Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stress (i.e. the case of the disappearing OA)

If you've been around for awhile, you know that Husband and I own our own business. No, that does not mean that we don't have a "real job", or that we can take time off whenever we want. We don't get sick leave, vacation pay, or anything along those lines. If we aren't here, we don't make money. If we don't make money, the kids don't eat and bills don't get paid.

A year ago, we brought another artist in, to join us. The thought was that we would now be able to get more time off work. We might actually get that elusive thing called a vacation, that we hear so much about, but had yet to see for ourselves. (As a side note, a day or two off of work, is not a vacation. It's a few days off.)

Fifteen months after bringing Other Artist (from here on, we'll call her OA) in, we have yet to catch that vacation. If anything, we have been here even more. OA is technically an independent contractor, so we can't set her hours.

When she came in, it was mutually agreed that she would work Sundays and Mondays. It let the studio be open seven days a week, and gave OA two days of not competing with us for clients. She would also work three other days of her choosing. Looks great on paper, right? Well, it isn't so good in real life.

As I said, OA is an independent. That means that when she wanted eight days off in September, we couldn't say anything. Eight days off in May? Nothing we could do. When she took 16 days off in November, we couldn't say a word. When a friend passed away in August, and she was gone for a week, we couldn't say anything. Four days off in June? She's an independent.

However, since our advertised hours are now for seven days a week, we couldn't very well shut the place down. Can you guess who got to cover those five or so weeks off? A gold star if you guessed Husband or myself.

There is an advantage, we - ok, the business - get to make all the money, without paying a commission to OA. But, money does not buy happiness. Nor does it buy stress relief. In fact, working 24 days in a row without a day off, actually buys you quite a bit of stress. Enough stress that it starts affecting your marriage, and your children.

Enough stress that you start to question if your marriage will make it. Enough that it comes down to both of us going to see a counselor. His magic answer? We work too much. It is why we are so hateful to each other, and why we have gotten down right mean. His prescription: Take some time off work, leave town, relieve some stress. Too bad it took us spending $130 a week to find out what our problem was.

Again, looks awesome on paper. I mean, we have OA here to make sure we get more time off, right? Not so simple. You see, three days after being told this, and telling OA this, she took yet another two days off. (If I've added right, that's about 44 days off work this year, not including normal days off. So, we'll add in about 100 (That comes to what? Let's see, 44 + 100 = 144 days.) Again, there were sick and personal days taken off in there, too. So, if I had to guess, it was closer to 165 days off work for OA, in 2012.

Care to guess who got to work these days?

P.S. An average working person gets 2 days off a week, which is about 104 a year. If the working person is lucky, they get seven days of vacation time. That's a total of about 111 days off a year. OA got approximately 54 more days off than the average person. Husband and I got about 54 days less than the average worker. If my math is right, that's 50 days off a year. That comes out to less than a day a week. But, wait, there's more. On our days off, we still have to come in about 20 days a year (adding up the hours that we come in each week, on our "days off",  is where I came up with the extra 20 days.) to return email, get projects drawn, place orders, open the doors, etc, etc, etc, etc. Woohoo!! We got 30 days off this year!!


I finally rejoined the blogging world, which was great therapy. Then, tonight, my laptop decided it was time to go to the gadget graveyard. Lovely.

Even better? All my tattoo pics are on it. As are all my financial records. Can 2012 be over yet?!?!
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Dream House

About three months ago, I made a wish list for a house. It would have:

3-5 bedrooms
good size kitchen
dining room
living room
basement (finished or unfinished)
2 bathrooms
2 car garage
enough property to put a small guest house/art studio on
outside city limits

5 weeks ago, I found the house. I was told that it had just been vacated, and that it was up for sale, and possible for a lease purchase option.

We went and looked at it, the yard was severely overgrown, and looked like it hadn't been lived in for at least a year. From what we could see through the windows, we were in love. I couldn't have hit the nail more on the head with my wish list if I'd seen the house before hand.

It definitely needed work - new carpet, new paint, some work on the sliding doors and window, definite yard work, and other odds and ends. But, we had found what we'd been looking for!

