Wednesday, April 30, 2008

About to Bake Something Fattening and Have it Delivered to All Your Houses

I would just like to take this opportunity to say thank you so very much, to my friends (on the computer and not), former co-workers, and most especially my perfect husband, who've been so sympathetic, outraged on my behalf, full of good, smart, sensible, and proportion-keeping advice, and so supportive it's impossible for me to feel even a little sorry for myself.

I've been laid off and lost jobs before, but I've just never ever felt such a bunch of great support and encouragement before from my peeps. I am truly and thoroughly grateful, and I know how lucky I am.

Treen, Kimberly, Merseydoats, Goon Squad Sarah, Kerry, and Dan: You are all such a bunch of total rock stars. I heart you.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dear Comcast Cable:

To: Comcast
From: Molly
Re: Two Small Points of Order

1. You cannot tune into OnDemand New Cars and "Literally" take a test drive. If you were "literally" taking a test drive, you would be IN A CAR, not on your living room couch with your remote in your hand. That is what literally means, you bunch of illiterate goobs. Your commercial does absolutely nothing in regards to making me want to buy a car. It makes me want to pour myself a stiff drink, dump out the drink, and eat the glass.

2. Your tech who came to my house yesterday arrived nearly an hour late. When I pointed that out to him, he said, "So? Were you making me breakfast?" I did not answer that question before I told him to get out of my house. The answer was no. I was not making him breakfast. And the next time you send one of your smelly, ignorant, ankle-tether-wearing degenerate techs to my house and they arrive so much as two minutes after the appointment time or wise off to me, ever fucking again, please let them know that they can anticipate being followed down the stairs by every piece of Comcast equipment in my posession, including the THREE cable boxes that have stopped working in the year and a half that I've had Comcast Digital Cable, as I will throw them off the deck at his head. So Help Me God.

Yours very truly,

That Woman Who's Angry Every Single Time I Call

Tuesday Morning Awesomeness

You know what's awesome?

The lack of a line in the grocery store at 9:15 in the morning on a Tuesday.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Let Us Hope That Government Cheese Still Makes A Delicious Sandwich

Well, it appears that my lunch budget is no longer relevant. Due to company restructuring, I am on what I like to think of as a prolonged vacation.

I've seen it coming; I've got other opportunities in the works, and I have to admit that my job has not been the most pleasant place on earth the last couple of months. Whoodathunkit: a financial and homeownership education non-profit, not a great place to work during a mortgage lending and foreclosure-driven recession. I know, right?

Let me tell you how expected this was: when I called my husband and told him, the first thing he said was, "You're gonna blog about this, aren't you?"

I think he's hoping that we'll be the next Dooce family, and I'll be able to stay home and take pictures of the cat balancing things on her head. Let's hope she starts with the vacuum cleaner; I'm great at many things, but Suzy Homemaker I am not.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Budget, Day 3

Yesterday for lunch, I spent nothing. Brought leftover turkey sloppy joe and macaroni salad (homemade, thanks very much.)

Today for breakfast, I also spent nothing. Cereal, milk, and bagel I bought on Monday.

I have no leftovers today. Maybe I'll get soup from the Giant again.

Total for the week: $20.17.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Budget, Day 2

Yesterday for lunch I spent:
$3.71, on soup from the salad bar next door at Giant.

Today for breakfast I spent:
Nothing: drank water and ate cereal and milk that I bought yesterday.

Also, I carried my lunch today.

Total for the week: $20.17.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Budget, Day 1

So far today, I've spent $16.46 on the following items:

1 quart of skim milk
3 single servings of Special K (I would have bought a whole box, but I don't know if I like Special K so I thought I'd try it out first)
6 bagels
1 package of cream cheese
1 Rubbermade plastic bowl with a lid (for cereal, soup, etc.)
2 packages of ramen noodles (I know, I know, but they were cheap and they came in flavors I'd never heard of before, so why not?)

So that takes care of breakfasts for the week. I have half a case of Diet Cokes, and that should last me until...I don't know. Lunchtime? Just kidding. When they're gone they're gone, and I'll drink water. Stupid, stupid water.

I'll carry my lunch tomorrow, since dinner tonight will be something good.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why I'm Broke, Probably

Tomorrow, I start a financial remodel of most of my life. Last week, I looked over my checking account statement from last month, and nearly had a heart attack: in a month, I spent over $700 on groceries, eating out, and lunch at work, just on that one card--that doesn't even include what I might have spent on those things on any of my other cards. Ouch.

Groceries are the least of my problems. I budget about $150 a week for groceries, and most often I come in well under that, unless there's some kind of special meal coming up. Tonight, for example, I discovered that the Safeway around the corner from my house is going to stop carrying sugar-free Kool-Aid. Horrified to find their entire stock of Sugar-free Kool-Aid on the clearance rack, I bought it all--45 boxes--for $1 a box. I also complained to the manager of the store, who told me that there wasn't much he could do about it. Shmuck.

Also not the problem: Dan. He packs his lunches, and takes salad with chicken breasts and whole-wheat pasta tossed in. His lunches are a grand total of about $3 a day.

Max's daycare provides lunch for him. Have I happened to mention how much I love Max's daycare? She is a licensed home daycare, she's got years of experience and four kids of her own. There's no TV, she has a curriculum and planned activities every day, and Max gets a healthy breakfast, lunch, and two snacks a day. Not only that, but he's treated like a part of her family, and he loves it so much there he practically jumps out of the moving car when we pull into her driveway. All of this for $135 a week! Anyway, Max's breakfast and lunch is included in the daycare cost, so he's not the problem.

