You are viewing cake_o_rama

08 April 2011 @ 04:15 am

might as well!
18 March 2011 @ 08:27 pm
What was the worst significant purchase you ever made, and why?

I've been poked. Or nudged.

Right now it feels like the Duran Duran tickets we bought in February as the highlight of a birthday/spring break trip to Texas. The band will be taking the stage momentarily and will undoubtedly manage handily...without us.

First Big Daddy got a fat gig here in the 'Lou, next my catalytic converter was deemed unlikely to make it 12 hours each way. Every day it seemed brought some new pylon in the road. Sometimes cinder blocks. Livestock. Even after the bulk of the want and woe was somewhat workable, the whole venture just never...felt right, you know?

I sold them this afternoon on craigslist at a reasonably substantial loss but there is still a hotel room at the Hilton in Denton, Texas if anyone is game.

On the other hand, it's been an uncannily gorgeous day so far, a pair of likely never worn Dansko clogs, James Ellroy, Steve Martin and Gaiman books and fancy Polo shorts for Big Daddy with the tags still on from Goodwill...gumbo in the pot. The laundry is caught up and my house is sparkling.

In reality of course, the finest of my regretable purchaces was buying a too big house in a place we don't love with roughly the thoughtfulness one picks up the jumbo pack of batteries in the check out line at Target. Kind of wince at the price but throw them on the counter just the same. I mean it's something you need anyway, right? Right? David I think had rolled the concerns more than I'd been willing, but the man loves me That Much. We figured we'd buy it, do some fabulous cosmetic rehab and unload it in time to be settled somewhere we loved in time for Bo Peep to start high school.

To our credit, it was quite the up and coming neighborhood at the time and by that I mean a new elementary school had been built and the streets were welcoming new boutiques and trendy restaurants. We dreamed of the pool parties we would have and of the wedding we would host. It didn't look like it had much earthly business in St Louis at all. Exactly what we felt.

But whatever happened to the economy and the housing market happened and it was what it was, to use among my least favorite expressions du jour. We had pool parties and a beautiful wedding and the increasingly sinking feeling that even the mere possession of this house was going to ruin our lives either way. It wouldn't sell, that much we knew and we felt resentful that it was going to be this massive consideration when something better came along.
All that gentrification hasn't been wiped clean by any means but no one is lining up to buy houses that require 2 heating and cooling units, swimming pools that see festivity only 4 good months out of the year and legally only possess 2 bedrooms and that one horrific bathroom. A year after we moved in, The Earthquake cracked the fancy tiles in the room we called 'the ballroom.' It was 6 sliding glass doors that rendered the space exactly what you'd imagine to heat and cool. After that, the basement started to take on water. Nothing got better from there.

We weren't sad when we walked away. Drove really, just a couple of blocks away to a truly charming rental that feels like living in a treehouse. It feels like home for now.

It can't not be the worst significant purchase I've ever made but what's life if there aren't some monumental disasters of ones own hand and I'm friends with most of my ex beaus on The Facebook and married two of the finest men ever...fuckery in the form of real estate? I figure I had it coming.
07 January 2011 @ 04:39 pm
It's crazy the way I think, almost every day, that I'm going to post something and then don't because really, what is there to say? Nothing that can't be dashed out in a random thought on facebook at any rate. The obscure You Tube song or link to something on HuffPo, that my dog is old and sick or that I am. Always, I wait for something big to happen before I take to the page here. Something definitive, life altering, good news, some sort of resolve.

I've been out of 'anxiety' treatment for a year now, half a year spent on the messy business of one failed attempt at vasectomy reversal after another and half a year in tears as I try to imagine having to live in a world knowing I'll never have a baby with the love of my life. I'll never have any more babies at all. The pregnant teenaged daughter of dear family friends had pen to the adoption papers when she miscarried, that didn't help. At almost 42, what options still remain can't help but be a foolish investment. We asked the universe for a bebe and whether we like the outcome or not, we have our answer.
The bankruptcy we chose as a desperate means of getting rid of our unhappy, impractical house didn't help either. It doesn't help that my husbands ex DID have his babies and because of this I live in St Louis, a place I don't guess I hate but have no wish to live in, because of this, a great deal of my life is dictated by her wants and needs and petty meanness. I haven't worked, I haven't created, I've barely lived. I sleep and cry.

