To the Residents of Los Angeles County

August 28, 2009

It is with great personal disappointment that I must recognize my contribution to your discomfort this week. Tempting fate, I casually remarked on Monday at what a pleasant summer this had been. For the first time in five years I didn’t have to swealter through a triple-digit heat wave.

I’m sorry that the rest of you have had to suffer because I so recklessly made a summary of the summer before the summer was over. I pray that none of your homes are burned in the multiple fires raging in our county, that you find a way to breathe clean air and I hope you all have cool places wherein you can ride out this swealtering heat.

Having learned my lesson about speaking too quickly, I hang my head in shame. I am the jinx and I apologize.

Sincerely yours,
Zen Mama

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Progression and Regression

August 26, 2009

Today Little Red painted a picture to give to his new teacher. He also drew a picture to give to his new friend that he will make in class on Monday.

Today Boy Blue started sucking his thumb.


The Old Me

August 26, 2009

Somewhere along the timeline of the past ten months I changed.  I didn’t notice it because I was distracted by all the things that needed my attention, but it was probably exactly those things that changed me.  I thought that I was mostly keeping things together, but the other day as I walked to the park, my head too full of thoughts and lists and plans and worries to smile and truly enjoy the moment I realized that I am no longer the woman I was a year ago. 

A year ago when I took the kids to the park I was present.  I felt the sun on my face.  I watched the ants that made the boys stop walking.  I took part in the search for the perfect stick.  I didn’t mind how long it took to walk the two blocks to the park.  I was smiling. 

A year ago I still had a head full of thoughts and lists and plans and worries but I also had the capacity to feel in control of them (it’s like they used to be q-tips and now they are jumbo cotton balls and my head can’t hold them all) and I felt fairly good about my time management.  Now I feel it’s just too overwhealming. 

Yesterday was a good day.  It was the first time I started to feel like myself again.  Paul has been working for a week and a half, and he’s insanely busy with some really big projects, but he’s happy and his company is happy to have him.  Little Red is days away from starting school and I know this is the right decision for us right now.  What does next year hold for him?  Well that’s another story.  And yesterday I felt I had made real progress in the search for a new home.  I’ve even started crocheting again, which I hadn’t done for months.  (If my blog is on life support, due to a mid-blog crisis, then my store is in a coma.) 

I hope I have another day like yesterday, and I hope we find our new place soon, and that it doesn’t take me ten months to recover from the past ten months.  I really miss my old self.


Putting It To The Cosmos

August 24, 2009

(I’m trying to speak up for myself more, and express my needs and wants.)

  Universe, are you listening?

I need to spend less money on my housing. I realize that for what I’m getting I’m paying market value, and I am grateful for all the positives this place has provided over the past five years. But it has been five years of never feeling like we really have our feet underneath us. Paul has a good job, Little Red is starting school, and we have accepted that we live here, rather than are just vagabonds passing through. At some point we would like to buy. In anticipation of that we would like to lower our housing payments.

Our landlords have a “grass is always greener” mentality when it comes to tenants. No matter how good the current tenants are, they have no problems with letting people go because they’re convinced that new tenants are always better than old ones. That said, we’re quite sure they won’t negotiate with us for a lower payment.  We have opened the lines of communication and remain hopefull that they will reconsider the effort it takes to turn an apartment around.

I’m willing to give up many of the amenities I currently enjoy if it means I can lower my rent to $1300 or less (less would be great!) Central air is not a necessity so long as the wall units work and exist in the bedrooms. Laundry in unit doesn’t matter so long as there’s laundry on the property. Dishwasher? I wash most of my dishes by hand anyway. Parking? At least one dedicated spot would be nice, but so long as there’s room on the street I’m not too picky. Controlled access building? I frankly hate it, and would prefer to not have one. Size doesn’t matter so long as it has two bedrooms (read: I’m very open to backhouses.)

Musts: must be nearish to where we currently live as my job is contingent on proximity.  Must be clean.

We have started looking and have definitely found some good possibilities that fit our parameters (and as an added bonus, each unit we toured has had more storage than our current place!) Also in our search we have stumbled across some great condos for sale in our price range. We haven’t yet met with a lending agent to find out if our stint of unemployment (although we continued to pay all of our bills on time) makes us inelligible at this time for a loan.

So there you have it, world. I will continue to look around, doing my part, and I ask that you do the same.

Thank you in advance.


Red’s Head

August 23, 2009

March 19
“Mummy, I was in Salt Lake City when I was born. Then I crawled into Los Angeles and that is the city where I am now.” (note: he has never even been to Utah, but that’s where his friends move when they leave California.  He was born in Glendale.)

March 31
“Robin Hood and Peter Pan look an awful lot alike!”

April 1
“Every day when I didn’t know Playhouse Disney was on, I got distracted by all the other Boys’ Shows.”

