Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

This is becoming a familiar feeling.

Where I avoid the news – paper, broadcast, internet – all damned day.  I do it purposefully.  If I accidentally click on my usual news sites, I quickly steer away.  If a blogger I enjoy dares speak of the AVOIDED, I again, click away.

Even when 70% of the stories ask if it was “soon enough” or whether the lead was anything more than negligible.  Even if they trash her for her negativity and her attempts at re-writing the rules:








I don’t even know that I can put my finger on why.

Perhaps it’s because I can’t put my finger on WHY Hillary won’t just fucking crash & burn.  I don’t understand why people like her.  Why they vote for her despite her shittiness – the way she comports herself, the bullshit “misstatements” that she makes, her quasi-republicanism, her negativity, her miscategorizations.

Maybe I am just unhappy.  Unhappy to think that it’s true that a Black Man still can’t be president in this country. (And yes, I fully believe that a very large part of the results in Pennsylvania are due to racism.  The polls that I heard a week ago and two weeks ago were very racist, and very clear that the “rural” residents of the state would NOT vote for an African-American.)  And that a member of his own party will exploit this fact.  Will revel in it.

Maybe I am unhappy because once again, I am apparently worlds away from the vibe of this country.

I don’t want to let go of the hopefulness that something different could happen NOW.  In the wake of the crap that we’ve been handed over the past 8 years.  But not only does Hillary’s apparent semi-popularity dash my hopefulness — so does Obama’s lack of remarkability in the past weeks.  I am not sure I would go so far as to say he was unfaithful to the image I had at the start – the promise he offered and reinforced with his outstanding speech on race – but he’s stopped being remarkable.

I want remarkable.

I still see no sign that if he makes it to the white house, we will have more of the same.

You know,

Bush – Clinton – Bush – Clinton


I know that the actual numbers make the pattern hugely unlikely.  But I wanted him to blaze through.  I wanted for us all to stand up and clap and shout as he made his way.  I didn’t want us to be clamouring for public perception and crossing our fingers that her bullying doesn’t work.

So I’m squirming.  But I’m squirming while I continue to donate, and while waiting for the discomfort to go away so I can start to hope again.

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still working on the housing quest.

The news from the mortgage broker was 1/2 good and 1/2 bad.  I have cleared up my credit mess sufficiently so that I can borrow pretty much as much money as I want ($4800/mo payments, she said), and qualify for the best interest rates.

That, I must say, took a lot of work.  I am proud of my diligent efforts to clean up the mess created by divorce and single motherhood in one of the most expensive parts of the country.  I am not proud that I had the mess, but I know that many, many women go through similar things when they make the transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced single mother of small children.  So rather than dwelling on the mess, I will dwell on the cleaning of the mess.  And I will be proud.

The problem that remains:  I chose yet another “most expensive parts of the country” and it is difficult to get even a 2 bedroom condo for less than $417,000, let alone a 3 or 4 bedroom house.  Or condo.

Who cares, you may ask?  Since I stated above that I could, in fact, get approval for a $650,000 mortgage?  What’s up with the $417,000?

Jumbo mortgage, baby.

Can’t get one of those puppies with less than 20% down.

On the house I want, that 20% = $150,000.

Which I do not have.

I could likely find a lender, says the broker, who would take 10%.

Nope.  Don’t have that, either.

But due to the current mess-o-rama, nothing less will do.

Which is really okay, and likely the more responsible thing to do.  You know, wait until I have a down-payment before I buy a house.  Have some real equity in the place from day one, rather than bills that keep me stuck to my job, regardless of whether things go south on that front (which there is no sign of happening thus far).

My biggest worry is that we’re going to miss out on this current dip in home prices. That by the time we accumulate $70,000+, the homes we want will end up being over a million again, instead of the 3/4ths that they’re currently at.

I read this article today, though, that made me feel more optimistic that our timing is fine, and perhaps even fortuitous. If things bottom out in the middle of next year, then perhaps by then – considering what we save and the lower still prices – we’ll be ready to buy before the uphill climb begins again.


In the meantime, we need to move.  That means a bigger rental.

After visiting condos for sale, visiting apartments is ridiculously depressing.

painted 2×4’s subbing as kitchen shelves; moldy bathtubs; fucking coin-op laundry machines …. they’re just horrible.  Horrible.

rental agents are assholes, and I hate them all.

I also resent the fact that my quest to own a place is going to be set back by quite a few thousand dollars because of first/last/security and potentially (although I’m doing all in my power to avoid it) a broker’s fee, which equals a month’s rent.

Now, the financial aspect was cleaned up a bit today with the news that my tax refund is pretty freaking big (for me).  I feared that I owed.

But I still have to figure out how to find a good deal, and how to rid myself of the gnatty presence of the rental agents and their stupid fees.

