Tuesday, February 3, 2015

3...2...1...Contact

I put contact paper on the shelf in the laundry room. A small victory. Some might question calling this a victory at all. But it is. Because I bought this contact paper when we first moved into this house. In July 2012. So...yeah.

I bought it because my mom had taught me that's what you do in a new home or apartment. You put down contact paper. In the cabinets. In the drawers. You clean the surface, you measure, you cut, you carefully place down this strip of magical paper that...what? Is easy to clean? Is pretty? That puts your personal stamp on your new home? Who knows. But that's what you do.

And I never did it. I bought it. And it sat. In the basement. So much was overwhelming me- the move, unpacking, our finances, my son, then my pregnancy, then being a SAHM for TWO tiny boys, and where I fit into this new Home with a capital H I was trying to create. The project, the PROCESS, of the contact paper was just too much fuss with too little reward in my mind.

But as I declared 2015 The Year I Pull It Together, that contact paper taunted me from the corner of the basement. My mom was a perfectionist. Hospital corners when she made the bed. Pictures hung with measuring tape and a level. And she was GOOD at finding perfection in her home. She enjoyed it. But why was I waiting and waiting and putting off and putting off doing this task because I didn't  have time to do it perfectly or completely. The way my mother would have. I'm not her. I don't need to be. It won't make me crazy if the paper is crooked or not just right. But I do like a little order. Just a little. There's nothing wrong with just a little if it's all ya need, right?

So there it is. Just a little.

It feels good. It feels right. It feels silly that I didn't do it earlier. It's a little (a lot) messy, but it's cute, it's fine, it's functional.

I think I'm going to lay some down in the drawers in the bathroom we put our tooth brushes in, too. Because that's been driving me nuts as well. It won't be pretty. But it will be fine.

And sometimes "just fine" is fine. Is okay. Is actually perfect.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Side Hustlin'- Confessions of a Secret Shopper (and tips if you want to do it, too)

So I have approached this whole paying down debt thing the same way I would approach teaching a class, acting a role or directing a play- first I do a LOT of research. And so I have been combing the ol' interweb and WOW are there a lot of blogs about getting out of debt. WOW.
But even with all of this excess of information at my disposal, as far as I can tell it still comes to a list of 2 basic things I need to do-

1) Live frugally- spend less than I make with the extra going to debt
2) Increase my income- make more money with the extra going to debt. The Debt/Frugal living/Personal Finance bloggers seem to call this a Side Hustle.

the rest is gravy.

Okay. I can do this. I decided that in January I would do ONE thing to live more frugally and ONE thing to increase my income.

Frugal Living- Couponing! Brilliant! Uh...no. It was kind of a disaster. Which I will write about later. I swear. Because it's pretty hilarious if I do say so myself. Instead I will write about...







Increasing Income/Side Hustle- SECRET SHOPPING






Now to be fair, I had done this before. When I was a SAHM I had started doing this just as a means of making a little extra cash in an attempt to avoid using the credit card to make ends meet. (Spoiler alert: It didn't work.) But I had stepped away from doing it when I was 900 months pregnant with my 2nd son because frankly it felt like just a raindrop in a thunderstorm and the energy it took didn't feel worth it in my hormone induced pity party state. Then I got a full-time job and I figured I didn't need to do it anymore. But now I'm SIDE HUSTLIN' so it's back I go to my secret consumer life. This month I've done 4 shops and made $98 so far.


My husband likes to imagine that I dress in all black and have a code name like Natasha and slink around stores looking for my contact to get my Secret Shopping mission. I let him think that. But it's actually pretty boring. Here's how it goes:

1) I signed up with a few reputable Secret Shopping websites. I happen to like
Anne Michaels and Associates and Beyond Hello.  I tried a few others, but these two had the most opportunities, the clearest instructions and feedback formats and the best pay. In my opinion.

2) I filled out the extended profile for each.

3) I get sent emails daily that have titles like "Ann Michaels and Associates Mystery Shop Posting: Restaurant/Winery (Due 1-28-15)" Depending on the time of year I can get sent as few as 2 or as many as 25.

