes is pretty good. I just wish I knew the words so I could sing along.
    4. The internal debate about getting up to run is infinitely more difficult when it’s chilly and dark. It does help, however, to remind myself that running after Jason gets home at night exponentially increases the chances of stepping on a cactus or rattlesnake in the so-very-darkness of my neighborhood.
    5. You don’t sweat until the very most inconvenient and disgusting moment possible. I don’t totally understand the physics or biology of it, but when you run outside you don’t sweat until the moment you get home and want to tweet and facebook how awesome it is that you just completed your run (because nothing really occurs unless you’ve tweeted and bookedface about it) and the sweat just starts pouring off you into your laptop keyboard.
    6. Running does NOT make you skinny. In fact, I think I’m getting fatter. It’s really hard to deny myself a lovely piece of buttered sourdough toast for breakfast after I’ve just pushed my body through an hour of non-stop torture. Must a girl have no joy in her life? Shouldn’t the extra 10 pounds just melt away after all of that cardio? No? I have to DIET ALSO? God I feel sorry for those people on the Biggest Loser.
    7. Dogs think runners look like tasty snacks for ‘on the go’. As far as threats you experience when exercising outdoors go, I continue to be less afraid of people than I am of cars, but MOST afraid of random dogs with no visible owners who are LITERALLY FOAMING AT THE MOUTH*.
    8. Runners totally wear those tight lycra pants for a specific reason and not just because they think they’re better than all the non-runners and therefore can get away with strutting around in public in spandex. That reason has to do with the relationship between loose fabric and extremely painful upper thigh chaffing. This, I learned the hard way. (Stop thinking about my thighs and chaffing. I’m sorry I gave you that mental picture.) It is yet another reason to worship tight pants (even if you have body rolls), which I already knew because of this:


*Warning to all people thinking about running in the McDowell and Hawes area of North East Mesa today. There’s a golden retriever who looks cheerful from far away, but when you get closer you’ll realize he totally has rabies and will fully eat your face off if you make eye contact. I recommend avoiding his gaze and forcing your heartbeat to remain at a normal pace even though you’re totally freaking out and sprinting past him. It worked for me.

A Vicious Debate

Jonas fell asleep on the couch last night right before I was going to take him up to his room and tuck him into bed. So because I’m currently running low on cuddles as a result of having boy children who would rather high five than kiss me good night, and a husband who sweats when I even mention sitting next to me, I let poor Jo sleep on the couch for two hours so I could just stare at his sweet face and snuggle next to him.

(And then I took pictures so the next time he does something evil I have proof he has an angelic side:


Sadly, the whole thing backfired and instead of getting me all stocked up on cuddles and loves it propelled me into an internal debate I’ve had time and time again about the Pros and Cons of having a fourth child.

When I’m sober, in the light of day, and not staring at a sleeping angelic child or have just finished watching some TV show where anyone had or tried to have a baby, the debate goes like this:


Big families are fun

Having each of the other 3 has been super enjoyable and totally worth the hassle

If I have another one now it will have cousins (and pseudo-cousins) close in age

There’s always a 50/50 chance it could finally be a girl

The house is technically big enough for one more child

I’m still young enough to do this (at least for the time being)


Who on God’s green Earth is going to pay for this child to go to college?

Being pregnant blows chunks

Another 3 years of diapers

Another 3 years of chasing around a tiny human at every family gathering/vacation/social event

We are just finally getting to the point as a family where we can do fun adventure type stuff together without having to worry about scheduling around naps and explaining to siblings who are too little to go they will be left behind, a new baby would start that clock over.

We got insanely lucky to have three healthy, brilliant, handsome sons. Should we really push our luck?

As it is now I have so much going on between work and driving kids to school and helping with homework and transporting to athletic activities I can barely keep up. With a new baby I’d have to totally abandon the older ones for awhile. It wouldn’t be fair to them.