I may have an inside beat on a very good apartment – one with real cabinets, one with laundry in the unit (no fucking quarters needed), one with a deck, and one with a ton of space.  But it is far from a sure thing (current occupants have to move out, and not just have everyone in the neighborhood talk about how they’re going to).

But I think that’s what I need.  An inside connection.  A way to just sidle up to an owner and neatly close their gap in rents collected without the headache of advertising for and vetting prospective renters.

And we may – just may – be moving within the next few (yeah, that’s 3) months.

Phew.  I can’t wait to stretch.

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Football is fun.

But it rarely makes me yell.

Tonight, the Democratic debate made me YELL.

I said:

Woooooo hoooooooo!!!!

Because Obama and his cojones said [rough translation]:

She says she’ll be ready on Day One, and in the Senate, she was ready on Day One – on Day One to Give in To George Bush!!

Yes!!   I feel like this totally summarizes my complaint with this woman (who looks pretty tonight, I think).

She gives in.  Compromises.

Votes for wars.


 I am pleased with Tim tonight.  Sometimes, on Sunday mornings, he irritates me.  His quotes are clearly out of context and exhibit opinions that must have changed over so much time, through so many events – and he seems out of line.

But tonight, he seems informed and researched.  He is forcing answers on targeted points.

I appreciate it.

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Of course, Beloved and I made up last night, said our sorries and talked about ways to make our arguments a bit less … argue-ey.  I suppose we should be grateful that we argue over dusting, and not over the biggies – like money or whether or not to have another kid or stuff like that.

The girls are home.  J is sleeping on me right now.  Which is probably the first time she has done this is 5 years or something.  She left with a new cold a week ago, and it’s still got her feeling like shit today.

Since we were given stories of midnight bed times, trips to water parks, and frozen pizza for both lunch and dinner days in a row – I shouldn’t be surprised that her cold has lingered.

Grrr.  argh.

I went to two open houses today.  Both condos close to home and in the girls’ school district.  One is likely out of my price range, and of course perfect.  The other is probably right in our range, and itty bitty.  For us.

The perfect one was really close to perfect.  It was around 1900 square feet (1200 more than we have now), and on top of three bedrooms, has a study and what I keep calling a “family room.”  Eat in kitchen and a dining room.  Two full baths.

The works.

It’s also 3 doors down from the high school.  Which, in just over 2 years, will be extremely convenient and hopefully will preclude E from ever being late to school.

Did I really just say “just over 2 years”?  Is that right?  Next winter, she’s in 7th, and the next, 8th.  Which is pre-high school.

So, yeah.  Just over 2 years.  Or rather “less than 3 years.”

Anyway, it’s a bit high for us.  I think if the seller is inflexible, then we’re just gonna have to walk away.  If we find that offers are accepted, we will be a little thinly stretched for the rest of this year, but will be fine next year.  An August or September closing date would make it all easier.

No work would be required upon walking in the door, but we eventually have some projects already in mind in order to increase the flow of the rooms.  We would have an office.  And a dining room.  And a laundry room.  And a gas stove.  And a screened porch – perfect for the kitty litter and a summer-time table big enough to hold a bottle of wine and two glasses.  And a park across the street where the kids could (and likely would anyway) congregate with their friends.  And E (and eventually J) would have no reason to be late coming home from the dances, and I could watch them for their entire walk home to be sure that they weren’t sneaking smooches or trips behind the gym for any inappropriate activity.

he he he.

That alone makes the stretching worth it – doesn’t it?

They likely won’t mind the spy opportunities, since it will be balanced out by the fact that they will have their own suite on their own floor with their 2 bedrooms, their own bathroom, and my laundry room – that’s it.

Which is really hysterical to me, because when I was 9, I moved to my parents’ downstairs, and soon after, my dad redid the whole downstairs, and it became a place for just me and my sister – our two bedrooms, a bathroom, and my mom’s laundry room.

It would be very funny if my girls got the same.  Only theirs wouldn’t be a basement, but a lovely second story in a beautiful building overlooking (out very pretty bay windows) the park.  And their bedrooms would be bigger.  A little ridiculously big.  I think bigger than mine and Beloved’s, but ours is fancier and is right next to our own study and library, respectively.  So there.

The other condo is less exciting and more settling, and I don’t think we need to think about it too much until we see what the spring brings to the market.

Both of them, though, are in ideal locations.  With friends and parks and walking distance to present and future schools.  Oh, and also my train.  And still Beloved’s work.  Probably closer for all of us.


Time to shake the dreams out of my head, and go watch the Oscars.  We saw less contenders this year than we have in the past, which is sad.  I tried so hard to see Juno with a friend, and if Beloved and I hadn’t caught J’s cold before she left for the Middle of the county, we likely would have seen There Will Be Blood.  But as it stands, we’re stuck having seen only Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men.

