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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Minimum Wage and the Meth Heads in my Bath Tub

So last night as I was cleaning out the pubic hair that was stuck in the dirt film left in the tub by the meth heads, it hit me, what other options did they really have?

Oh wait-- I should back up a bit.

You're probably wondering why I had meth heads in the bath tub.

I wondered that as well.

We recently sold our home.  We moved out about a week before closing due to schedules and such.  We spent the past week going back and forth getting all the crap that you leave behind thinking "it's not much" but it really is more than a trunk full.

On Saturday night, we had a cleaning crew come through and clean the cabinets, the refrigerator, the baseboards- just a nice courtesy clean for the new owners.  The cleaning crew was there until 7 pm.

The new owners, a super nice family from Wisconsin, had their walk through at 12:30 on Sunday morning.

We have an alarm but we didn't set it up because we weren't sure, with the phone disconnected, if it would work or not.  We also thought it was more of an inconvenience to the cleaning crew and the realtor to do it.

It was one night.

At no point did we expect what happened next.

We decided after our quick move and all the stress that comes with selling a house, to kick back on Sunday.  We went to this awesome used book store and then took the kiddos to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at this fantastic luxury theater.  It had been crazy the past few weeks and we just wanted some family time.  We were going to go by the house that Sunday night, say goodbye to the neighbors, take some pictures and go out to dinner.

After the movie, however, my husband and I both noticed that we had numerous texts and messages.  What the heck?

When I came out of the restroom, his face was white as a ghost.  Normally, he's a pretty white guy to start with, but this was his "someone is dead" face.

Luckily, no one was dead- we hoped- but apparently squatters had moved into our beautiful home.

In the 12 hours it was vacant.

Squatters, if you are not family with the term, are people-- usually meth heads- that break into foreclosed and vacant homes and live.  It has been a HUGE problem in my neighborhood.  My neighborhood of very nice homes.  In fact, it's one of the reasons we are leaving our neighborhood.

So imagine the nice surprise the new owners got when they walked in and heard the showers running.  They knew we had planned on stopping by, so they assumed, as a normal person would, that it was us.  To be honest, they thought we might be having a quickie in the shower.  They were a little curious though, because the house reaked of cigarette smoke.  No one has ever smoked in my home.  Ever.  I would kill them.  I hate the smell.  Take your death sticks down the street and puff until your heart is content, but not in my home.

Much to their surprise, a man came out.  In his boxers.  Followed by a woman and another man.  They were in such shock, they didn't know what to do.  Which is a good thing.  Had we been there, my husband would have gone nuts.  I would have chased them down the street.  You should have seen me when someone threw a beer can on Halloween...

We pulled up about 20 minutes later and there were police helicopters overhead.  Their realtor said the cops were down the street.  They thought we had called the police.  We hadn't.

Apparently, they caught the well cleaned trio going into the "main" house- a house that has been vacant for more than 5 years and has become a regular squatters paradise.  They were taking a hose from the house next door into the squatter house.

They probably needed to rinse since their baths were ended quite abruptly.

So when I showed up with the stuff they had left, the police looked a little surprised.  How often do you have a soccer mom approach a meth head saying "Is this your bag with your Ragu and panties in it?"

I could understand his surprise.  I wasn't very nice. I can be viciously sarcastic when I am pissed.  And. I. Was. Pissed.

I was pissed because they had broken in.  I was pissed because the left a mess.  I was pissed because they had smoked. I was pissed that because of them my house value SUCKS.

Pissed.  Pissed.  Pissed.  The last few weeks have been insane and this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I said "Well at least you got cleaned up before going to jail!"

But after I got my pissy out, it really started to hit me that it was kinda funny.  Especially when the new owner was able to identify the one bather by his boxers.

And if you think about it, it IS a little hilarious.   There was minimal damage.  It could have been far worse.  The house could have burned to the ground.

The squatter house was full of all kinds of things.  Largely the things that they had been stealing with the rash of break ins we've had in our neighborhood.  Another reason we wanted to move.

I told the new owners that they are the neighborhood heroes-- they were able to solve the burglaries!!

Various police agencies arrived to fight over who got to take them to which jail-- would it be North Las Vegas?  County?  City?  So many warrants, so many choices!

But last night as I very seriously tried not to vomit as I made my best effort to clean up-- and wow- they really NEEDED to bathe- I started to think about what kinds of options were really available to them.  They were felons.  That limits your future career options.  And even if they could get a job, how on earth could anyone survive on $8.35/hour?  $17,000 a year?  For real?

