Archive for April, 2008

you can’t interfere with destiny

April 25, 2008

I was watching the movie Election last night. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I still find it funny after watching it seventeen times. My favorite scene is when Tracy Flick, Paul Metzler, and his sister Tammy are saying their bedtime prayers. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.

When I was little, I used to pray for California to fall into the ocean, the Mississippi River bed to flood, volcanic eruptions in the Pacific, tornadic disasters in the Midwest, and a flat chest. And a unicorn. I’ve always been WAY into earth science/natural disasters/vengeful Old Testament stuff and a little insecure about my chest size and a lot slighted that I never saw a unicorn. And that’s it. I never asked for blessings to be bestowed on me or my family. I just wanted to watch my world fall apart from the back of a unicorn and be a bit more comfortable while doing it.

I would also leave change under my pillow with a note to God telling him to prove to me he was real and take the money and feed the kids that he obviously didn’t care about in China and Africa, because I cared enough for the both of us.

Please take note: God never took those pennies.

So, I wrote him notes saying he was terrible because he let people suffer. I did this long after I got over him neglecting my tithes. I would put them in pew envelopes and throw them in the collection plate at church.

Isn’t that terrible? I

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going broke

April 24, 2008

The following is an excerpt from a Memo I got from HR the other day:

“Soon you will receive your first quarter statement from Principal, the investment returns on your account will be negative for the second consecutive quarter. We have not been exposed to these market declines or volatility for about five years. This is not unusual or unexpected over long periods of time. As investors, we enjoyed record low volatility in the stock markets from 2003 to 2007with very consistent positive returns.

In the current market environment, we want to remind you that your retirement plan investments are for the long-term (unless you are nearing retirement). Unfortunately, many investors overreact during periods of stock market volatility, thus negatively affecting their long-term results. We encourage you to resist the temptation to panic and change your long-term investment strategy after reviewing your statement.”

I prepared myself for a 50% loss, just in case. I don’t care much, because my company is awesome and matches 9% of my salary into an investment package of my choosing and I don’t add a dime. I’ve been fully vested for almost two years because my company is superawesome and we are 100% after only five years. Plus I’m only 31 years old, and I have half a lifetime before retirement and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will be looking up by then.

The good news is that my rate of return only dropped 7.58% in the last three months and dropped 5.44% in the last nine. Not so bad, especially when I thought it was going to be worse. My colleague in the next cage over lost almost 25%. Sucks to be her.

I’ve been trying to save some dollars here and there. I’m aggressively paying off debt because the return on my savings is next to nothing so I may as well stop collecting finance charges like it is some kind of sick hobby.

Remember my resolution to stop buying junk? It’s working, every now and then. Turns out I still need some stuff. I can’t live like I did when I was in college. I’m way to classy for that now. But I’m not pissing so much money away anymore, which is huge and much less painful and awkward.

If your culinary preferences expand past the dollar menu, you’ve noticed that the price of groceries is somewhat alarming. I remember when I was little my grandmother would tune into the farm report every day and I thought that to be kinda archaic, considering we lived in an industrial town. I passed it off as her tying herself to her childhood days in Iowa and Oregon and didn’t pay it much mind.

Yeah, so… I watch the farm report now. Can you believe the price of wheat? The bread that I have bought since college has gone from $2.89 a bag two years ago to $4.89. Every effing thing at the grocery store is five effing dollars. What the eff?

Eff.

Even pet food is either more expensive or diminishing in quality. Unless you are feeding your animals one of the big vet-recommended brands that are regulated a bit better than the stuff you pick up wherever, your poor animal is probably eating a lot more filler lately because the good stuff is just too damned costly to put in the kibble while keeping the price reasonable. You’ve probably been noticing when you are cleaning up poop. Gross, right? Poor doggie. Poor us.

I’ve stripped our kitchen down to barebones nutrition. If it isn’t healthy, it doesn’t warrant my money. Unless Popsicles are half off, and then all rules are off.

I’m not meat cooking people, so I’m not sure what the price of that is. Beans are still 59 cents per 16 ounces. Nuts are still affordable, which is good because I eat a lot of nuts. I love me a good sack of nuts. Sometimes I like nuts in the can. A few times a day I stick a handful of nuts in my mouth and suck all the salt off before I swallow.

If I want some junk so badly that I can’t stand it anymore, we scrounge up some change out of the couch. Jake gets a half packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast each day to ensure that he is getting all his vitamins. Plus he eats the daycare lady out of house and home Monday thru Friday so I’m not so worried. He snacks on sunflower seeds and fruit and raisins and cheese and cereal. Last night he turned up his nose at birthday cake.

I didn’t.

Did I tell you that I’m making the switch to organic milk? I drank it exclusively back in the olden days when milk was only $3 a gallon. Organic was about $4. Now regular is $5 and organic is $7 or so, but I think it is well worth the extra 200 pennies. Plus it’s ultrapasteurized and lasts longer than a week. We rarely get through a gallon before it expires. I’ve almost broken myself of the “babies need milk to grow” mindset. He just gets some in the morning for his “milkshake”. Babies need nutrition to grow, not udder pus.