And that’s where the debate ends. I can’t ever get past the first Con and the last two. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, here’s how the debate goes after 2 glasses of wine and with a sweet sleeping child on my couch:


Babies are awesome and hilarious

Number 4 would totally be a girl

Girls wear super cute tutus and stuff

If I have a girl she can totally take dance classes!!!!

If I have a girl she can totally be best friends with her girl cousin that my sister will have at the very same time even though she’s not pregnant yet. And she can totally marry my best friend, Rebecca’s, son, who she’s not actually pregnant with yet either, but will be.

If I never have a girl I will never get to take her prom dress shopping or help her plan her wedding. I’ll never get to show up at her house when she’s a grown up with a new outfit I bought for her just because I love her and I like to shop.

If I never have another baby this is probably the last time I’ll get to snuggle with one of my sleeping children. Ever. In life.


I’m having another baby.

And that’s how that one ends. Cons doesn’t even get a chance to speak. Pros is a weeping, inconsolable mess who absolutely refuses to listen to reason and Cons has started backing down like a total pansy. Justifications like, ‘it’s never the perfect time to have a baby, you just gotta jump in and make it work’ and ‘well if it happened accidentally, we’d totally end up just fine…’ start to get thrown around. It’s not pretty.

But then I wake up the next morning and realize I totally can’t trapeze, go to ballet class or really even attempt NaNoWriMo if I have another baby. And hey, I still probably have another 10 years of fertility left, right? I might win the lottery between now and then and we can hire help and pay for college educations with no problems. And the whole thing is tabled once again.

It’s an exhausting cycle. Though probably still less exhausting than 3 AM feedings. <- Thank you, Cons!

Marriage, Boiled Down to a Checklist

I’ve been thinking about the statistic about how 50% of all marriages end in divorce and I’ve decided it has to be inflated. HALF of all marriages are successful? I really think that sounds high.

When they calculate this are they including ones where one spouse murders the other? Because while I agree they technically adhered to the ‘till death do us part’ portion of their vows, I don’t really think it’s fair to put those in the win column.

My point is just this: How can you possibly know all of the things you’ll need your spouse to be over a lifetime on that day in your early 20s when you say ‘I do’? There should really be some sort of checklist that’s handed out at the county court you’re required to sit down and evaluate your partner based on before you are issued your marriage license. It could be a list of qualities your partner must have before moving on to the next stage of the relationship. You must be able to check 4 out of 5 boxes or you won’t successfully make it through to the next level. Like this:

Stage 1 – Initial Attraction

□ Cute

□ Makes me laugh

□ Not racist

□ Seems to know how to read

□ Likes me

Stage 2 – Cohabitation

□ Smart and funny

□ Makes up for inability to replace the empty TP roll by expertly squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom

□ Snores at exactly the same decibel level I do so no one is disturbed

□ Willing to let me watch Jersey Shore even though he’s morally opposed to its existence

□ Kind of an artistic genius

Stage 3 – The Wedding

□ Can deal with me bursting into tears every time the wedding planner calls for 6 months

□ Understands how vital it is that we both love the same flavor of cake equally

□ Willing to hand address 150 invitations without my help because his handwriting is nicer

□ Realizes that the time I woke him up at 5:30 AM by pouring a pitcher of cold water on his head was about stress and hormones and not really about him

□ Still wants to marry me even though I refused to speak to him in the 3 days leading up to the wedding

Stage 4 – Married Life Before Kids

□ Is willing to turn over rights to his credit card when it’s discovered he has an online shopping addiction that’s gone unchecked for years

□ Doesn’t need rage counseling when the company he’s worked at for two years inexplicably and without warning closes its doors and refuses to issue paychecks for time worked

□ Brings home takeout and consoles me when dinner is ruined because I don’t know how to remove skin from a chicken thigh (bonus points for fishing skin I was able to remove out of the disposal I didn’t know it couldn’t be put down)

□ Still making me laugh

□ Lets me snuggle with him even though it makes him sweat

Stage 5 – Married With Small Children

□ Screw smart, funny or talented; will he change diapers?