And even without the felonies, based on the fact that they couldn't figure out how the security bar worked on the back door once they were inside, they weren't the sharpest knives to begin with.  They had some skills- they knew how to disable the garage door and remove my under counter radio without stripping the cabinets.  But what types of jobs were available to them that could actually allow them to have a decent life? A life in their own home.  Not mine.

And as I gagged, I felt a little compassion.

Not that I was happy that they had bathed in my house.

But what options are available to those people who maybe don't have basic life skills?  The bagger at the grocery store used to be able to have a car and a small apartment.  There's no way that's even a viable lifestyle any longer.  When I waited tables, every other waitress had a family to support and could do it somewhat.  Not extravagantly, but decently.

Maybe that's what happened to these folks.  They tried and couldn't do it and a life living in my house certainly seemed a lot better than what they faced.

Now they are in jail.

And they should be- without a doubt- but what's next for them?  There's nothing out there. Their lives won't ever be more than this.

And it made me kinda sad.

I just really wished they hadn't shaved.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Days 6-??? What Day is it Again? House moves, kids, fathers, robots and friends

I don't have all my daily specifics but here's what's been going on...

I have moisturized and flossed every day.

I've meditated twice since my last post.

You may see this as failure-- I see this as I've moisturized and flossed every day.  The easiest ones, of course, but it's really easy to just fall into bed because...

We've had this house sale/house build thing going on.  It all looked great.  Until the appraisal fell apart.  Not because of the quality of the house-- in fact, if we lived a few blocks away our house would be worth about $50-$100,000 more.  A few blocks.

Anyhow, without sounding too crazy, it was an emotional week.  We assumed the deal was off.  As was our new home build.  So we were a little surprised when it went through with some adjustments.


And the movers, that we hadn't scheduled assuming it was off or would be delayed, were only available today.  Saturday.  We found out it was a go on Thursday.

Less than 48 hours.

To our credit, we had purged a few weeks ago when we put in new flooring and listed the house.  We had about a third already packed.  We also are staying at my mother-in-law's, so we did have to figure out what we needed and what we didn't.  We are going to be here until late October. 

But we got it done.  Almost.  We still have more than a week to get everything out and tomorrow we will spend Father's Day, moving the rest of the stuff to my MILs or throwing stuff out.  It always looks like it's not a lot, but it is always more than you think.   And next week I have 14 client meetings.  That's a lot, by the way.  We were planning on moving next weekend.  It had all looked good... then it got crazy.

Honestly, I'm grateful.  We would have procrastinated this whole week- I would have been too busy to do anything, so we got through it a week earlier and now we have some time to spend doing the last little bit.

It worked out for the best.

The whole experience also made us rethink how much we wanted this new home.  I had said that I really was fine staying in our current house.  That I love.  But when the option wasn't there, we were really sad.  Which was a great indicator that we really DID want to move.

Even the kids.  Yep, that's right.  My daughter was a little happy that we were staying at first, but then she said "What about the reading area we were going to put in...."  and she was bummed.

It reaffirmed that we were doing the right thing.

We needed it, too.  We were on the fence and it's scary to move forward when you're on the fence.

We're not scared any more.

We are really excited, in fact.

And all the while that we were going through this, my son had robotics camp.  I worked.  I had a client event even.  My husband was a nervous wreck.  We spent all of Monday picking out options on a house we didn't really think was going to work out.  Up and down.  Regular life went on while we were in limbo.

I usually do well with limbo- I work in a field that is perpetual in motion.  I am paid on commissions.  The majority of my professional life is uncertain- and I love it.  I am a risk taker by nature.  But my family... my family is my rock.  My home is my rock.  To not know was really stressful.  I can take risks, because home is my safe haven. 

Right before we found out that the buyers still wanted our house, my daughter was accepted at her new school on a zone variance- since we were moving, she could start the year there.  We went to register her thinking "oh well... at least she's in a better school."  We even told them it might be falling through.  Then it all came together an hour later.  And on Friday, my son and his partner won his division at robotics camp. 

And we moved.

So no, I did not meditate. I did not walk at night.  I did not make healthy meals.

I stress ate.

We went out a lot.

I couldn't sleep.

When I tried to meditate, I couldn't.  Just couldn't.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was frustrated.

It was that bad.

So all I did was floss and moisturize.  And after EVERYTHING that happened this week, I'm good with that.