4) I then click on ones that have due dates that look doable based on my schedule. When I click on it there is general information about the type of shop (Clothing, Restaurant, etc.) & the location (City only). Then if it still looks like it might be a good fit, I click on a link that takes me to a page where I can apply for the shop. 

5) On the application page there is information about the pay, times and any special qualifications or restrictions. While the name of the store is never mentioned, often an address is given and a quick google search can often reveal where you would be shopping. If it all still looks good, I apply. Just type in my email and password for the site. Done.


6) Then I wait to see if I get picked. It's kind of like gym class all over again, but with significantly less stress. And less dodge ball. I get an email notifying me either way.



 7) If I am selected, I get my "mission". These actually can be kind of overwhelming if you haven't done one before. There is often a LOT of information, including what you are to be shopping for, things you need to be looking for, questions that need to be asked and in some cases photos that will need to be taken. When I first started doing these I would study my "mission" info and take notes. (To be fair, I was also kind of bored and overcompensating.) But the more I did, the more comfortable I became and the better I got at remembering what needed to be done.
Tom Cruise, not me

8) Shopping Day comes and off I go. When I started and my son was about 18 months I would try to only do shops where I could take my kid (if it doesn't specify "no kids" my understanding is that you can bring them) so I didn't have to get a sitter or take up family time. Now that I have an overactive 3 1/2 year old and an infant, I try to do them solo. Family time- schmamly time. My sanity can only take so much.

9) Then I fill out a report on my experience. Some are more extensive than others, but pay is usually compensated accordingly.  The reports for the two places I use are online and very easy to fill out. I can also save them and return to them which is great when dealing with previously mentioned tiny people living in my house.

10) I submit and hear back in a few weeks what my "rating" was (they grade you. Again like gym class. But again significantly less stress and physical exertion) and that the shop is complete. I get paid in the month following the shop directly to my Pay Pal account.

Done and Done. Secret Shopping in 10 Easy Steps. Not as sexy or exciting as my husband's fantasy about how it plays out, but still a pretty great way to make some extra cash. Or to go out to eat for free.

If you think this sounds fun or at least not horrible, here are a few pro-tips (and I use the term "pro" loosely) as you get started.

1) If you can, use an email that is designated for this kind of thing. You will sometimes get A LOT of emails and it is much easier to keep track of it all (new postings, submissions, shops due, etc.) if it's all in one place and not cluttering up your personal or professional email inbox.

2) If you don't already have a Pay Pal account, sign up for a Pay Pal account so you can get paid with Pay Pal.  Pay Pal Pay Pal Pay Pal. Can't stop saying it. Makes things MUCH easier. Seriously.

3) The first few times you do it, give yourself WAY more time than you need. Meaning, don't have somewhere you need to be immediately following or right before. Once you get more comfortable with them, it does become something you can do on a lunch hour or while the kids are at hockey practice, but starting out give yourself a lot of buffer room.

4) Take photos of business cards and receipts needed as soon as you get in your car or in your house. It's so easy to lose those darn things and your shop will not be accepted with out them in most cases.

5) Don't get TOO creative or detailed, but go ahead and have fun. I may not put on an accent and give myself an alias (much to my husband's chagrin), but it can be kind of a stress release to pretend to be someone who IS buying something that you would never have the money, interest, desire to buy. Or out at a restaurant you would never go to.  It's a side hustle, not a second job. Hustlin' is a lot of work, but it can also be fun. So let it be. Find the joy in the hustle.

Well that's all I got.
Coming soon- Posts including  "Couponing for Dummies, But In This Case I'm the Dummy" and "My Sanity Saving Non-Emergency Fund."  Also "I Love Carbs. And They Love Me Back. So Why Do They Hurt Me So- A Dysfunctional Love Story"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Zero Hour, Five A.M.