If you think any of this does very little to make for a happy, satisfying marriage, you'd be right.

I don't reckon we'll separate, traditionally we have been like that old wisteria bush in my mama's yard, she'd poison it, hack it down and God, it didn't look like much, but it'd be back in no time just the same whether anyone actually wanted it or not. And this marriage, sometimes we don't. Anytime they feel like it, external forces drill holes into the roots and pour in poison. It's no way to live. I'd elaborate on boundaries and all but in practice? This is her family, her life I'm living on the outskirts of and she's prone to cheerful manipulations as if it's what everyone does.

Of special concern is my particular job skill set. Newspaper reporting, advertising and flight attendanting aren't especially recession proof and I've got enough money to survive going back to school only until Bo Peep graduates high school. Three and a half years now, not long.

But I come by a plan. My exhusband/baby daddy was and is a drug counselor (coursework that I naturally participated in somewhat and loved) and I'm mostly done with my BA in educational psychology or some damn thing as it is. The course work to be licensed in Texas is minimal and could certainly be done in conjunction with finishing a BA degree. After that, I'd be bona fide to work as a Counselor Intern, working on an MA on the side. Dandy plan but there is still the matter of Peep graduating high school. She's happy enough with her current school, but there's the matter too of her aforementioned daddy. Whatever he amounted to as a husband, he's been a world class father and deserves these last years of her childhood. The notion of moving a potentially angsty 9th grader is another episode entirely, but there, yes.

So I think Austin. So many dear friends there, family ties, educational opportunities and's Austin. I briefly consider Georgetown before recognizing that a Socialist isn't always the most welcome new neighbor in Georgetown, Texas and kept on looking, shopping by school district for potential new places to live, the thought of my poor theater freak having to settle into a high school of 3,000 football enthusiasts has long been a huge detriment. Huge y'all. Suddenly I come across something so magical I wake up the next morning wondering if it had even been real at all. (Lookit it or not, in short it's a 125 student charter high school sans football program but with yoga instruction!) At this point, I'd move just to give her the opportunity to graduate the Katherine Anne Porter School. And be closer to her daddy. And be home. I've shown her the website as a lark and she was impressed to be sure but we'll keep it at that for now...mama has a plan. Mama is more excited than I've been in some time. Dr. Taylor will begin looking for a job and I'll keep the basement packed up in neat boxes.

And we'll see. It's something.
09 October 2010 @ 02:32 am

I am:
"You're a tax-and-spend liberal democrat.  People like you are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W."

Are You A Republican?
Am I the only one responding to livejournal posts with the terror of someone who is certain that they are about cluelessly and inadvertently, disastrously, post everyone's personal business to teh facebook?

Moving Day tomorrow, so naturally, I can't sleep. Sciatica too because what kind of moving experience would it be without sciatica? Mentioned on the aforementioned facebook that I'd attempted to look through a book one of my daughter's friends had kicking around and it was so bad and the woman's book deal so large that the only thing I...*anyone* could have possibly gleaned from the volume was that no matter how uninspired, I have a better running narrative than this walking around the grocery store. Both my way of announcing that I'm not going to attempt to take up knitting again this winter and that I am looking forward to getting my butt to the chair and writing, writing anything.