□ Willing to let a child streaming with snot and infested with cold germs sleep on his chest, inches from his face

□ Able to fish a fully formed log of poo out of the bathtub before it disintegrates without vomiting

□ Can still find me attractive even after he’s seen me: give birth, with pink eye, after 2 days of no sleep and a crazed look in my eye

□ Lets the three year old who threw a sippy cup at his flat screen TV effectively ending its broadcasting career live

Stage 6 – Married With Teenagers

□ Really excellent insurance

□ Can awaken from a dead sleep merely to the sound of a front door being unlatched

□ Understanding that even though we’ve been married almost 20 years I will always need to be reassured regularly he still likes to be around me

□ Able to tolerate assholery and insubordination without bloodshed

□ Can strike fear into the heart of a 17 year old even thinking about illicit activities with merely a look

Stage 7 – Empty Nesting

□ Still interesting enough I want to be around him minus my children who want nothing to do with us

□ Resistant to the charms of certain younger women who find silver foxes sexy

□ Immune to the normal resentment that years of raising children together builds

□ After all this time, makes me laugh

□ Inexplicable and obvious desire to still be married to me

Stage 8 – Super old and Crotchety

□ Knows what meds I need to take and cares enough to count them out for me

□ Doesn’t mind too much when I tell the story about when our middle son peed in the shampoo bottle for the 8429 time… which he was there for originally

□ Still pats me on the ass and says ‘Looking good’ when I walk away

□ Over his moral superiority regarding trashy reality tv and willing to watch it with me now

□ Is glad he spent the last 50 years with me, even though I’m a crazy bitch

The law should be: If you can imagine your spouse-to-be passing this checklist then you are allowed to get married. Then maybe the divorce rate would be legitimately close to 50%. Being married, for life, is not easy, is all I’m saying.

You Know It’s Monday When…

It’s not even 10am and the list of things I’ve said or have been said to me this morning include:

By me: No, no, no, nonono! The rubber band does not ever go around the cat’s neck.

To me: So don’t jump off a bridge or anything, but…

To me: If you call me a party animal, I will be your best friend.

By me: Just to recap, you gave my client permission to go into the property to clean the carpets this weekend, then before we could get in you removed the lockbox and refused to return my calls for the last 60 or so hours. Can we please discuss what is going on here?

By me: No, I don’t have a member number. I’m returning the call of the insurance agent who represents the kid who ran his car into my rental property last week…

But hey, I did restock my Diet Coke and Wine supply yesterday (which had dipped below the ‘Homicidally Low’ line) so I haven’t actually stabbed anyone or myself yet today. Although the day is young.

Things That Made Me LOL

I have a deal that was supposed to close yesterday. Instead of being a good little deal who minds his manners and does what he’s told, he gave me the middle finger and told me I’m not in charge of him and several other extremely rude and petulant things about my ugly face. Then I caught him spray-painting Fannie Mae Rulz, PNC and BofA are Bitchez on the side of a 7-11.  I grounded him from his Nintendo DS and sent him to bed without dinner, but the little bastard still isn’t behaving.

So last night instead of doing shots and crying myself to sleep, I turned to the new fall shows to distract and entertain me from my misery. Luckily, it was a good night to do this. I was sufficiently entertained that I didn’t even have nightmares about sword fighting with banks who are holding my clients hostage and threatening to execute them.

Here are my three favorite things from last night:

1. They switched out one of the roommates on New Girl last night. I knew it was happening because I read something about it in Entertainment Weekly. The guy they had in to shoot the pilot is the Wayans son who’s also in that other really funny show, Happy Endings. I guess he wasn’t sure Happy Endings was coming back, but then it got picked up and he had to be replaced, so the second episode has a different black actor as the third roommate. I totally assumed they were just going to pretend it was the same guy and the new actor would play the same character. But they didn’t! He get’s a whole new name and personality! And they didn’t pretend the Wayans son’s character didn’t exist! It made me laugh really hard at myself because how racially insensitive would it have been to just pretend the new black guy WAS the old black guy? I can just picture it in the writer’s room: No, it’s totally fine. No one will notice. They all look the same anyway.