What really kept me grounded was the fact that I have amazing friends.  They cheered me on both virtually and personally.  My friend Ellen called at the perfect moment because she has been going through a similar situation with her house.  My friend Hadar sent me great links with information.  My friends Melissa and Anna Marie don't really want me to move, but listened to me bitch and made sure I was okay.  Kimberly, Doug and another Melissa who went out with me Friday night because I needed a break.  Julie who is my assistant and my friend knew what to keep off my desk this week.  Angela the sales agent on the new home called me back after I called to tell her what happened, simply to tell me that she actually broke down and cried after we spoke because it didn't seem fair (and before you say it's for her commission, it wasn't.  There's a HUGE waiting list for the development).  My mother-in-law who is simply the greatest person I know, kept checking in on me because I could tell she was sensing that I was very much on the edge. 

And then my poor, poor husband.  This Father's Day he gets to move the rest of the crap.  It's not as bad as the year I had a breast reduction and he had to drain the tubes... and we all had lice. 

But through the stress of the uncertainty, we had a few good arguments and it made our marriage even better.  We confirmed that we are both on the same page with what we want for the future and for now.

And our kids.  Holy crap, they are the most amazing people.  They are excited and using this as an adventure.  They both have cried (my son teared up to clarify).  But suddenly we are excited.  We are moving into a great house in October.  They were hilarious today.  They helped.  They were good.

There's still a little bit up in the air....

The mortgage process... the appraisal of the new house... who knows?

Because something has to be uncertain.

I would actually be stunned if it didn't work out- absolutely stunned.  But it might not...

A little uncertainty is okay.  It keeps me going.

Maybe it's because the movers were cheerful and had fun.  Maybe it's because it cost way less than what we thought it would because we didn't have nearly the stuff that they thought we would. 

That certainly helped.

But honestly, tonight I am happy not because we are getting a new home, I am happy because my family is happy.  Because we resolved a lot of issues. Because I know I have friends that I can count on for support. Because every roadblock that came up this month had a purpose to it.  Because while the meditation didn't happen for extend periods, it certainly helped me cope. 

And it was NEVER about the house or the money.  The stress was about not knowing.  110%. 

When the movers commented that "You really don't have much stuff"- I wanted to say "I do.  I have way more than I will ever need or deserve and none of it is any of those crates."

Friday, June 6, 2014

Day 4 and Day 5

Day 4

  • Meditating 30 minutes daily.  Done.
  • Flossing daily. Done.  Twice.
  • Ab Challenge. It was a "rest" day, but I went ahead and did some planks.
  • Not eating out. Told you this would be the hardest....
  • Moisturizing every day.  Done.
  • Minimizing processed foods. Does frozen yogurt count?
  • Take a 30 minute walk every night. Done
  • Not eat after dinner.  Done.
  • Go to bed at 10 pm. Done.

    The eating out is way to easy this time of year.  I don't want to shop because we are moving.  We've had weird schedules with the end of the school year and it's really, really hot. 

    Day 5
  • Meditating 30 minutes daily.  Done.
  • Flossing daily. Done. 
  • Ab Challenge. Done and I'm starting to actually notice a difference!
  • Not eating out. Friend in town.  The good news, we planned for it. 
  • Moisturizing every day.  Done.
  • Minimizing processed foods. Bad.  But delicious.
  • Take a 30 minute walk every night. Probably (it's too early)
  • Not eat after dinner.  Don't foresee a problem... I'm still stuffed from our early dinner.  Also, my appetite is starting to wane in the evenings.
  • Go to bed at 10 pm. Again, since I'm yawning now... probably not going to be an issue!

    We have a lot of friends coming into town this month.  And we're going to enjoy it.  But I am trying.

    Oh- and you should be able to post now without any issues!
  • Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Day 3 Still Going!

  • Meditating 30 minutes daily.  Done.
  • Flossing daily. I completely forgot!  But I flossed first thing in the morning!
  • Ab Challenge. Done.
  • Not eating out.  5th grade graduation- had to party!
  • Moisturizing every day.  Done.
  • Minimizing processed foods. Not too bad, considering.
  • Take a 30 minute walk every night.  I forgot.
  • Not eat after dinner.  Done.
  • Go to bed at 10 pm. Closer.  I only played WWF until 10:15 or so.

    So the whole point is to start new habits and start making time for even the little things that matter.

    Again, haven't had a "perfect" day yet, but they certainly are better than they were.  I'm starting to go to bed earlier.  I'm spending more time getting ready for bed-- winding down the day.  The meditation is feeling more like a part of the routine in the morning, as is the ab challenge (today was a day off, but I still did planks... but that will be in tomorrow's blog).

    I've got to figure a way to get the walking in at night.  It's not a huge thing to do... hmmm... I'll work on it and make sure I can do it tonight.  The heat and my allergies are not helping to inspire me.