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Last year, as the girls were out the door to their father’s house, I checked out “Your Ten to Fourteen Year Old” to find out what I was in for this year.

It told me that 11 year olds hate their mothers.


Don’t I have enough hardships with E? Do I need her hating me as well?

But for a really long time – MONTHS, even – she adored me, still. She thought I was the sun, the moon and the stars (okay, maybe just the stars … but she LIKED me).

Now, though:

  • I’m dumb.
  • Irrational.
  • Irrelevant.
  • Unfair.
  • Boring.
  • Annoying.
  • Embarrassing.
  • Rude.
  • Demanding.
  • Demeaning.

God, this list could go on.

She is now – and just now – at the point where she shakes off my hand if I grab hers at an intersection. She doesn’t want me talking to her friends anymore. It’s hard to get a hug.

Not impossible.

Not yet.

But, I sort of miss her. And I hate her yelling at me. And I find it a little hard – being a parent of a tweener. It’s hard to be really strict, knowing that her independent drive will respond to my strictness by pulling away a bit more – emotionally.

which is the goal.

I know this.

And being her friend is NOT what she needs.

I know this, too.

She has a lot of friends.

They’re 11, and 12. They’re not 35.

I know we’re coming up on years where we are strangers to each other. Where she looks at me and sees something I don’t feel like.

But those years will pass. And we’ll be okay.We’ll sit in a family room, munching on chips and watching football while her kids ask me for help on their school projects.* We’ll go places together. We’ll ask each other for advice.

I hope that our tumultuous time in between is short, and that our windows of fighting are smaller than our windows of understanding.

*yes, that’s what’s happening right this minute – my dad, building boxes and finding paint with E, while my mom looks at girl scout cookie order forms with J, and the Pats are winning, and I am this irrelevant middle-generation sitting with her computer on her lap – invisible.

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For almost 4 years now, I have been riding a wave of utter spoilation.

I have done what I needed to do in order to make it through school, through the bar exam, and through the early days of full-time lawyerdom while trusting that the rest of life would work out around me.

This was because of one thing:  My Beloved.  He has cooked, he has coordinated, he has covered sick days, snow days, busy days.

This past week, I did without him entirely.  I was tired.  I was stretched (a snow day? really?  THIS week?).  But you know what?  I did it.  I met all my obligations, I took care of the girls and the house completely.  Hell, even the cats were fed twice a day.  I even cleaned out their litter box.

It’s a good thing.

Because it appears my free ride is over.

Beloved was able to take on all of the slack I let go during high stress times because we long ago decided I would go to school; then he would go to school.

Now, he’s in school.

Because he’s in a low-residency program, he was (still is) only gone for 12 days (my heart couldn’t take more, I don’t think).  But when he comes home, he has work to do.

And it’s not yucky ewie work.  It’s what he loves.  What his personal circumstances have required him to put off and put off and put off.

He isn’t putting it off anymore.

It is time for my Beloved to do the things that were put on the back burner twenty three years ago.   Things he is supposed to do.


Has he deserved this, or what?

So yeah, I’ll need to cook more.  And I’ll need to take the driver’s seat on school projects more.   Not only can I do it, but I could do more, if I had to.  I can do it all – just like he could (and did).

I think it’s likely that we’ll have some growing pains.  There will be times my work is pulling me to stay in the office for later than we’d planned; and there will be times that his deadlines hit at the same time as a filing deadline for me.  But I think we have the foundation that we need.  I think we respect each other, and each other’s work, and we can make it work.

It helps that we also have OLD kids, who can do things and go places and work stuff out without the same intense parental supervision that was required of them in their younger years.   (I realized today that J is almost 10.  Almost 10.  This means that I almost have ZERO kids in single digits.  They are BOTH old.  J is already drooling over which cell phone she’ll get, and wondering what activities she’ll do in high school.  E is running a newspaper, texts like a pro (has yet to go over our limit), and went to a restaurant with JUST her friends for lunch on the snow day.  They had to figure a TIP, and to split the bill!!  By themselves!!)

So now he should come home so we can work it all out.

I still miss him.

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It’s all I got today.  Little whispers of what was going on in New Hampshire and in the Primary World at large.  How depressing!  I want to hear the shouting and the constant din.  I don’t want to miss out!

Beloved told me that Bill made some crack about his wife that made him sound a bit too much like an architect (in his own mind) for my liking.  I wasn’t able to check into what everyone else is saying, but to me the whole “I can’t make her younger or taller” nonsense seemed to be Bill showing off an over-inflated ego.

Poor politician couples.  No matter which spouse you are, you’re lambasted for being nothing but a face for your more intelligent/likable/powerful/savvy/height-endowed significant other.

I also heard about Hilary’s tears.