We were estactic!!


We looked up the property on the local CAD......and discovered that it was a foreclosed upon home.

It was taken over by the mortgage company in March.

The former owners didn't vacate until late August, but had refused to take care of the property, as they knew they were going to lose it. That's why it looks like it's been vacant at least a year.

I've been playing tag with the mortgage company for five weeks, trying to find something out on being able to purchase the house. Today, I was finally told that FHA would be taking it back over. I am getting no where....

Do any of you have any suggestions?? How do I go about trying to get this home??

New perspective

The place where my clients receive their art, and in the process, pain.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Mess, the Wife, the Mother, the Cryer, the Laugher........

So, after my hiatus, I decided I was way far behind in reading my favorite bloggers.

I already knew that "Are You Serious" was gone. She did it with a simple post along the lines of: "Things are a mess, blogging makes it worse." A year later, I still wonder what happened to her. Ally from "Hyperbole and a half" was suffering depression, and while I found her facebook page, there is little there to go off of. I hope both of these women are doing ok.

I did not know that places such as "Absolutely Narcissism" and "A Life For Rent", we're MIA. "Carrie Bradshaw is Full of Shit", is now also gone. Ok, they may not be completely gone. The pages are there. The bloggers are missing. No new posts for several months now. In the case of Absolutely, the page is there, the posts are no longer available.

I have to wonder - did they, too, wake up one morning and wonder where they had gone? Did the enormity of the world around them make them decide that it wasn't worth writing about their problems? Were they afraid, like me, of getting too personal? saying too much??

I can admit it, now. I am depressed. Not hide-in-a-dark-room-and-speak-to-no-one kind of way. Just the way of I-don't-want-to-take-the-time-to-do-my-hair-and-makeup-because-no-one-gives-a-shit-anyway.  I still make it to work, I still do tattoos, I still cook for my family, do laundry, etc, etc. I just don't want to. I simply force myself to do these things. Otherwise, the whole structure that I have created will crumble. If I don't do these things, I will be the hide-in-a-dark-room kind of depressed.

When I started this blog, I think I was in the same place I am now. I have come full circle. In fact, I think that blogging is one of my self made cures. It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, or not. I get to get things off my chest, without anyone telling me I'm wrong for feeling the way I do. Hell, even if a follower does tell me I'm wrong, does it really matter??

It was named "Brain Worms" for a reason. The worms are all those thoughts that just won't go away. The ones that keep you up at night. The ones that don't allow you to function like a normal human being. Well, the worms are back. Not always in my own head, but in someone very near and dear to me. So, in turn, the worms take their turn in my brain, too. I get to hear near and dear's worries, anger, and more. Then, my worms take it, and chew and chew and chew on it, until I start to take them on as my own.

While not every post will be self analyzing, nor will they be depressing, I have found that simply typing things - ANYTHING - out, makes me feel better. It could be that I'm having a shit day, and don't want to be. So, I may make a post about something that made me smile. If I'm pissed, you may get to read about it.

I won't be the next Ally, the next Blogess, or any of the other well known bloggers.

I will be me. The Mess, the Wife, the Mother, the Cryer, the Laugher, the woman with the fucked up sense of humor.

My Time

Husband is upset with me. I know that he's tired, but I'm not. He went to bed hours ago, but keeps getting up every 30 minutes to do random things. I know what it really is, it's to see what I'm doing. To see what is so all important to me, that I'm not yet laying in bed beside him.

I don't know how to tell him what it really is. It's simply that I want some time to myself. We spend 99% of every day together. We sleep together. We wake up together. We work together. We come home together. We eat together. We watch TV together. The only time we are apart is if one of us is in the bathroom, or are running to get that all important daily intake of caffeine for the two of us.

 I think somewhere in his mind, he has it that I don't love him enough to go to bed at the same time. If so, he's way off base. I love him more and more every day. Don't get me wrong, there are days I don't like him. Days I fantasize of bashing him upside the head with a skillet. But, in the end, I love him.