Between 5 and 6 a.m. I am the most popular girl in our house. Every morning, in this hour right before the sun comes up, the baby wakes calling "Mama", at first cute and endearing, but rapidly morphing into a primal scream. After I go to the baby, pick up the baby and start nursing the baby, then, and only then, do BOTH the 3 1/2 year old and the 2 dogs start vying for my attention with a chorus of whining. Everyone needs me. Right now. RIGHT NOW.

DD_W11_Donut_WebsiteAs someone who is not a morning person, this is not exactly the best way to start the day. And when I say I'm not a morning person, I am being kind. When I was in high school, my father used to find me lying on the floor in the fetal position, after I got out of bed, often for 20-30 minutes, because I couldn't rally to get myself dressed just yet. I would fortify myself a sugar rush provided by pop tarts or donuts back in those days because my parents didn't drink coffee and it didn't occur to me to buy it and make it myself.

Grad school and, well, life, taught me about coffee and the power of allowing time in the morning to just be, wake up slowly and greet the day on my terms. But babies and boys and dogs have just not got the memo. No matter how many time I patiently try to explain it to all of them. Babies and boys and dogs all not the best listeners.

So here I am. Desperately craving donuts. Or pop tarts. Or some kind of delicious, easy fast food breakfast that tastes like comfort and doesn't require me to DO anything but eat it. Because everyone around here already NEEDS me. I don't want my breakfast to ask a lot of me, too.

But a I take a breath, pour myself a cup of coffee and warm up this pear baked oatmeal I cleverly managed to make earlier in the week and keep in the fridge for this very moment.  



Score 1 for being a grown up.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

SAHM I Am Not

I wrote this right before I went back to work in August. I am posting it here because on a day like today, a day when I spent 8 hours attempting (and failing) to write one work e-mail while juggling/entertaining/feeding/disciplining/keeping alive both kids, it is good to be reminded why I am doing this...

Next week I head back to work. YIKES! Many of my mommy (and daddy) friends think I'm nuts. I have an infant and a 3 year old and I was staying home with them. Staying home with them during this magical time before school and friends take over their little minds and when I alone instead am their everything. So here are my top 5 reasons why I am choosing to return to work...


5) We Are Broke & I Like to Eat Out-   When we moved from NYC to College Town in Missouri in 2007 our mantra became "HERE WE LIVE LIKE KINGS!!!" When we pulled up to the 3 bedroom house I had rented that cost 1/2 what we paid for our 500 sq/ft apartment in NYC , my husband honestly thought I was joking. "Shut UP. We live here?? We don't live here." But there we did live. And in 2 years we managed to pay off all of our NYC debt and (gasp!) start saving.  We didn't stress the bills at the end of the month. We didn't stress financially at all. Wow! People actually LIVE like this!!?!?? Our eyes were opened.  But then when we moved to Suburbia of Big City and I stopped working, we not only lost 1 salary, but also our insanely low cost of living. Suburbia costs twice as much to live in as College Town when one figures in housing costs, insurance, taxes, groceries, basically everything. Now there are certainly perks that go with all that extra expenditure. Perks we enjoy. And frankly we wouldn't have been so footloose and fancy free in Missouri if we only had one paycheck. But the perfect storm of less income and more expenses put us right back into budgeting every penny, worrying about every expense, and we went back to stressing.  No more dinners just cause I didn't feel like cooking or coffee treat because dang it we deserve a coffee treat.


4) Two Words: Polar Vortex- You guys! You guys! Did ya hear about the Polar Vortex? Of course you did. Everyone heard about the F'ing Polar Vortex because it SUUUUUCCCCKKED and the media loves emphasizing things that have catchy names and suck. Do you know what sucks worse than Polar Vortex? Being 400 months pregnant stuck inside with overactive 2 1/2 year old during polar vortex. The experience killed a bit of my crafty, creative, industrious SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) soul.


3) You Can Take the Girl Out of the Theatre....- Look, I spent a lot of time (15 years) & money (let's not talk about it) becoming fairly knowledgeable about theatre. And I really like to share that knowledge with people who want to hear about it. It had become part of who I was. And I miss her. I miss that woman who fights with 18 year olds about "I liked it" vs. "It's good theatre" and "I hated it" vs. "It's bad". I miss her watching students suddenly discover Chekhov IS funny.  I miss her re-reading the same text book for the 100th time and learning something new. I miss her.