That’s gross, isn’t it? Udder pus? A friend of a friend used to have a job at Rosenberger’s Dairy. His mission was to separate the bloody, pus-covered (I always want to put an extra “s” and a “y” at the end of pus to convey the fact that something is all covered in pus. But no one wants to see the word “pussy” next to the word “bloody”. No one.) scabbed-over udders from the stainless steel milker machines. He did it with a hot-water power-washer. Blood and pus and hot water run into the tank of milk which runs into your belly every time you drink milk. It’s inevitable. Even if you are drinking organic milk. Mmmmm.

It’s a good thing Jake likes soy and rice milk, btw. That’s the next step. In fact, we just may go that route immediately.

Does soy bleed?

“we interrupt this program to annoy you and make things generally irritating.”

April 16, 2008

I remember going to the circus as a kid but not being totally into it. I was more of Sesame Street Live kinda girl.

When I was eight my mom got my brother Brian and I passes at a Ringling Bros. Circus to be plucked out of the audience by a clown and taken down to the floor and get shoved in a chariot and driven around the Civic Center a few times. That didn’t go over for my coulrophobic brother nor for me who had serious separation anxiety issues. Or maybe that’s what started the whole thing for us. Either way, if you ever want to scare him just show him a clown and if you want to terrify me leave me at the YWCA. Or school. Or the mall. Or with the circus.

Because I have a general hatred for people and a true love for animals I was always kind of put off by Ringling Brothers, but I had a thing for the Shriner’s Circus, with the trapezey tightroper acrobateurs and motocross death wheels and the lady who was suspended above Veteran’s Stadium by her ponytail and other whackjobs who were more than thrilled with putting themselves inches from death for my amusement. Sword swallowers, YES! Fire breathers, PLEASE! Freaks and dare devils have always intrigued me. They had the horses and elephants too, but I would go get a snowcone when they were doing their acts. You couldn’t escape watching the animals with the Ringlings. I remember one year they had a shark tank.

A Shark Tank.
A traveling Shark Tank.
I cried because I didn’t think it was fair or natural to cart sharks around the country, and of course I assumed that the shark was probably detoothed for the safety of the shark diver. It was so sad. I remember the day perfectly, I was with all my Jones cousins, escorted by our grandpa, and we were in the upper level, and I had cotton candy, and even that I was wearing a turquoise shirt over a magenta one, sleeves rolled for the layered look (because it was 1986), a Swatch watch (with guard), madras shorts, and pink Converse high tops that I was staring at so none of the boys could see me cry. Seriously, what is my problem? I should have been focusing on the bigger problems that I had in sixth grade, like the fact I had Sally Jesse Raphael glasses, braces, badly feathered hair styled with VO5, and I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs or wear make up. Have I ever mentioned what a hideous child I was? I actually could have been part of the circus.

Anyway, the point of this whole rambly post is that the circus is in town and even though Jake is too young to (a) sit still for that long and (b) care, I’m realizing that I’m getting to the point of parenting when I have to start to start thinking about values and morals and other hard stuff. Do I tell him how I feel about animal exploitation, or do I let him go ahead and do kid stuff just for the sake of letting him be a kid? Do I let him go if someone else pays for the ticket so I can sleep at night knowing that not dollar one of my money is aiding and abetting the lion whippers and shark toters? Or do I put my foot down and apologize to my poor soon-to-be deprived baby because he can’t see a real live-action tiger because he is lucky enough not to be born in India where little boys like him get eaten by real live-action tigers? He knows what a tiger is, and what noise they make and that they are big cats and that they are awinch wif bwack stwipes. Does he really need to know what one looks like with a grown man’s head in it’s mouth or jumping through a ring of fire?

And for your visual enjoyment, here is a picture of an elephant in its natural habitat. In South Philly.



Go Flyers.

what goes on in my brain on company time. part one.

April 15, 2008

Sometimes I wonder how karma hasn’t torn me a new one. Like right now, when I saw a link to a feature in the online paper that read: “Q&A with Marlee Matlin“. And I almost totally lol’ed at work because all I could think of was this:
Q: Hello Marlee, how are you today?
A: What?
Q: How are you today?
A: What?
Q: How… forget it. Are you enjoying Dancing with the Stars?
A: Excuse me?
Q: DANCING WITH THE STARS! Are you enjoying it?
A: Dancing up on bars? I’m not sure what you are talking about.
…and so on.

See, I can say stuff like that because I was deaf. Once. Sure it was over twenty-five years ago and I’ve had corrective surgery and now I can hear dog whistles, but as a fellow hearing-impaired person I can make those types of jokes and all you can do is chuckle uncomfortably and feel sorry for those who have suffered the same plight as Marlee and Me. Its a cold dark and lonely world for us. Well, her. I’m all better.

Although I do know how to say “my mother has my hearing aid” in sign language and with a dead on slur. Sometimes I pull that out in bars when creepy guys are talking to me. It works almost as well as telling them I’m married, and when they ask why I’m not wearing a ring I tell them it’s because I’m four months pregnant and my fingers are swollen. Then I resume drinking.