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Collection of Mental Lint and other Minutia Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "Samantha : sometimes you feel like a nut....." journal:

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May 18th, 2013
12:37 am

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Feeling childish
My cousin and I are planning a road trip to visit my other cousin, her sister, because she's dying. She picked Memorial Day weekend because it was convenient and allowed for a longer visit without having to miss work. Apparently my aunt, her mother, has already gone (my cousin has been declining rapidly).

Well, Memorial Day weekend sounded good to my sister as well, so she's decided to fly in. OK, no biggie. My sister and my 2 cousins WERE my bachelorette party, so we'll all have a good time.

I get a text today from my cousin. Her mom had suggested bringing her younger siblings with us, if we had the room because, you know, it's Memorial Day weekend so it'll be a longer trip without having to miss school. FML.

Understand that my aunt has 2 kids that are about a year younger than each of my 2 oldest. Her daughter will be 18 this summer, and her son just turned 16. Her daughter is a raving douche. About a year ago, she went ballistic on me on Facebook ("you don't know me, you don't know anything about me or what I want to do with my life, stop talking down to me" blah blah whatever) because I commented that something she said she wanted to do wasn't quite on the path I thought she wanted to be on, based on previous interactions with her and where she said she wanted to go in life. She then unfriended me. Ask me if I care? I really don't.

But now this weekend, which was supposed to be about hanging out with my cousin, who I may never see again, is turning into a crowd, and one that will be riddled with teenage angst. I have enough teenage angst in my day-to-day, I don't need a distraction on this trip. If it could get a little bigger, it might transition from an awkward crowd to a family party, and that would be OK.

I kind of feel like a spoiled child for considering not going. I feel even more childish considering coming up with an excuse not to go (I'd be stretching the truth, but only a little). I feel childish about being honest about why I don't want to go.

But then I'm reminded of the conversation between my aunt and my cousin, when they were discussing making sure they'd contacted everyone to let them know how my sick cousin was doing. A-"we need to call Sam" C-"already called her" Douche-y cousin-"why would you need to call Sam?" A-"because she's really close to her." Douche-y cousin-"she's close to SAM?!?" Since before you were a dirty thought, girlie.

But then my cousin tells me that Bob might be coming (it's Memorial Day, it's freaking convenient for everyone, even long lost family friends), and I haven't seen Bob in a good 15 years. Bob is good people. Can I hold my tongue and ignore my douche-y 17 year old cousin for one weekend? Probably not. My cousin assures me that if her douche-y 17 year old sister starts being douche-y she will absolutely put a stop to it.

Let's see what the universe has to say about it. Bringing babies is a no-go. Let's see if I can talk my MIL into watching them. At least she's on the way.

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May 14th, 2013
08:38 pm

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"Don't take it personal, but she's always been my favorite."
I have a 30 year old cousin who is dying of cancer. Her sister called me last night. People have been calling her and she needed someone to call. Remaining objective and restraining emotions is my specialty, so we had a nice long talk.

In this talk, I admitted that long before she had cancer, she was always my favorite. I'm not just saying that now, I've been saying that for years. 8 years or so ago when I first introduced Joe to my family, I gave him forewarning that she was my absolute favorite cousin. After meeting her, he totally understood why.

For her 12th birthday, I was 18, she got this monstrous K'nex roller coaster. She called me up, and we spent the better part of 6 hours putting it together. When she was 17, she moved in with my Mom and me because her Mom was moving to SC and she wanted to finish her senior year of high school with all her friends. We hung out every evening.

Shortly after Snuffy was born, Joe and I were discussing what we would want in the event something happened to us. His first suggestion, and I totally agreed, was to ask her to take my baby. We'd had years and years to raise up the teenagers into people we'd enjoy, we needed someone who could raise up the baby to be a neat person. Before I could ask her, she found out she had cancer. Chemo and a hysterectomy later and she was doing well for about a year and a half.

Now it's back, and with a wicked vengeance. She's lost more than 20 lbs in the last 3 weeks, and she's down under 100 lbs. She's bleeding, no one knows from where exactly. The doctors she saw at Dana Farber last week gave her 3-6 months, but I'm not sure she has that long.

FML.

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May 13th, 2013
05:10 pm

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Are you KIDDING ME?!?!?
Joe gets a text Saturday night from his ex-wife. "Call me ASAP." Well, Saturday night we were sans teenagers so we ordered pizza and once we got the babies in bed, we settled in for some intense snuggling and a little uninterrupted TV time. Sunday morning, we hit the road early to go to his brother's house. It's 3 hrs to his brother's house, 6 hrs to his mother's, but his Mom is AT his brother's for the weekend, so Mother's Day with Mom as a day trip. OK, this woman hates my guts, but hey, babies need Grandma time. We're there for several hours before Joe checks his phone and notices the text.