2) I've Got A Golden Ticket!- A tenure track position at a university is a golden ticket for a working artist. It just is. And like a golden ticket, a lot of it is about being at the right place at the right time. The fact that I got this offer from a college that is commutable is unbelievable. And it would be ding dong crazy to turn it down.

1) I Am Not A Good Stay At Home Mom- I am just not. I think I am a pretty great mom. But I think the longer I am a SAHM, the less great I will become. When I was young I asked my mother why she decided to go back to work and I remember she was very quiet for what seemed like a long time and I thought I had made her sad. But then she said very simply "Stacy, I think going to work makes me a better mom. Even though I miss you very much, it makes me a better mom." While I didn't quite understand it at the time, it obviously struck me because I remember it so vividly. I am SO grateful that I was able to try this. I pride myself on living life without regrets. And I tried and failed at this. So I walk away knowing this is not my path. I don't have to wonder. I will always cherish and treasure the focused time I have had with my children. And maybe in a few years I will feel differently. But I think right now, I (just me, maybe not you, but me) I will be a better mom if I go back to work.  For me, and again just me, not you, me, I want to buy my kid an ice cream cone once in a while without doing the math in my head. I want to joyfully arrive home, tingling with anticipation to see my kids and give them big hugs instead of dreading the next meltdown and hiding from them in the shower. I want my kids to know that woman who has a lot to say and even more to learn about art and life and the messy place where they intersect in the theatre. I want my kids to see and maybe, dare I say it, be proud of a mom who worked her butt off to get to the right place at the right time. Me, just me, not you, but me. Right now, this is me. And when my kids ask me, "Why did you choose to leave us and go back to work?" I will get very quiet and maybe even a little sad and I will then say "Even though I miss you very much, it makes me a better mom."

Do I think this is going to be easy? Heck NO. I have had 2 anxiety attacks just writing this  and can guarantee I need to throw up as you read this. Do I regret staying home with my kid(s) these past couple of years? Heck DOUBLE NO. I have so much respect for the SAHM and maybe one day in the future, I will again join their ranks. But now, I must turn in my card and then pour myself a cup of ambition, yawn and stretch and try to come to life.**

**I didn't write that last part. She did.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Ice Ring In My Freezer

 

I wrote this in January 2013. As another New Year begins, it's a good reminder to myself. Here's to a year of hanging up ice rings.

The sad, sad tale of the ice ring in my freezer. Told through a series of vignettes with my husband...


December 3, 2012
Husband: Honey what the hell is in the freezer?
Me: I went to Trader Joe's today and...
H: No. No. The pan with ice.
Me: Oh. That's our Winter Ice Ring.
H: Am I supposed to know what that is?
Me: I decided that's going to be a tradition. As a start to the winter Holiday season, M & I went on walk to gather winter swag to put in our ice ring. We made it and now we will hang it up out front as a start to the holidays. It's going to be our thing. I did most of it this year, but he can help more and more as he gets older.
H: Okay. That's sweet. When are you hanging it up?
Me: First day of Hanukkah

December 10, 2012
Husband: Babe, you know your ice ring is still in the freezer.
Me: I know. I know. I totally flaked. We are going to hang it up the LAST night of Hanukkah instead.


December 18, 2012
Husband: Honey, can I toss this ice ring?
Me: NO! NO!! Stop!! I am going to hang it up!!
H: Okay, but Hanukkah is over and it takes up a whole shelf in our fridge.
Me: I know! I know! But we're going to hang it up this week before your family gets in town for Christmas.