April 3
“Mummy, my energy’s not letting me sleep anymore. My energy ran away with my sleeping power.”

April 15
“Mummy, when I grow up I’m going to be a Crayola seller. And I’ll have a store shaped like a Crayon!”

June 1
“Mummy, I see a decayed banana under the futon!”
“I’ll tell you how I found the decayed banana. I was looking under the futon and saw something that I thought looked like poo. And I followed it and saw it was a decayed banana. So I picked it up and showed you and put it in the trash.”

June 11
about the old scratch on his ankle, “Mummy, I have a teeth mark from Buster the Ghost dog.”

July 10
“‘Daddy, I haven’t worn this shirt for like 20 years.”
“I hope my facebook shirt still fits.”

July 15
“[Boy Blue] when you were a baby you really wanted to get out of that tummy, didn’t you? You were born in a hospital. When you were born I told Mummy “get better Mummy.” and I told you “hi brother.” When you were a baby you were up with Heavenly Father.”

August 12
standing in front of the mirror with his shirt off, “Mummy, I think I’m getting muscles.”

August 17
“Mummy, didn’t I comb my hair nicely? Yeah, they should put me on the news.”

“This is for you from [Boy Blue].” I open the box and it is empty. “It’s love.”


Coming Soon

August 21, 2009

More posts. I promise. I have a lot to say, it’s just that turning on the computer is the best way to incite a reenactment of Lord of the Flies.


Not Giving Up The Hunt

August 12, 2009

Today Paul was finally offered a job. I have so much to say on the subject but my words are a jumbled mess. I’ll try anyway.

There were so many red flags as we went through the interview process with these people, but we had to press on, a job is a job and we needed a job. So after the first phone interview Paul spent the whole weekend with my Dad working on a business plan to prove to this guy that he could double their clientelle in one year (a tough thing to ask in any economy.) And when they repeatedly asked him if he knew Word, and other Office programs, he repeatedly assured them that he did, and that he was a quick learner when problems arose, and that many of his college friends were IT professionals to whom he could turn if he needed help. (Finally after the third time, they seemed satiated on that.)

Yesterday he met with them in person for the first time, after the recruiter told him the job was essentially his. Everything went really well and he came home certain he had the job. His recruiter called him and said, “don’t tell them I told you, but you have the job and they’ll offer it to you today.” She also told him the salary, which was exceedingly low, so Paul prepared to receive the offer and word his counter offer to request something a little closer to fair market, or even closer to what he was getting at his last job (still low, and barely enough to keep us afloat.) All day we waited, and heard nothing. We worried. What was wrong? What could have derailed the job? Didn’t things go well? Was his previous employer torpedoeing the job with his reference?

This morning Paul sent a note to the recruiter, and she wrote back immediately assuring him that he had the job. She gave us some insight into the references, though, and said that even after Paul signed a release for his previous employer to give a reference he gave nothing more than the dates of employment.

(This leaves me with two big questions. The first is: why tell Paul, and allow two other supervisors in the office to tell Paul, that the company would give him a great recommendation if it’s company policy to only give dates of employment? and secondly: does this explain why we have come so close to jobs so many times only to have things go the other way?)

The recruiter finally called us at noon, asking Paul to check again, and when was the last time he checked his email? She said the offer was supposed to go out yesterday afternoon but even though she has given the company his email 10 times, the email to Paul doesn’t seem to go through.

(No wonder they asked him so many times if he knew Word!)

Finally it came through, and he countered. They budged a very tiny bit, and he signed the papers agreeing to start on Monday.

Now don’t get me wrong, we are very excited that he has a job, and very grateful. After more than ten months, this is a relief. But it is very bittersweet. The insurance rates for the HMO are pretty steep, but his wages put us a hundred dollars or so above the limit to keep the boys in their current plan so we’ll have to pay it. After taxes and insurance Paul reckons we’ll be making what we were on Unemployment Insurance, which is very disappointing. It’s a sales job, which is also disappointing because it’s a step back professionally and we had been so excited to get out of sales, but sales do offer commissions. Average commissions range from about 10-15%, and he had been getting 20% at his last job. In this job they are offering 5%. They expect him to double their clientelle in one year in a deep recession (which, if you say that quickly sounds a whole lot like depression but I digress) and they’re going to toss a couple of pennies at him? They hired him for his HR expertise, but are not following the rules when it comes to travel reimbursments.

Anyway, for better or for worse he starts on Monday. While we are very grateful that he has a job, Paul will continue the search for a new job, and keep up the writing. Now that he’s got a job, hopefully it’ll be easier for him to get another.

*fingers crossed*

(Now the only thing he has to do before Monday is pass a drug test.  Because I know him, that part is just pure comedy.)