That irritated me, too.

It irritated me that I can predict that people will say “that’s what happens if you have a woman in the white house, when the going gets tough – she’ll start crying.”

But due to my own career and my own higher stress level, I wasn’t able to read an entire article through.

So the whispers of these goings-on will just rattle around in my head as I try to keep my eyes open for another 5 minutes … maybe tomorrow I can catch up with the political news.

I mean, New Hampshire returns!!!  I can’t miss that!

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Politics & Personal

My parents are (of course?) republicans.  They are conservatives – socially, fiscally (they are part of the group that says “yeah! The government can’t take all my money!” thinking that they are part of the “rich” that the Republicans work so hard to protect.  They’re well off, but they’re middle class well off – not “rich”) and on matters of foreign affairs.

So the other day, when my mom told me she was thinking of voting for Obama, I was a little perplexilated.

We talked a little more today, and she did some of those “who’s your candidate” quizzes.  She said Romney and Edwards were her top matches.  She said she’s off to do research on Edwards.

But Clinton also came up as a high percentage for her, and her reaction was visceral.  “I would NEVER vote for them!  NEVER!!!”

And so here we have it.  Hilary’s unelectability in the face of tired and unhappy republicans.

IF there are Republicans who are tired and battle sore after these past 8 years of Georgie-Porgy, and they are tired of the hate and the aggression and the fear, and they are feeling ready for something different – shouldn’t they have a Democrat that they can vote for without barfing?

My mom’s Hilary-knee-jerk is stronger and more passionate than her tiredness.  Hatred is more passionate than exhaustion just by definition, I think.

Reason #456 why Hilary should pack up her things and go home.  Hopefully New Hampshire will second (third?) that motion.

[a long break between writing this and pushing “publish” finds me revisiting what I wrote and wondering — are the conservatives’ [esp. religious conservatives] distrust of women soooo deep that they allow themselves the hatred?  If it were a different woman running for office, would they have another reason to hate her – something which has nothing to do with the fact that she was married to Bill and has all of that baggage?  I am inclined to think they would.  They would find a reason to hold onto … but I still don’t like her.  I’m convinced that my reasons have NOTHING to do with my past affiliation with the Clinton-bashers.  If you try to say otherwise, I will stick my fingers in my ears and make obnoxious noises.]

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I got my January paycheck the other day.

I was quite stunned to see a total that was up to $1100 less than I had anticipated.

It was at least $400 less than I anticipated.

My anticipation was based on last month’s check, paycheck calculators on line, and my knowledge of increased benefit costs.

I seriously brought home less than 55% of my paycheck.


I am not going to complain about taxes, and I’m not going to re-investigate the presidential candidates to see who will let me have more of my gross pay.

I’m just startled.

We’d made plans.  Budgets.  Savings goals.

and now that has to change.

But I know that we’re fortunate.  We’ll have no trouble paying our rent, or Beloved’s tuition, or the girls’ child care.  We’ll still shop at Whole Foods.  We’ll still have stellar health care.

I just may not own real estate in 2008.

Which is sad.

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Well, of course

Happy New Year.   I have read a lot of news – financial, mostly – predicting that 2008 is going to be a very rough year. The credit market crisis is going to deepen, the housing market is going to continue its downward trend, and oil prices are going to continue to rise.And yet – I’m looking forward to 2008. I feel slightly insulated from the predicted crises we don’t have a house that is losing value, we don’t have a car requiring more from our budget to keep it running, I spent the last year and a half fixing divorce-induced stains on my credit report, finally clamoring out of the “risky” category.Maybe 2008 will see me become a home owner. Maybe not. But either way, we’re able to start saving money like we never have before. We are building on retirement, and college savings. We have adequate life insurance. We are no longer struggling and looking for pockets of overlap so that we can get the girls’ new coats.I am so far happy at my new job. I’ve had some challenging work – some not so challenging. I enjoy the people I work with, and like going to work in the morning. I love being an adult in my work – the independence to decide what to do when, and within reason, even where. I can get my hair cut at 9:30 a.m. without having to worry that I’m “late.” I can leave at 4 p.m. to make a school-related meeting and bring my laptop home with me to do work once the kids are in bed. I know there will come times where my work demands are so high that I don’t have the time to juggle – I’ll need every bit of it in order to get the work done. So I’ll update this assessment once I get there.Beloved starts school this year, and that means he’s finally – after so many years – pursuing his dreams and goals. He will be spending more and more time on his independent pursuits, which he has so earned, after all he put into getting me through law school.The girls are happy and settled. Of course they’re not perfect or all the way grown up, but they are doing well and thriving – academically, socially and (I think!) emotionally.Hopefully, 2008 will also bring us a better president. I’m not 100% sure, yet, about that.As final goodbye to 2007 – this made us all laugh. 

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