I also am so in love with Zooey D.’s hair I might have to track her down and scalp her so I can wear it as a wig.

2. During Raising Hope, Jason had to pause the show because I was laughing so hard he couldn’t hear the TV when Virginia said their new fancy Japanese toilet wasn’t that great even though it, “can detect when I have a urinary tract infection and email the doctor.”

3. The first scene of Glee, with Brittany’s speech to Kurt about how he’s a unicorn is probably the best thing ever written.

“I think that you are the biggest unicorn. When a pony does a good deed, he gets a horn and he becomes a unicorn and then he poops out cotton candy until he forgets he’s magical and then his horn falls off. And black unicorns, they become zebras.”

Hilarity like that makes me want to be a better writer.

When The Morning Hands Us Lemons, We Make a Vodka Martini With a Twist

So far this morning:

1. Jason’s alarm didn’t go off and he overslept by an hour and a half. We’ve apparently trained the children so well to leave us alone and let us sleep in on the weekends they didn’t think to come in and find out why their father wasn’t doing dishes downstairs like he normally is first thing in the morning. They just got up, dressed and tip-toed past our door.

2. In my hurry to find a quick breakfast for the kids I elbowed a glass off the kitchen counter onto the tile below. It exploded into 8,520,745 tiny little needles of death around my bare feet.

3. The laundry monster, who’s been gaining power on the floor of our master bedroom over the last couple of weeks, rose up and declared his intention to first take over the house and the world.

But then:

1. I vacuumed up the wine glass dust without cutting myself or anyone else and decided that since that was my second to last wine glass that hadn’t yet been broken, it means I need to go wine glass shopping. Shopping always cheers me up.

2. Because he just started a new job and gets to leave a little bit later than he had been, Jason offered to drop our oldest two kids off at the bus stop and school from now on, cutting 30 minutes out of the 2 hours of drop offs and pick ups I do every day. (OK, he may have left out the ‘from now on’ part, but I’m confident it’s what he meant.)

3. I explained to the laundry monster that even if I don’t sit down tonight and spend 3 hours folding and putting away all of the clean clothes his mass consists of, he will never gain more power than he has right now. The scientific fact of it is, we only have a finite amount of clothes and Jonas has been getting dressed off our bedroom floor for over a week now. I then reached into his core and pulled out a sports bra and tank top. He collapsed to pieces on the floor, mortally wounded.

Clearly we can overcome anything.

I’m Practically a Hybrid Super-Athlete Anyway, So I’ll Probably Win

Yesterday I signed up to participate in the Hybrid Adventure Games here in Phoenix on October 15. It’s a competition with 5 categories:

An obstacle course

An archery range

A tire flip

A keg toss

A 5 mile run

Seeing as how my standard exercise routine currently consists of ballet class 2 nights a week, I’m not sure what makes me so convinced I can do this and not die, but I am. It might be have to do with the fact I know my sister will chew this up and eat it for dinner*. We have the same genetic origins, so probably somewhere deep down in the ancestral memory of my muscles, nerves and bones, a super athlete exists.

Plus, the website for the event insists I can do as much or as little of it I want and really it’s mostly about the after party and THE COSTUMES. Yes, I feel compelled to all caps that because it is my very favorite part.

I’ve convinced my dad and my sister to do it with me and I’m working on a few others. So now we need to come up with an awesome team name and SUPER RAD COSTUMES. Also I probably need to attempt some form of training. (If I run every day for the next three weeks do you think I will be able to run 5 miles by then?)

But let’s focus on THE COSTUMES. I have a few ideas so far:

1. Pirates – We could wear things like eye patches and puffy shirts and attach birds to our shoulders. And if I pass out halfway through the run I can just tell everyone it’s because I have scurvy.