 I'm not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. I'm a night owl. I have been for as long as I can remember. Soooo....instead of getting up a few hours earlier, I stay up a few hours later. What do I do with this "me" time? I read blogs, watch meaningless TV shows, read fiction books, surf the internet, draw, watch other people's lives on Facebook and Twitter, read, pin things on Pinterest that I will probably never really do or cook, and I write on my blog on occasion.

 It's actually quite boring. However, it helps me keep my sanity. If I tell Husband all of this, I'm afraid he would think it's just an excuse. That there really is some deep, underlying issue somewhere. What would you do?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

This blog....

When I first started this blog, I did so because I was reading so many amazing blogs. Somewhere in my mind I wondered if what I had to say would matter as much to others, as what I was reading.

Here it is a few years later, and I've discovered the answer to this. No, people don't care what I have to say. Not in the grand scope of things, anyway. Sure, my friends - online and in real life - read and comment occasionally. But, that's about it. I found no fame. I found no loyal followers.

I have no one to blame but myself. My posts jump from the funny, to the depressing, to food, and to a personal diary of sorts. I don't post regularly enough for people to give a shit on if they stop by, or skip me over.

Don't take this as a whiny little bitch post. It's more of a what the hell was I thinking? ;) In reality, I didn't expect followers, or to get famous, but it was a nice pipe dream. I've decided I'm going to use this for what I really need it for. A place to vent. A place to come to when my day is shit. When my kids are driving me insane. When the Husband and I aren't getting along.

 I wish I could pretend this was a totally anonymous page, but I know better. My family reads it, Husband reads it, and friends read it. So, with that in mind, I get to wonder how much of what I put up will be censored. I thought about starting a whole new blog, where I could be anonymous. Then I realized with the settings the way they are, unless I go through the trouble of setting up a whole new email and fake identity, even that won't work.

My posts will be like they have been - varied, and off the wall. I may talk about work. I may talk about Husband. I may talk about Children. I may talk about food. I may even post some pics. If you don't like that, then please use the button to stop following me. If you're ok with the fact that I don't follow any set pattern, and pretty much do what I want, then please stay. Invite your friends, or don't invite them. Either way, thanks for sticking along for the ride!

Friday, December 21, 2012


There comes a point in your life where you realize your happiness is your responsibility, and some one else's happiness is their's.
Too bad some one else doesn't realize it. It's rough to be to be responsible for not only your own, but some one else's, too.
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm No Domestic Goddess

In with all the canning I've been doing, I have a lot of jars that get left empty until the next batch of beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, insert-whatever-I-can-cram-in-a-jar, is ready.

So, we started taking home made lunches to work. In jars. I thought I was unique. Forward thinking. Turns out, I'm not the only one who had this idea. Which is actually a good thing, as it meant I could now find out what other people put in their jars for lunches.

Some, haven't been so great, when it comes to trying to get each individual part back OUT of the jar to eat it. (In my defense, marinated steak strips (left jar in the above picture), topped by peas, topped by my Smashed Potatoes *recipe below*, and a liner full of home made sour cream - looks AWESOME in a jar. It's NOT my damn fault that I didn't think the whole marinade thing through, and how hard a cupcake liner of peas would be to get OUT of the jar. They went in so EASY!! However, it was damn good, if I do say so myself. Did I mention, it's cheap? Those jars of food up there cost less than a dollar!! Yes, a whole meal for UNDER a dollar!)

Others, have been awesome. They are the PERFECT jar food, and I find myself now cooking my meals at night as to how well they will convert to leftovers for the next days lunch. And how well I can double a recipe so that the kids will have a fast snack or lunch to grab, heat, and eat. One of these, "mock" White Castle Sliders, is actually BETTER the following day, than they are freshly made. You can find the recipe here: Big Red Kitchen. I know, Ms. Joss makes them look all pretty, and perfect and just the right amount of juice. However, if you are going to make these, please be forewarned that you will most likely be doing more than "blotting" some grease off the top. I, and another blogger, (ok, ok - a REAL blogger!)Groovy Mom , too, had to literally DUMP a cup or two of grease off. Don't let that deter you, they really ARE worth it. The perfect blend of beef, bun, onions and pickle. To have better flavor though, let them sit in fridge over night, and reheat in a microwave - bun and all - the next day.