    Also, if you're following this on Facebook-- I'm not going to be posting it every day, but I will post it here.  And I would love your comments if you're playing along!

  • Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Day 2... hmmm... interesting

  • Meditating 30 minutes daily.   15.  I blame the dogs.
  • Flossing daily. Done,
  • Ab Challenge. About that...
  • Not eating out. 1 out of 3??  It's the last week of school... I worked late... I took my assistant out...
  • Moisturizing every day.  Done.
  • Minimizing processed foods. Nope.
  • Take a 30 minute walk every night.  I was too tired.
  • Not eat after dinner.  Done.
  • Go to bed at 10 pm. 10:30... and then I played Words with Friends until 10:45

    Wow- Day 2 and it looks like I'm already bombing BUT.. and here is why I'm doing it this way...  The day went like this:

    I woke up with a horrible allergy induced headache (because I went for a walk in the wind).  I TRIED to meditate. Honestly.  My head was throbbing.  I was stuffy.  When the dogs started World Class Jiu Jitsu at my feet, I bailed.

    Then, even though I packed my lunch, I decided that I wanted to take my assistant out to check out where we are having a client event.  Very last minute.  We are both exhausted with end of year stuff, so it was nice to catch up.  We are actually friends.

    Then my son had an activity after school so the rest of my family ate there and I decided to grab some Baja Fresh.  Fast Food.  But honestly, not the worst choice.  I did fish tacos (grilled).  So it COULD have been worse.

    I got home, stuffed my face and realized I never did do my abs.  And it was too late and I was too tired to walk.

    At 10:30-- I was chatting with a friend who is coming to visit this Friday-- I went upstairs and felt like a total loser.

    But here's what I didn't do- just throw on a t-shirt and go to bed.

    I brushed and flossed, moisturized and then played a little Words with Friends and fell asleep feeling a lot better.

    Because the reason I have all these things on the list is because when I don't do one, I begin a downward spiral into loserdom.  That "Well, I already blew, so who cares?"  I didn't just eat MORE crap and stay up until midnight.

    The little silly things, like flossing (which again, can't tell you how important it is), remind me that I need to take better care of myself.

    So this morning when I got up-- I mediated, did my abs (I jumped ahead a day in the challenge) and rather than beat myself up for what I didn't do-- I gave myself some credit for not throwing in the towel already-- on Day 3.  Sad.  But true.

    This is all about taking care of myself and being consistent.  Grabbing my oxygen mask first.

    So Day 2 was a failure in some ways and a huge success in others.

  • Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Day 1

    So yesterday, not so bad.  Glad to see others are joining!  And the flossing thing... it's a big deal.  I'll post more on it later.

    Today has not gotten off to a good start.  The downside of the walk last night- the wind.  Which means my allergies are awful.  I have a horrible headache.  I got 15 minutes of "meditating" which was really me sitting there thinking how bad my head hurt.  No abs, but I will tonight.

    And those darn oreos... I don't even LIKE them.  We made 6 cakes for the 5th grade culmination tomorrow and I think the smell of chocolate got to me.  So I blew 6 AND 8.

    I'm also considering adding yoga... just a few salutations to the sun.  Nothing crazy.  It would also give me a nice, even 10. 

    Let me know if you're playing along!!

    1. Meditating 30 minutes daily.   Done.
    2. Flossing daily. Done,
    3. Ab Challenge. Done
    4. Not eating out. Done.
    5. Moisturizing every day.  Done.
    6. Minimizing processed foods.Eh...
    7. Take a 30 minute walk every night.  Done.
    8. Not eat after dinner.  Eh,,,,
    9. Go to bed at 10 pm. Done.  Woke up at 4:30 am. :(

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Thirty Days...

    As you may know from my previous blogs, we are in the process of moving and building a new home.

    We are supposed to be out of our current home by June 24th- assuming all goes well.  On the surface, it all looks nice, but a big thanks to all the people that have shared their horror stories of the issues they've had with houses falling out of escrow, last minute changes, etc.  Seriously.  Thanks.  It's up there with all the birthing horror stories I heard when I was pregnant.  Nothing soothes a stressed out friend like hearing how much WORSE it could be.

    And yes, that was sarcasm.

    We should be moving into our new home in late October-- assuming all goes well.  Right now, it appears that all those smart financial moves we made over the past years-- including paying our mortgage on time, every month for our entire adult lives-- has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the decision if we are worthy enough to pay another lender on time every month.  Absolutely no impact.  And again, LOVE hearing all those horror stories from people. Thanks.  That is totally helping me relax.