I can't seem to get up much nostalgia for the former Barbie Dream House. Also can't quite seem to get my shit together, literally. I have however gathered much nostalgia thinking that this will be absolutely the last move we attempt ourselves. The cost of professional movers is henceforth just a given consideration in moving. It seemed the acme of waste to hire movers for a 3 block journey, alas, you may recall that I have inherited much in the way of furnishings. Solid and formidable pieces, everything that Dr. Taylor and I are not. We are also not appliances. This is our second weekend of this foolishness and I've predetermined that nothing that you wouldn't need for say, a hotel stay is to be unpacked for the duration of the lease. Undoubtedly my child will grow up bitter and burdened with cats and end up with her own A&E series called MY BITCH ASS MOTHER AND STEPFATHER MADE ME MOVE TO AUSTIN AFTER FRESHMAN YEAR AND NOW I'M AN EPIC FREAK over it but we're absolutely in the planning stages of a move next summer. We'd never intended to be here past the point Bo Peep started high school but the economy and life and indecision gets in the way of almost everything. Like having my car inspected for instance. Lest you think my life has taken on any glimmer of charm, the car didn't just fail, it failed to the tune of four figures to remedy. Between that and the dead tree we're responsible for (B of A remains informed but seemingly uninterested in our plans) ongoing dental work and the car USAA refuses to reposess, we have plenty to dig out from under between now and then. But it's something to work toward. I'm preparing myself for the certain teenaged girl angst of changing cities, high schools, lives, but the child needs to be with her father and we all need roots. I don't imagine it will change the general hassle of life but in Austin I have a ready made guest list for holiday parties and I could at least get a ride someplace. And there's Whataburger and IKEA. If you need more than that, you've just got your priorities all wrong, you know?

Sleeping. If I don't, tomorrow is what's going to be epic. And not in the way that looks so promising at first. Besides Sunday is Talk Like A Pirate Day. That'd be like having to move house on Christmas.
Current Music: pug snores
I'm not going to say Saint Louis is an absolute hell hole. The parks are gorgeous and if you're old enough to remember Wild Kingdom, you've seen the zoo. Best of all, it's got to be one of the few places on the planet where the restaurant scene is almost entirely populated with independent eats.
That said, for my friends in the city, the public schools are out of the question and we're working hard to fling ourselves to the top of the high crime stats, it may be the only #1 ranking we ever get, unless there's a contest for blight.
And yet? The tap water is delicious. I'd never dream of buying bottled, it even looks pretty in the tub. (Not that I'd know personally, of course, my plumbing situation is absolute shit. We'll discuss that in greater detail once I get moved this month...and get a proper shower)

It's always been something of a wonder, until it occurred to me today, and it only took four years...maybe they have good water to make the beer.

Bless you for indulging me, our scheduled move has been postponed until next weekend due to throwing out my back today. C'mon. Really? Then again, it'll give me a chance to repack my basement boxes. I've found there is very little more satisfying than having most of your belongings in tidy, glossy apple boxes. Once we hit the rental, I'm not unpacking more than a minimum of kitchenware and a set of sheets. If you come by, bring your own plate.
17 August 2010 @ 12:27 pm
Before I post this, I'll go and come back from making the last of the deposit on the rental house. I've never been less excited about moving. I'm happy for us to get out from under this house, away from watching the basement fill up with water after every rainstorm, (apparently the culprit is something to do with improper foundation work in our ballroom addition. It runs the length of the back of the house and has a chandelier than looks like it came off the Titanic. What the hell else would we call it?) away from watching the bathtub no longer fill up at all. Mostly though, thrilled that it's not going to be the big, expensive, untenable thing holding us back anymore. Holding us back from little things like replacing our ancient 'divorce' televisions or grabbing the $500 sleep number bed a friends grandparents had never used. Holds us back from big things like taking a job someplace our life makes sense to us. Someday at least.
Maybe I'll feel differently after I've handed over great wads of cash and surveyed the place again.