Cricket decided over the summer to go live with her in Texas even though this woman deserted her when she was 3 and she hadn't seen her since. She's an adult, we made it happen since that's what she wanted. He can't outright ignore a text from his ex, it might be about Cricket.

Joe calls her, then he pulls me outside to talk.

Joe had been there for a visit in March, and apparently he talked up Asheville enough that she had decided to move there. Whatever, Asheville is hours away, so he wasn't stressing it too badly since neither his ex nor Cricket drives. Well, she's decided she'd like to move closer to us than Asheville, like somewhere in greater Raleigh, like where we live. Oh, and instead of moving WITH her husband, she's leaving him to come HERE.

She is BATSHIT CRAZY, and not just because she wants to move here. Before she left Joe, she left Cricket alone in her crib with RAZOR BLADES. BATSHIT CRAZY. When Joe called her to tell her they were now divorced, her response was "so I can get married now?" and then she DIDN'T take her husband's last name, TO THIS DAY she has Joe's last name. BATSHIT CRAZY. It took her 2 months to outright lose her shit and have a bash your head on the pavement physical fight with Cricket over practically nothing. BATSHIT CRAZY. She's on Social Security because she's BATSHIT CRAZY.

We have enough batshit crazy around here, we don't need any more.

She asked Joe for help. At this point in the conversation, my ass puckered up. He's been asked to find out about government housing here. He doesn't know what type of housing program she's in there, but she'll need *something* wherever she lands.

Joe and I talked for a bit. I think he might have worried that I would view her as competition, but I didn't bring it up, mostly because she doesn't worry me. I am worried about the stress of him having someone trying to be in his life that is BATSHIT CRAZY, but I am not now, nor have I ever been particularly jealous or insecure. I'm trusting to a fault, and it tends to bite me in the ass when my partner is the cheating type. I am a little worried that the trip down memory lane they took when he went to visit sparked something in her, and I'm going to have to deal with her jealously. I'm not fond of physical fights.

Owing mostly to my not giving a shit about the above, the conversation went pretty quickly to "but she's going to want help, like money and stuff." Not our problem. "But, it won't be just her asking for help, it will be Cricket asking for help." Still not our problem. If Cricket wants to live with us, we'll figure out a way to make that happen. If she want to live with a batshit crazy person, that's on her. If they have no money for food, she's welcome to pop over for dinner sometime. If they don't have money to do laundry, she's welcome to bring over a load of clothes to wash. Batshit crazy lady isn't coming anywhere near my home, my money or my stuff. If Cricket popping over becomes excessive, she can choose to come back here fulltime, or find a way to make it work with her mother. She's not going to raid my fridge 5 days a week, ask us to pick her up every week so she can do 3 loads of laundry and then be exempt from the rent requirement Lizard has. Once in a while, sure. Constantly, either you live here or you live there. If the batshit crazy lady can't make it work without her husband, who is a stand-up guy I should add, maybe she shouldn't leave him.

Joe's poor verbal skills and memory means *I* will be trying to find out about government housing. I suspect she gets a section 8 voucher, and if the universe has any love for me at all they will be nigh on impossible to transfer across state lines (it's a federal program, I can dream, but I'm not this lucky). Please let it be a local thing she has, and please let there be a mile long waiting list for anything similar locally. Pretty please.

I came back inside after talking to Joe, and his Mom inquired what was up. "He's outside trying to stay calm and not have a panic attack." She decided to go check on him. She returned shortly. While she may hate my guts, for absolutely no legitimate reason I might add, she hates Cricket's guts for actual things she's done. I disagree with *why* she agrees with me, but I'm glad she's on my side. The batshit crazy ex gets no substantive help, with or without Cricket.

Joe also told me that she's planning to move here with Teresa. Teresa is, according to his ex, BATSHIT CRAZY. Just how batshit crazy are you when someone everyone else thinks is batshit crazy thinks you are batshit crazy?

FML.

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May 7th, 2013
01:24 am

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Honest conversations about money
Talking about money is really hard for most people. I'm not going to lie and tell you that my husband and I have this marvelously transparent relationship with our finances, we don't. Before his brain injury, we had a pretty good financial relationship. Since then, he just doesn't get it.

Color me surprised when he asked me today "are we living beyond our means?"

No, we're living within our means, but only barely.