2. Neon – We could just all make it a point to only wear neon pink, yellow or blue and black. There could also be some crimping of the hair for this one. It could be like we’re the team from a 1985 exercise video.

3. Zombies – We could be the Walking Dead Racers. That could potentially be super awesome. Although if I actually die during the race it could take a long time for them to figure out I wasn’t just really committed to my costume. So that’s a possible safety liability.

4. Carebears – We could each be a different Carebear as depicted by a solid color shirt with a white circle in the center and our individual Carebear power in the center. Then we could do a team photo where we line up together and put our hands on our hips and do the ‘Carebear Stare’. I kind of really want to do this one only for that team photo. And also because it means I could probably get away with wearing rad tights that match my t-shirt color.

5. Emo – We could wear all black and pretend to be really sad and angry the whole race. Then made I could wear my dress I haven’t had a reason to wear yet! And fishnets. I could totally wear fishnets. Although my sister has already told me fishnets are not conducive to running 5 miles. This is why she’s a super athlete and I’m not. She knows stuff like that.

That’s all I’ve come up with. I’m leaning toward the Carebears or the 1985 exercise video. Do you have any suggestions for COSTUMES or a 3 week couch-to-super-athlete training program for me?

*Edited to add -> That’s totally not how that saying goes, is it? I don’t even know how to properly use idioms regarding tough people. I’m so screwed.

About The Time Money Fell Into My Lap

Last Friday I got a letter from Lawyer’s Title Agency sent to my home address. It was from the ‘dormant funds department’. In a nutshell, the letter said my husband and I had a check written out to us for $5356.45, dated 12/31/08 we hadn’t cashed and they wanted to know why.

My first reaction: HOLY SHIT! They want to give us five thousand dollars? Um, can I come pick it up right now? *I got five thousand dollars happy dance* <- Looks similar to the Cabbage Patch.

My second reaction: Wait, but is this some kind of scam? Why would they want to just randomly give us five thousand dollars? Is this the one where I have to first give them some $50 processing fee and all of my bank account info and they wire it all right over, I should just sit here and hold my breath?

My third reaction: OK, so even if it’s not a scam, this is a mistake. It has to be. There’s no way I ever got a check for five thousand dollars and just forgot to cash it. Plus, this check is for both me and Jason and it’s dated a week after we closed on our current home. Why would we have gotten money back from a home purchase where we had to bring in a large down-payment? It just doesn’t make any sense.

My fourth reaction: What if I did forget to cash or pick up a check that huge? If I did that I must have a brain tumor or something. I couldn’t have possibly just forgotten five thousand dollars. Maybe it’s early onset Alzheimer’s. There has to be something seriously wrong with me if I really did that. I should probably call a medical professional.

I started out by calling the main number at Lawyer’s Title and asking about this dormant funds department to eliminate reaction number two. The secretary confirmed that it’s a real thing and the lady who signed my letter is legitimately employed there. Unfortunately, being that it was 4:45PM on a Friday, the dormant funds lady had gone home for the day and wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. I had the weekend to stew about the entire thing and ask everyone I knew for their opinions on what this could possibly mean. I got a variety of reactions from them as well.

My father said: Tell them to cut you a new check and once you have the money firmly in hand, you can start investigating why they want to give it to you.

My husband said: What are we going to buy with that? We should get something good… (This is his reaction whenever any money comes into the house that he’s aware of. It’s also why I pay the bills and he doesn’t have easy access to our savings account.)

The overwhelming majority of the rest said: I don’t totally understand what you’re talking about, but yay money!

My Realtor girlfriend who knows me far too well said: You’re going to call and ask too many questions, aren’t you? You’re going to talk them out of giving you this money. Keep your mouth shut! I’m going to call you Tuesday morning and tell you this again, shut up and collect the cash!

Tuesday rolled around and before my girlfriend could call me and talk me out of it again I gave the dormant funds lady a call.