December 24, 2012
Husband: Hey, did the ice ring melt?
Me: No. UGH! I tried to hang it up today, but I couldn't reach the branch on the tree out front and then I tried in the bushes, but it broke and shattered. So I remade it. It will be frozen tomorrow.
H: Uh..okay...but why did you remake it?
Me: BECAUSE IT IS OUR "THING"!! Look this is important to me. We need traditions as a family. Maybe this happened for a reason. Maybe your nieces can help tomorrow and instead of a start to the holiday season it can be something the kids all do together? Isn't that cute?
H: (pause. pause.) Yes. Cute. Okay. So tomorrow?
Me: Yes. Tomorrow. I swear.

December 30, 2012
Husband: No no son. Don't touch Mommy's Ice Ring. It lives in the freezer now. Forever.
Me: Don't be a smart ass. I am hanging it up January 1. It's a beautiful way to start the New Year. Dontcha think?
H: (silence)

January 5, 2012
Husband: Oh look an Ice Ring in the freezer!
Me: (silence)
H: This is nuts. I am tossing this.
Me: NO! Don't you dare.



 My New Years Resolution is simple and not so simple.

I am awesome at embracing process. I thrive in process.I thrive in possibility. I struggle finding the end.  I shun the completion of anything because I fear realizing what I could have done better and being unable to change it. I fear what comes next.  I am the queen of "Yes, and...", but sometimes life calls for  "yes" or "no".
This year I am going to practice hanging up the f'ing Ice Ring.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Slip Sliding Away- My Relationship with Debt

I still remember in 4th grade doing a library assignment where we were put in groups according to our birthdays and asked to research our astrological sign. One of the first things I found about the supposed characteristics of a Sagittarius was "Money slips right through your fingers, but you always seem to have some"


I remember it so clearly because as life has gone on this one phrase often plays like a chorus refrain in my head when I find myself yet again miraculously bailed out of some financial jam or another through no actual financial planning or foresight of my own.

I grew up a lower middle class home that slowly became an upper middle class home through the hard work and smart choices of my parents. My undergrad was paid for by  a combination a fund set up by an elderly aunt with no children of her own, money my parents had carefully set aside for college, and an assortment of part-time jobs I had. I went to a state school which back in the 90's cost about a $1 to go to and that all combined with scholarships I received my last two years allowed me to graduate with zero college debt.


However I did get my first credit card in undergrad. I mean they offered me a T-shirt if I signed up. How could I resist? And thus began a VERY unhealthy relationship with debt.  


Debt promised me the moon and stars. For approximately $10-$50 a month (a minimum payment for me back in the 90's) I could eat what I wanted, drink what I wanted, wear what I wanted and travel where I wanted to travel. How would I pay the WHOLE thing off?? Who cares! I had the rest of my life to figure that out.

As an actress I had a bunch of weird day jobs that paid the pills.  My income fluctuated, but in the wild hey day of the dot-com boom, there were always weird day jobs to be found, often that paid quite well. And whenever the credit card balance would start getting up to a number that made me a little nervous, I would some how, often miraculously, get some kind of financial boon (booking a commercial, small inheritance, etc.) that would allow me to pay a large chunk down.  

Then came my decision to go back to grad school. Now let me state, and this sentiment may be wildly unpopular among the financially responsible set, but I will NEVER regret the substantial debt I have accrued for graduate school. The program I attended was the perfect program for me. It has made me into the artist, educator, and person I am today. I have a job I love, that I find both artistically fulfilling and financially comforting. And I would NEVER have this job, this life, if I hadn't gone back to school. That being said, I went into it with a less than realistic attitude of how I would handle the debt I was accruing. I remember cavalierly announcing to my parents "I'll be fine. So I'll have some loans! There's no such thing as debtors prison anymore! What's the worst that could happen?! I'll figure it out!"


 So I spent 3 glorious years in NYC in school- living off loans and credit cards. And then I graduated. And then I got a little older. And a future where I had a family, a house, a retirement account- which had seemed so far off, so unreal, so unnecessary, so silly- started to feel like maybe, just maybe, it might be nice, might be a good fit. But I had this monthly credit card statement, I had these loan payments. The money I was making barely covered my NYC rent. I was racking up more credit card debt to buy groceries, even pay bills. And I was deferring my loans. And suddenly it all started feel overwhelming and insurmountable.