The problem is me: I go to work incredibly early in the morning and work next door to a Giant--it's too easy for me to pick up something for breakfast, run back across the street to hit the salad bar at lunch, and avail myself of the chilled sodas in the coolers near the checkout lane. There goes $10 a day, easy.

So, I am going to be attempting to plug the leak. Here are the rules:

$30 a week for lunches and breakfasts.
I'll carry my lunch at least two days a week. (Dammit, I hate carrying my lunch.)
Dan and I will not go out more than twice in a week, including Friday night, which is our regular night, and our weekend breakfasts at Eastern Market (I will really miss that.)
More water, less soda, and I'll buy a case of Diet Coke and drink those, rather than purchasing 20-ounce sodas for $1.39 each.
No more than one Starbucks a week (Dammit again!)
I will post what I spend every day, so that you will all help me be accountable.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Things That My Kid Told Me This Weekend

1. Pickles and ketchup on wheat bread are a delicious sandwich.

2. Throwing a Nerf baketball at the kitchen table to knock down blocks is called "Far bowling."

3. If he is not yet done pooping, it's because "it takes awhile."

4. A blue wooden block tastes "like chicken."

5. He wants to "ride with Jesus."

That last thing really puzzles me a lot. Is it possible he has joined an evangelical wing of the Hell's Angels, without me having noticed?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Shots Fired

My husband Dan was in the Army for twelve years.

And that is why he knew what we were hearing when someone began firing a gun two blocks from my office tonight, while we were sitting in our car at a stoplight.

Yes, actually, it was as scary as it sounds. Thanks for asking.

My office is in Hyattsville, right across from Prince George's Plaza Mall, a block west of the P.G. Plaza Metro station. I take the Green line every morning from Greenbelt to that Metro station and walk to my office. Most mornings, I stop at the Giant and buy a Diet Coke on my way to work, because the coffee at my office tastes terrible.

I don't know where the shooting was--probably at the Metro station--but we were sitting at the red light at East-West Highway and Belcrest Road and I heard six shots in quick succession. We had left my office maybe sixty seconds earlier.

It's weird. Gunshots sound exactly like you think they would, but quieter. They sound a little muffled. But as soon as you hear them, you know exactly what they are, exactly. I knew what I was hearing as soon as I heard it. But I asked anyway.

Right away, I said, "Dan, were those gunshots?"

"Yes," he said shortly. He was looking around, checking all of his mirrors, making sure he had a clear route to drive away fast if he needed to. Within five seconds, cops with lights on and sirens flashing were flying towards us--probably six cop cars right away.

I turned around to look out the back window. Max, strapped into his car seat, was in the center of my vision. Behind him, in the back window, I could clearly see the footbridge over East-West Highway from the Metro station to the mall, where seven or eight pedestrians were sprinting away from the Metro, really running. Like I would run if someone were shooting, like I couldn't get far enough away fast enough.

I barely registered them though. What I was really seeing was Max, staring back at me. "What happened, Mama?" he said.

"Nothing, baby," I lied.

And what I thought was, the minivan made so much sense when he was an infant and we could put him into the car without having to bend over, when we carried everything with us because we just didn't know what we would need, but now we're so far up in the air. We're so exposed, and Dan knows about gunfire and he's said before that a car isn't any kind of cover if someone's shooting at you. And there's my boy, strapped in his carseat, helpless, and exposed, and somebody close enough for me to hear has a gun, a real motherfucking gun, and any second they could start shooting again. And there's my boy.

The light turned green. More cops flew past us. Dan hit the gas. "Let's get the fuck out of here," he said grimly as he peeled out.

I thought of my office right away: two blocks away from the intersection where we were when we heard the shots, and got on my cell phone. "Dianne, it's Molly," I said, as soon as the receptionist answered the phone. "We're two blocks from the office and somebody's shooting. Don't let anyone in or out. Lock down the office."

Dianne said, "Oh my God," and she dropped the phone.

I waited until we had turned onto Route 1, and I called her back. "Is everyone okay?" I asked her.

"Everybody's fine," she assured me. "The office is locked."

Dianne sounded as shook up as I felt, and I could hear a lot of people in the lobby. "I'll let you go," I said.

"Thank you for calling me, Sweetheart," she said. "Be safe."

We were far enough away that Dan was now thinking about something other than just getting away. "Sounded like a 9 millimeter," he said, "but not an automatic. Punk gun. Probably a gang-banger."

Hyattsville and Riverdale Park, just to the east, has had a rash of gang-related violence recently. I haven't been that worried about it.

"The car isn't any kind of cover," he told me again. "But a 9 is only accurate for about 50 feet. Past 75 feet, if they hit you at all, it's totally random. If you hear gunfire and you're close enough to see the gun, you really only need to be 75 feet away."

He continued, "If it's a gang-banger, he probably doesn't know what he's doing anyway and can't aim. That could work for you or against you. If it's a soldier who's lost it, though, they can probably hit you from 200 meters if they have a rifle."

I didn't say anything for a minute. "Could you hit someone from 200 meters?"

"Yes," he said.

"Could you hit someone from farther away than that?"

"Yes," he said again, without hesitation.

"How far?"

"In the Army, you never fire from more than 600 meters from the target."

"What if you're Jake Gyllenhaal?"

"Those guys fire from 800 meters," he said.

"Could you hit someone from 800 meters?"


Dan does not talk much about things that happened to him the Army. I know some things that he is not allowed to talk about much because they happened in places that he is not allowed to talk about. Sometimes he just doesn't want to scare me.

But someone started shooting tonight, somewhere close enough for me to hear the gunshots and know what they were right away, and I have never felt more vulnerable in my life. For me, and for my total badass hero of a husband, and for my sweet boy.

I am going to go and take a Xanax and drink a very, very large glass of wine. I am feeling a bit...on edge, shall we say?