By doing this, we have cut out fast food almost entirely from our meals. (This is a very, very good thing.) Each jar holds the perfect serving size for us. Mine goes in pints, Husband's goes in pint and a half jars. We aren't tempted to "super size", and then eat more than what we really want or need, to avoid waste.

I'm no domestic goddess, but I do know my way around a kitchen. Some days I wish I didn't. I'm sure every cook has those days though. By thinking ahead, and actually planning for leftovers, I have discovered that the quality of my cooking has gone back up. I am once again making an effort with it, instead of just doing it by routine. In order to make a meal in a jar work, it has to be food that will hold up, and be as good, if not better than it was the day you cooked it.

By doing all our meals in jars, I have it figured out that we are saving approximately $11 a day (yes, I said a DAY), from our at work food budget. As for calories? I haven't sat down and put all numbers to papers, but I do know that a typical fast food meal is around 1800 calories, and an average jar meal is about 400 to 600. HUGE difference.

As promised, recipe for "Smashed Potatoes":

You will need one full size potato, cut into quarters, or 2 - 4 small red or white potatoes, per each adult.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, F. Boil the potatoes for approximately 8 - 10 minutes, drain.

On a lightly greased cooked sheet, take potatoes, one at a time, and smash them onto the cookie sheet, to flatten.

Top with 1/2 to 1 tsp of butter or olive oil - according to your taste. Season with salt, pepper, or seasoning of your choice.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until potatoes start to brown, and crisp on the edges.

Remove from oven, and serve as is, or as you would a baked potato - sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, etc.

(See, SUPER easy, not to mention CHEAP, if you use whole potatoes in place of baby potatoes. I truly wish I had a pic to show you, as these look really "fancy", and like you put a lot of effort into them! We eat these as both a side dish, and as a main course - depends on the night!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Who would imagine...

Moat people who run across me on my outside the home, daily life, would never imagine what my life is like.

I'm covered in tattoos. Some days I wear make up, some days i don't. I might be in jeans, shorts, or a dress.

You wouldn't know to see me, that my youngest is being schooled at home.

You wouldn't dream that I have a garden. One that most would be envious of.

Out of that garden, I can some of the most delicious food. At current time, I have 39 jars of food set back for winter. That is just the beginning.

But, to look at the freak that walks in the grocery store, you wouldn't know these things. Most would assume.drugs, or a life of hard times.

It's funny the stereotypes people believe, and the real story behind the person you just passed.

I have a ton of canning recipes, but am always looking for more. I'm getting brave this year - I canned meat.

From the smell, I don't.know that i would suggest ground beef, but time will only tell.

The one thing I can't wait to try is the sweet pickles that are posted here!
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Thursday, May 31, 2012

One of the Hardest Things I've Ever Had to do....

Do you know how hard it is to write an obituary? What do you include? What do you leave out? To me, a good obituary can bring the person back to life in the mind, and let the public know that the person MATTERED, and did things in their life. I HATE reading boring obits, that only list date of birth, date of death, survivors, and preceded in death by. For most people their obit will be the ONLY thing every written about them. So, to me, it needs to be personal, and important....I'm so scared I'm going to leave something out....or get a date wrong....or offend someone.....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm a shitty blogger. There. I said it. I get all gung ho. Promise to write daily. Then I forget for months. I would love to have a blog that everyone flocks to. That advertisers pay big bucks to be on. However, that would require me actually writing something the fuck on said fucking blog.

I am unorganized. I start shit all the time, and don't follow through. This blog is one of those things. I need to start a schedule. Something like:

Draw 2 hours a day
Blog 30 minutes a day
Tattoo 7 hours a day ( I actually accomplish this one most days! )
Sell Scentsy at least an hour a day

Then my kids (loudly) remind me they're around. Or Husband needs me. Or I go to look at one thing on facebook, and end up there for hours.

So, dear readers, if I even have any left, the only promise I can make is this: I promise to try and write when I can. Until then, please feel free to leave me a ton of comments. Maybe that will convince me to blog more. I doubt it. But it's worth a shot, right?