    Again, sarcasm.

    ANYHOW, on a positive note, I am also looking at this as an opportunity to reset.  New environment.  New choices.

    And since I am an expert on all things diet, fitness and lifestyle related, it really seemed like a great opportunity to utilize all that I've learned over the years and put some plans into action.

    Oh- what's that you say?  Aren't I 70 pounds overweight and can't run a mile?

    Yes.  That is true. 

    Don't judge.

    I have tried every diet and read a lot of books.

    I have lost more than 300 pounds in the past 5 years.  I just haven't done it consecutively.

    That is the challenge, apparently. 

    Have you lost 300 pounds?

    See.  Who's the expert now?

    So in August, my kids start new schools.

    In October, we'll be in the house that we will more than likely either die in or sell to pay for our long term care. 

    A new life for everyone.

    So I decided that it is also a great time to change some of my behaviors to have a healthy lifestyle when we begin this new life.

    Please note that I did not say lose weight.

    I would like to lose weight.

    I would like to lose about 50 pounds before the end of the year.

    But you know what- after careful thought, I really think that this plan of mine is going to do a lot more for me than focusing on the scale.

    Here's the scoop- for the next 30 days I will be posting how well I stick to the following items that I feel will, after many years of research, make me feel better.  I'm also playing with assigning a point value to them... so I can track it... because I am competitive. But maybe not.

    I also am WELL aware that during the next 30 days we are moving and starting our vacation.  This is part of the plan-- if I can do it during one of the more stressful times in my life, it should be easy to stick to the rest of the year.

    This was also inspired by the 30 day ab challenge on Facebook.  I miss my abs.  I would like to find them this summer.  It is also inspired by my friend Lisa who lost a bunch of weight and commented that it was weird- the moms at her daughter's new school only know her as the skinny, running yoga mom.  In general, seemed like a good time to start in spite of the chaos.

    Feel free to play along and post.

    So here's what I am going to focus on:
    1. Meditating 30 minutes daily.   Bonus if I get in an evening meditation.  Because this makes me nicer.
    2. Flossing daily.  I know, I should be doing this.  Honestly, I'm not.  You probably aren't either based on statistics.  It's really important.  There is all kinds of weird data that puts flossing on the top 10 lists of ways to extend longevity.
    3. Ab Challenge.  It's fun.  I'm a day off the start date.  I used to do 500 crunch variations a day.  I could barely do 15 this morning.  Gonna be a looooong 30 days.  My son is joining me on this adventure to Abs of Steel.
    4. Not eating out.  This is a big one, but as we are forced to eat through our pantry so as to not pack it, it's important.  I also eat like crap when we go out.  Every day is a celebration in my world.  This needs to stop.  Also, to our credit, with the house up for sale and open houses, realtor visits-- we've been limited in our time at home and also didn't want to make a mess or stink it up.  If I can stick to this 90%, I will be happy.   A nice date here or there.... celebrating my son's elementary school graduation... but the goal is to do this most days.
    5. Moisturizing every day.  I do this fairly often but I need to make sure it's part of the daily routine.  I'm over 40 and live in the desert.  I don't want to look shriveled.  It's gross.
    6. Minimizing processed foods. I was going to put "eliminate" but it's too hard.  I know this.  Everything seems to be processed- I don't have a farm and I'm not killing my own meat.  I really am trying to eliminate sugar, but for the sake of this 30 days-- it's too much. Basically, if I don't eat crap, I'll be happy.
    7. Take a 30 minute walk every night.  Even with the heat.  Because it's fun to pick a kid and go wander the neighborhood.
    8. Not eat after dinner.  This is going to be the hardest, next to not going out for dinner.  I chow down after sunset.  Not good.
    9. Go to bed at 10 pm. Because I need to.  It also reduces my chow down time and sleep is important.
    If I institute a point system, it should 9 points a day.  In 30 days, it should be a percentage of 270 points. 

    It's not to be perfect.

    It's not to focus on just food or exercise.

    It's things I need to do stay healthy.  A strong core.  Eating right.  Getting rest.  Staying focused. Taking care of myself.

    Because this is the only me I've got.

    Every day, I'll post how I did.  And seriously, if you feel the need to add some good habits to your life, join me and post along.

    This is not remotely researched.  I have no idea what will happen at the end of 30 days.  After all my experiences with different programs, these are the things that I want to make sure that I'm doing.  My hope is, I will stick with it for the following 18,250 days.

    We'll see.

    One day at a time.