It became very clear from the conversation we had that our budget is too convoluted and unruly for him to be able to translate that data into a meaningful picture of our finances. Our budget is a spreadsheet that he can view and edit at will, though largely I maintain it. It has evolved over time and the bulk of the evolution has been attempts to make the data in it meaningful to him, changes he requested that he thought would make it easier for him, but all it has done is make it too complicated for him to understand.

This afternoon I added a sheet to the spreadsheet and broke it down for him. Instead of a month's worth of individual grocery purchases there's one line for my grocery budget. Instead of a month's worth of gasoline purchases there's one line for the monthly gas budget. And, most importantly, instead of a dozen columns for funding sources, this sheet is a single column of numbers, it doesn't matter from which account the money comes from, it only matters where it goes.

I lumped our income together at the top, and totaled it. Then I lumped our monthly bills (mortgage, car insurance, electricity, things that don't really vary much) and consumables budgets (gas, groceries, etc), and totaled it. Then I lumped some purchases we made with financing offers so I could be clear how much we had to pay them monthly to avoid finance charges when the promotional period is up, and totaled it. I showed him how much was left.

I'm not wholly certain the number means anything to him, but he appeared, at least in that instance, to get it.

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January 7th, 2013
11:41 pm

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I heart stress
My husband calls me from the shed. "What happens if they take away my unemployability and start paying me at 80%?" He's all in a tizzy. I look up the answer, it's about $1400 less money. He's getting less calm. I tell him to bring me what he got in the mail.

Fucking DAV. It wasn't even a letter from the VA. Like the DAV knows jack or shit about what the VA is doing with my husband's claim. Yes, they have the right to review it from time to time, and they will every couple years I'm sure. In no rational reality does that equate to "they're trying to take away your unemployability." Fuck wads. If he were employable, I might be scared, but I'm not. He's still stressing, which causes me stress because he can be an ass.

Oh, and my cousin has cancer, again. She's 30, and she went through chemo and eventually had a hysterectomy two years ago when she got cervical cancer. Well, now it's in her breast bone, her hip and her lungs.

And Joe finally got to see the dermatologist. "That one looks like it might be a clogged sebaceous gland, but we'll biopsy it. That one, hmm. We'll biopsy it too." Yeah, don't tell me it looks cancerous. I only demanded this appointment because I know that it is.

On the bright side, Giftmas always brings a "batton down the hatches" financial state, which is my preferred operational state to begin with, and because Joe's scared of having to live with less money he wants to try (I give it 6 months, tops) to live with less money, pay down some debts (cars) while we have the funds, and generally get used to living like that. That's just fine in my book. This year, I was unable to keep him from charging more in December than I could pay off in January, thus avoiding interest. Paying interest burns my ass. All those excellent deals he got aren't so excellent after you've paid a bunch of interest on them. I haven't had to look up what his interest rates are in over 2 years, and I had to do that this month. "Batton down the hatches" is a good kind of stress.

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December 24th, 2012
10:28 pm

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Giftmas perfection?
I think that this just might be the most perfect Giftmas morning ever. First, there's the teenagers. While they're excited about gifts, they're also excited about sleeping in. Next, there's the little ones. Snuffy is only 2, and he's clueless, so it's not like he'll be up extra early or whining to open things early, before I've had my coffee and possibly even contemplated breakfast. Princess, being almost 4 months old, has unimpeachable timing and will require my immediate attention at the exact moment I decide what I wish to eat, thus foiling my breakfast plans. But it's all good. She doesn't usually let me eat breakfast anyway, but hey, it's a special day, so maybe my husband will make something (I'm betting on it, he stopped at the store this afternoon).

Now, once the ripping of paper starts, I'm pretty sure that Snuffy will become the official present opener. Conveniently, no one will be bothered by this, since Princess is too little to care, and the teens are old enough to find amusement in Snuffy's amusement. Tinman is very fond of pointing out that Snuffy is "SO COOL" and he's "like a little person."

The worst part of the day is figuring out where to stash all the paper. We do a fine job of filling our recycle bins without a rash of extraneous paper. Maybe we'll go fill the neighbor's bin.

Happy holidays to you and yours.

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December 2nd, 2012
01:58 am

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I hate the first of the month. Closing out the previous month's budget sucks. Opening the December budget is my least favorite budgetary task all year long. How much is there to spend on gifts? Where can I cut corners so my husband can spend more money on gifts? Oh, wait, it's the 20th and he just realized he didn't get a gift/got the wrong gift for someone, and now I have to pull money out of my ass for another gift. And I get to spend the whole month trying to talk him out of buying things that will end up being unused junk. I will succeed at this task for about the next week, then I will epicly fail and the pile-o-junk will grow. Why will I fail? Well, to remain sane, at some point I'm just going to stop arguing with him that the stuff he wants to buy shouldn't be bought. If I explain this really poorly, and at some point I'll be out of patience and will, he'll *get* that I think he wants to buy junk, it will anger him, and he will go on a junk buying spree. This sounds incredibly juvenile, and it is, but around here it's just another day in the life of a brain injured person. He will have to prove his adult-ness by spending money like an adult, someone who doesn't have to ask permission. If I'm lucky, most of the junk will be inexpensive.