Nope. Not different particularly. I always like it better and it's always bigger than I remember and the deck more comfortable (not prettier though, must string festive outdoor lighting!) The yard is what sold us on the place to begin with (well and the price was less than 1/2 of what we'd have been willing to pay if we'd had to). It'll work. I don't have to be excited about moving. I'm excited knowing I'm going to get a proper bath at the end of it all.
I wish I could walk away from this house altogether on moving day but Bank of America has yet to snap a clue so I suppose I'll maintain the yard for the duration, there is also the matter of the dead tree in the front yard that I've been putting off for a year now, the removal is a formidable hank of cash and makes my stomach hurt every time I think about it, which is a lot. But this, is a start. Of something. Or will be as soon as I can finish packing.
Current Location: St Looney
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Occurs to me that I'm kind of sick to death of facebook this afternoon. People I went to kindergarten with, their mother, people I have no recollection of from high school and all of them prattling on about Obama being a Muslim...what is there to say after that? Even for my hillbilly ass it's hard to take a beer drinking, hot dog eating, not to Mecca going, hanging out with Jews all day Muslim man who's going to convert the country seriously, you know?
Sometimes, after that, I don't much feel like talking about anything else. For instance, I was wondering why people don't seem to eat cottage cheese much anymore. When I was a kid, I think my maman'em ate some for lunch like every single day. Everybody ate the hell out of some cottage cheese, don't you remember? Somebody was always having like some canned pears and cottage cheese. I can't remember the last time I even saw any. See?
Facebook people just want to make some profound existential remark about how great life is and stopping to smell the roses. They never run out of those platitudes. Sometimes they talk about what's for dinner and it's never cottage cheese.

Still, some of you are there and for that I am grateful, others of you are here and I miss you and there's only ever enough time and characters for the parts of life that go on only in passing. Not that the bigger picture is much more interesting or even as interesting.

Bo Peep starts high school tomorrow morning, an event that has drawn more internal drama than some Gilbran quote can remedy and ties into the other central immediate fact of my life, our leaving the Barbie Dream House for a rental in the neighborhood in another few weeks. It was time, it was past time. The market may well pick up but it's not going to be enough high water to float a house that's $40K underwater and needs another $30K in repairs to even be livable over the long haul. We've replaced the roof, replaced the electricity to the back of the house but there is a dying A/C unit that needs to be replaced with two new units and a bathroom that involves the kitchen and buckets to accomplish much of it's intended purposes. The basement takes on water like the Titanic until it's likely that the integrity of the house itself is at least somewhat compromised. And that's just for a start. Sure is a pretty house though, still, but it's like the handsomest man you ever dated, one you'd give chance after chance to only to come always to the inevitable conclusion that one more chance still isn't going to make him worth a shit.

The economy in general hasn't helped much either, I discontinued looking for work in favor of continuing to substitute for the local district and make back to school plans. Which gets me back to my original angst. The Peepster starts high school in the morning and in 4 years time, Big Daddy has received exactly one out of town job offer on the back of hundreds of resumes sent, the sum of which means I have to at the very least get my head around the fact that likely as not, we're going to be in Saint Looey for the duration, or the next 4 years, whichever comes first. Plan B is ditching the whole mess of it and picking up sticks and decamping to Austin or California. Blissfully tempting but the reality of striking out with nothing but a carfull of dogs, bad credit and a disgruntled teenager, still owing monthly child support and having every reason to believe that I'll be diabetic just any old time now without a lick of insurance. It even sounded more promising until I wrote that all out just now. In lieu of striking out and potentially striking out, I struggle to make the best of things. D's ex is still banned from collecting her children on our porch. (They're half grown, we know what she's doing on our porch and it's not coming for the children.) If she thinks we're going to lift the moratorium on her size 11s bounding up my front steps at the new house, she's got another think coming. If life were fair, we've had found new circumstances in a different area code after she formally accused me of mistreating her children last year. There was a letter from her attorney confirming a 'misunderstanding' on her part after that, but again, if life were fair, I'd have been all Steven Slater out the emergency slide in a UHaul. The rental is a duplex about which I have mixed feelings, but cute with a lovely private yard. Admittedly I didn't look far, I figured a girl who has recently rediscovered bad credit and multiple dog (one of whom weights more than my kid) ownership shouldn't get too picky when a landlord with a fenced yard with a deck and washer and dryer was willing to take us on. Most of our belongings are going into the basement storage until it's like a swank hotel suite up in there. All good wall prints and crisp new curtains and tchotchke free. I can't believe I'm in spitting distance of a house that might allow more for my life than a fresh to do list of household maintenance every single week, there is even a lawn service every 10 days that will free me up to do nothing more than plant and admire.
How quaint to think when we bought this house 3+ years ago everyone we knew with any sense applauded our choice of up and coming neighborhood, with some cosmetic upgrades they assured us we'd make a bundle in resale in another year or two when we sold and moved away to settle someplace forever before Peep started high school. That had been the plan.