Me: Hi, I got a letter in the mail about a check I’m owed.

Dormant Funds Lady: Oh, sure! Do you have a question?

Me: Well… I mean, if you want to give me money, I certainly don’t want to talk you out of it *nervous giggle*, but… I’m a Realtor, and I have the paperwork on that transaction here and I don’t believe I’m owed anything…

Dormant Funds Lady: Oh, well why don’t I just get out that settlement statement so we can look at it together.

Me: Erm… OK. Can I reiterate that I don’t want to talk you out of anything?

DFL: Haha, of course you don’t, Dear. Let’s see here… ok, it’s on line 303… see there? Cash to Borrower $5356.45

Me: Uh, that’s not what my line 303 says.

DFL: What is the date on your settlement statement?

Me: Um, December 23. It’s the day before we closed on the house. I remember because we moved in on Christmas Eve.

DFL: Oh, well that’s the problem. You must be looking at an estimated settlement. Mine is the final statement. It’s stamped ‘final’ in the top corner.

Me: Wait, so they issued a statement a week after we closed? Why would they do that? How often does that happen? And why was it $5,000 different?

DFL: Well… I don’t know… I’d really have to open up the whole file to figure it out…

Me: No! That’s OK. Don’t do that. How about this, can I sign the form to have the check reissued and scan and email it to you? And then when you get it can you reply to my email with a copy of the final settlement statement? Then I can compare them myself.

DFL: Sure! That sounds great.

Half an hour later I had the final settlement statement up on my computer. Sure enough, it showed us getting more than $5,000 back. After comparing all of the numbers and the original paperwork, I had figured out what happened. Apparently whoever worked up the estimated settlement had forgotten to credit us our initial earnest deposit of $5000. It only showed the money we had to put down at ‘colorization’ (because it was a new build and we built from scratch, we had to put down $5k to hold our lot and then more money when we picked all of the specifics of the design of the house). I hadn’t caught the error when I reviewed the statement, but apparently someone had about a week later. At that point a new statement was generated, as was a check and both were mailed to me, but I never received the package. Or at least that’s what the title company was claiming.

That was when I had a fifth reaction. I was pissed.

What, did you think I would revert back to Reaction One? I would do a happy dance because I won the lottery and everything checked out?

Ah, no. The only lottery I won is the one where someone takes money from me, hides it under a rock (or more accurately, their own interest bearing account) for almost THREE YEARS and then says, “Oh wait, I have your money… do you still want it?” That’s the lottery I won. If you would like to win that lottery, I would be happy to facilitate it for you in three years, just give me $5000 right now.

I’m not an asshole, I get that mistakes are made. I’m certainly not above reproach in that area. I should have caught this error. That’s my mistake. I like to think that in most cases, when I’m not working on my own transaction, that’s a new build contract I’m not as familiar with as the standard contract, when it’s not 10 seconds before Christmas and I’m packing up and moving my entire house across town while simultaneous making sure all of the necessary presents are purchased and wrapped, I would have caught that error. This time, however, for whatever reason, I trusted the escrow officer to do her job correctly.

The thing I have a problem with is that fact that I didn’t ever receive a call alerting me to this error or letting me know I should watch for a check. I never even received the package with the check and the new statement. Maybe it got lost in the mail with the switch from one house to the next and the forwarding of the mail, but you know how that could have been averted? Oh, I don’t know, MAYBE IF SOMEONE HAD CALLED ME TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAD HAPPENED. Maybe then I would have been on the watch and could have called to have a new check issued oh 2.5 years ago or so.

Or we could look at this from the perspective of a conspiracy theorist:

Maybe a check was never sent. Maybe the title company sat on the cash and collected the interest off it for the last 2 years and 9 months and now are like, ‘Oh hey there! Do you want this? Oh, ok, I guess you can have it back.’ Maybe they did that to 100 people in 2008 and collected 3 years worth of interest on half a million dollars.

Either way, it’s crap and I’m not happy.