Snowbound

For those of you who have been without TV, telephone, Internet, Twitter or Facebook access the last few days, Chicago just experienced its worst snowstorm in forty years. It does not make me happy that I remember the ones that were worse; that just makes me old.

At any rate – here we are, on the day after the blizzard.

This was the first storm like that that I’ve experienced on my own. I felt like I was okay. I stocked up on important things like Diet Coke and knew that I would be grateful for my seasonal snow plow contract. I’ve been home for a few days with a bad back anyway, so I looked forward to the opportunity to continue to nurse my aching back and get another day or two off from school.

Wednesday I kept getting phone calls from people wanting to make sure I was okay. It kind of made me feel like I was in a Cormac McCarthy novel… single woman, two dogs, trapped in a house waiting for the snowplow…

My aging border collie has been sick, too, so, alone in my bed hearing the wind whip I started to obsess about that a little. Interesting word – aging. Why do we use it to talk about those getting old? Aren’t we all aging starting at day one? You never hear anyone say “the aging three-year old struggled with toilet training…” Sorry – I digress.

Back to obsessing over the dog. What if she passed during the storm? What would I do if I couldn’t get to the vet with the body? Would I put it in cold storage of some kind? That just made me feel like I was in a novel by Stephen King.

In the morning, in the aftermath of the storm, I watched my neighbors outside digging out. Families, husband and wives, moms and dads, kids. Shoveling, clearing paths to mailboxes, playing with the dogs. It definitely fell into one of the moments of feeling alone.

Snowbound makes you feel alone. Alone like vulnerable, alone like “I wish I had someone here to drink a hot cocoa with,” alone like “there’s nobody here who cares that we’re stuck in the house.”

Some days feel more divorced than others. Like when I had to put Ben Gay on my own aching back. Or when the vet says “I think her liver is more enlarged.” And when the weatherman says “it’s going to be one for the history books, folks.”

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Filed under Singleness

Are you kidding?

Just received in an email on a dating site: mmm greatest gift to my eyesight is having my eyes set on you hugs and kiss

Are you kidding? Does that work?

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Filed under Dating

Post a week

Alrighty…

I’m committing to posting at least once a week. I really want to post more than that, but daily isn’t going to work, and my choices for the WordPress challenge are once a week or once a day.

For more information, visit The Daily Post

Wish me luck!

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Eleven Things to Give Up in 2011

Some of the things in the GoodNewsNetwork’s list of 11 things to give up resonated with me. I will even forgive them for using an apostrophe in #11 – cliches. Why do people think that plurals all of a sudden get apostrophes? Was there a meme I missed? Again…apostrophes for (a) possession or for (b) contraction. Never for pluralization.

Anyway – check out their list. I’m liking many of them, especially #5. Give up self-betrayal. That was a huge one for me after the divorce… I don’t want to go, but xxx is depending on me, or expects me, or how would it look? Of course, #6. Give up the victim role should resonate with many of you post-divorce, as well as #8. Give up blame.

Happy 2011. Check out the list: Eleven Things to Give Up in 2011.

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Filed under Creating a new life

We’re divorced already!!

Last week was my week to work on saving some money. Not that every week isn’t a week to save some money, but I dedicated time last week to calling my suppliers – AT&T, ADT, etc., and negotiating lower bills.

AT&T had a little bundle they pitched, which involved switching from Dish Network to DirecTV. That’s cool. I’ve had Dish for a long time and I knew that by switching I’d be saving some serious cash for the next year.

So, DirecTV was all installed yesterday and I called Dish to cancel. Or, at least, I tried to call Dish to cancel.

Sorry, Mr. Ex needs to call. The account is in his name.

I replied, “Well, it’s been billed through AT&T for years, and the AT&T account is in my name…”

Dish: We’re sorry, Mr. Ex will have to add you as an authorized user.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to email Mr. Ex to ask him to do it, which I’ve done, and I’m sure he will, but this is very frustrating. We never ordered the service through Dish, we’ve never paid for the service through Dish, and it shouldn’t be my problem that AT&T didn’t change the account when we changed the AT&T account to my name.

I hate bureaucrats.