I really hate Giftmas. Hate. It's all about who gets the most junk. I wouldn't mind so much if it were all about personal, useful, wanted stuff. But when you can't think of something personal, useful or wanted, you just get something that is junk.

He wanted to get a new, but old looking, metal sign for my Mom today. Seriously? I don't care how witty it was, it absolutely was junk.

Junk, in this regard, is defined as stuff without purpose (read not a tool, appliance, gadget that does something, etc) that doesn't really *go* with anything, that will be stuffed in a closet, or *maybe* put on display in an odd corner where no one will ever see it, collect dust, and in pretty short order end up in the trash.

In an attempt to be diplomatic, I've already formally accepted some of the junk he's bought as OK. He does Black Friday, I don't, so I didn't really get a say on stuff until it was here. Most notable junk thus far, a Power Wheels for Snuffy. Snuffy is 2, and he bought him a battery powered outdoor toy. No one is ever going to take him outside to play with it because Power Wheels are the DUMBEST TOYS EVER CREATED. Kids young enough to enjoy them are too young to operate them. Kids old enough to operate them are too old to enjoy them. The cost to amusement ratio on Power Wheels is through the roof. Snuffy will have more fun with the box. That's an expensive box. He got a stellar deal on it, but, really, how much would you pay for trash? That's all a Power Wheels is, something I'm going to need to dispose of eventually because it's taking up space and not being used. Oh, wait, we don't ever get rid of stuff. Never mind. It's something I'm going to add to the growing mountain of stupid crap we store, and eventually we'll need more storage space that will cost us more money. A Power Wheels is worse than trash.

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November 13th, 2012
02:27 am

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Venting about couponers with bad math
CVS's Black Friday ad is up, and while it is fairly unimpressive compared to last year's ad, there's always some talk. CVS will be selling 8.9 oz boxes of Cheerios for 87 cents after ECB, limit 1, for BF. Locally, there is a grocery store chain offering 18 oz boxes of Cheerios for $1.75 this week.

The same people getting excited about the 87 cent Cheerios (9.775 cents per ounce) on BF are bemoaning the $1.75 Cheerios (9.722 cents per ounce) this week.

I *get* loving saying "I will not pay more than....." Any couponer worth their scissors will tell you they won't pay more than $1 for a box of cereal, but, really people? Do the math. A box of cereal is not a concrete enough unit of measure to just ignore all boxes of cereal over $1.

Oh well, more Cheerios for me this week I guess.

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November 8th, 2012
03:51 am

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Adventures in automobiles
Joe wants to get a new car. I've never actually owned a new car. Every car I have ever purchased was used. The closest to a new car I've had was when Joe bought a used 2008 in late 2009. He wants to trade that in and get a hybrid.

I've done the math. Based on our driving, we could save about $100 a month on gas with this new car. Unfortunately, we're a little bit upside-down on the car we'd be trading in, and after all is said and done our car payment would go up more than $300. That's a lot of money. I could dream that the new car payment would be about $100 more than the current payment, but I'm good enough at math to know that wasn't going to happen. I can work with that car payment if I really, REALLY want to, but the question is do I want to? I don't know. A car payment jump this big is going to hurt, and I'm not sure Joe will be able to stand it.

I took the car for a test drive today. It was nice. Not a lot of cargo room, that's where they store the batteries after all, but it was an acceptable ride. Not a big car by any stretch, but I wasn't looking for a big car, I was looking for something big enough for 2 adults and the babies, since most of our driving does not involve everyone in the house all at the same time. We have a minivan for that.

Joe will be shopping around for better interest rates tomorrow. He'll also be calling our insurance company because we need a quote. Get all the numbers.

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October 20th, 2012
12:14 pm

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Every once in a blue moon, I get one of those witty mass forwarded emails from someone that makes me laugh. My FIL sent me one titled "Darwin Awards" and since I love the Darwin Awards I actually opened the email.

I have no idea how true they are, but third place amused me greatly.

After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few wild shots from a target pistol.

The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7 different weapons. No one else was hurt.


Lawful gun ownership may deter crime, but it can't stop all the stupid. I wouldn't be surprised to discover this was a true story.

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