So there's that. We're out from under the house, or will be when we can convince B of A that we're really breaking up with them. They have thus far refused to so much as acknowledge that we have absolutely no interest or intention of continuing to accept their hospitality.
David's job has been known to reduce him to tears, but the benefits are formidable. So there's that. My gut still stays in knots that my child is living away from her father but she loves her school and so does her daddy, loves it, loves her step father. Loves me. So there's that.
Just a life of this and thats like any other, most of which the people of facebook miss in their quest to out wing everyone else. What can I say? I grew up in Texas. I grew up there and I get quiet and still in myself when I realize that my child won't, that I'll never have more children who will, that it's likely when I speak of my daughter, I will speak of a young woman who grew up in a world so different than the one I came from, than the one I thought I wanted for her. It breaks my heart that I know her sweet daddy will have to say these things too. It's been a difficult summer but a definitive one, the finale of which is that I take what I have to work with and make the best of it. The next right thing in front of me to do right now is getting my bebe started to the high school in the morning and then back to cleaning and packing for a move that even going in I know will be a quite temporary place to land. But then what in life isn't? I mean we're *still* saving up money 'just in case.'
Can I get a moment of silence for the Draper headboard?
Current Mood: fretful
Current Music: Gnarles Barkley-Crazy
03 June 2010 @ 02:48 pm
Six months and some change.

It's been that long that I've been thinking something juicy and profound would happen that all y'all would just have to know about. The good stuff always takes more than the 220 characters facebook provides. There is, at once, not much and a lot that I could catch up on, things that I don't want to say at the cocktail party that is facebook, I guess I kept thinking something really brilliant and festive and most of all, spectacularly life altering. But it never really works out that way. Probably, that's a good thing.

The last 6 months have taken all our strength to steer our ship in another direction. We declared bankruptcy last month, a desperate attempt to get out from under this house as much as anything, we're at least $30K underwater and it needs about the same to even be habitable anymore, let alone salable. We're not sure where we're going to live next, or when, only that it will be well-plumbed. We have spent the last months at the mercy of any number of costly and ultimately untenable complications that end with us filling our bathtub with buckets of water from the kitchen. It just ain't no way to live. Plus my next door neighbor is a tiresome ass.

Also last month came the definitive news that David's vasectomy reversal failed so it will just be the three of us now on this journey, David, Bo Peep and Me and guest starring my step-children and the Elf when they're around. I don't yet know how I feel about it. Like anything there are pros and cons and maybe someday my feelings around the matter will condense somewhat, able to be expressed in quick and convicted words.

Bo Peep and I were delighted to realize that we made it through her middle school years with only the barest traces of conflict between us. There are the daily joys and woes of life and lately the knowing that things will at least get different at some point and that different might be okay. David had the last of a handful of interviews for another position in his company and the outcome will likely inform a lot of what happens next.
We are fat and struggle with health issues like the piece of glass I've had in my foot for the last month or so and that my GP can't reach. We'd hoped it would grow scar tissue and become manageable but no luck so far.

No luck so far. But then what kind of story would that be?