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There are times

When you feel more divorced than others. Today, as I sat in the emergency vet’s office for 3+ hours waiting for them to do X-rays on my 13-year old border collie, was one of them.

And then, when the vet went over the results with me, recommending an ultrasound to see if what looks like an abdominal mass is on the liver or spleen, was one of them.

And then, coming home and sitting looking at these sweet dog who’s been with us – and now, me – for almost 13 years is one of them.

I have wonderful children and friends who are only a phone call away, but, in the end, the decision is mine.

And I’m not loving making it by myself.

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Filed under Reflections, Singleness

Socially conscious…and frugal, too

In August, I decided to add Target to my (sadly) growing list of stores that I boycott. Target joins a venerable list which includes Wal-Mart (shady treatment of women, and, well, they’re gross) and Whole Foods (the CEO said WHAT? about health insurance).

I decided to boycott Target because of that whole “we took your money and made a giant donation to an organization that you would NEVER support if you had the choice thing.” Check it out here.

Truth is that I’m totally sure Whole Foods could care less, considering that I never liked the feeling that I had to refinance my mortgage in order to shop THERE anyway. Target, though – well, now, that’s another story. I was surprised that the first month I didn’t drop at least $100 there that I would get a “we miss you” postcard. I used to joke that I should have a portion of my paycheck direct deposit there.

The problem, though, is that I buy stuff there. Lots of it. Makeup, food, toilet paper, you name it.

To start with, I buy 6 Luna Bars a week there. They’re cheaper at Target than they are anywhere else. I’m sure, too, that when I pop in there to buy the weekly Luna Bar stash (and they get kind of stale, so I buy them once a week) I spent at least another $30 on impulse purchases – stuff that I used like, well, food. But impulse purchases nonetheless.

Target’s not stupid, of course.

So – now that I can’t shop at Target… what to do? I actually kind of panicked for a while. Then I realized that, well, there are other options. I know Target’s the closest (I could walk there if I wanted to. I don’t, of course, but I could), cheapest and all-around most convenient.

Here’s what happened in the last two months since my own little boycott began:

School supplies. Now that wasn’t hard at all. In fact, it was easy. Staples? Hello? Back-to-school supplies sale? Cheap cheap.

Food. Back to the grocery store. Not my favorite by a long shot. I hate grocery stores – the big ones. I hate the lines, the parking, the people (I mean the other shoppers who leave their damn carts in the middle of the aisles and talk for hours to neighbors). I did, however, discover that grocery stores can be pretty affordable if you do two things: read the ads instead of recycling them (since I don’t get a daily paper I don’t get them that way but I realized that the newsapery stuff that comes in the mail every week is actually useful if you plan to do grocery shopping) and only buy stuff on sale. There’s lots of it. I buy soda, um, kind of frequently and it’s almost always on sale somewhere.

Luna Bars. Know what? They’re like a dime more expensive for 6 of them at Trader Joe’s than they were at Target. And I pretty much hit Trader Joe’s once a week anyway for my lunch provisions.

Toilet paper. Two words: plan ahead. Bought it at Sam’s Club (yes, I know that Sam’s Club is just Wal-Mart in disguise but there are some things that I just have to buy there like the super-cheap chicken that’s probably hormone-laden and will eventually kill me, and the cheap-cheap (ha ha) eggs that thankfully didn’t kill me). I bought a giant package of toilet paper there that, considering I live alone, will probably last me 2 months or more.

And, finally, make-up. I’m not a big make-up buyer, but there’s stuff I do use. Well, now, have you considered drugstore.com? OMG… here’s where being generous paid off as well. I had a boatload of cash left in my FSA this year and encouraged younger daughter to use some FSA money at drugstore.com to buy her first load of over-the-counter meds for her new apartments. Anyway, that earned me over $6.00 in drugstore.com money that I could use starting this month. That, combined with free shipping and some sales got me the following for just a little over $30: foundation, powder, blush, mascara, eye shadow and a new hair brush. Are you kidding? That would have been at least $20 more at Target, not to mention the five other things I would have bought on impulse.

Socially conscious and frugal? Can be done.

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