So we got out of Dodge. And by Dodge, I mean New York. I took a university teaching position in a small city in Missouri.  Our cost of living PLUMMETED. It felt great! We not only had a house with a yard and health insurance, we were paying down debt like it was going out of style. I started to learn to be more responsible financially, but I didn't have to be TOO responsible because it was easy living in good ol' Missouri. We lived there 5 years- paid off all our credit card debt, saved up some money, and bought a house. We still had a mortgage and student loans, but we had great rates on both and were making steady progress paying them down.

But life is funny. My husband got a fantastic job offer back where we grew up and where our family still lived. With a new baby and a nagging feeling this was not where we were supposed to raise him, he took the job, we moved and I became a stay at home mom. Another baby came. And life in a suburb of a big city was significantly less easy financially. Our cost of living basically doubled while our income shrank about a 1/3. I may not be good at math, but even I know that spells doom. 
 
Living within our means began to feel impossible when we factored in our monthly student loan payments and medical bills from our 2nd sons birth and an extended hospital visit for our 1st son. Credit card debt returned. And life was no longer at a place where "Who cares!?! We'll figure it out someday!" let me sleep at night.
Disney's Dwarfs, tellin' it like it is.

Hi ho, hi ho, it was back to work I go. (A future post for sure) I was lucky enough, just as panic had really settled in, to get a dream job at a university in the area. So we are back to two incomes. But it's going to be a long slow slog. 


So my goal for 2015 is seemingly simple- pay off the credit card debt and medical bills. But there's more to it than that. Because I not only want to pay off that debt, but I want to learn how to make sure that kind of debt doesn't happen again, even when life has other plans for us. I want to learn how to budget like my parents did, how to live within our means, and how to be smart financially instead of just riding the waves and hoping for the best. I want to be in a place where my goal for 2016 can be to pay off our student loans and for that to feel attainable.  I want the money to stop slipping through my fingers. I want to grab hold.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Weight! Weight! Don't Tell Me!

Let me start by saying I have always had a pretty good body image and relationship with food. As a kid I had a fast metabolism and was a picky eater with food texture issues to boot (which I am now working off karmically with my oldest son, but that is a post for another day). So I was a skinny kid, but healthy. I could do what ever it was I needed to do physically. (Well, sort of. I was also uncoordinated, deeply challenged & troubled by spatial relationship, and asthmatic. But again, a post for another day.)


Annette Funicello, not me. But I believe we had a similar adolescent experience. Minus the  whole Mickey Mouse club thing.
Puberty came late and seemingly overnight- BOOM! Boobs!!! BOOM! Hips!!! This did not help with previously mentioned coordination issues, but my high school boyfriend was being high-fived in the hallway, like he was some kind of scout who had recognized potential in hereto unknown wunderkind.  Should I have felt trivialized and marginalized by this new found attention? Probably. But what the heck, I was 16 . I had been praying for boobs for years. It just felt like confirmation in a higher power.

20's were filled with gaining and  losing the same 10 pounds, but I wasn't overweight. As someone who was trying to make a career as an actor, I was hyper aware of "industry standard". And for all of my foibles as a twenty-something (Numerous posts for another day), I had a pretty good head on my shoulders about that whole thing. I had what I called a "fighting weight" that was at the low end of healthy for my height. And I would try to stay there. But I recognized it wasn't the weight my body wanted to be at. So I would do my best. I still had a rocking metabolism, but I joined an uber fancy gym I couldn't afford and went 4-5 times a week. (Eucalyptus steam room & whirlpool made utter hatred of all things exercise a little more bearable) I would watch what I ate (mostly) and go on every fad diet imaginable. And of course, I smoked. So much smoking.

A cigarette for breakfast never hurt anyone, right? (Sigh...) But I didn't obsess. And I didn't starve myself. And I didn't hate the way I looked.

30's came and I left NYC, stopped actively pursuing a career in acting and began a career in academia. And I moved to Missouri to teach. Oh, Midwest. How I love you. No pressure to eat chicken breast and steamed vegetables 24/7 or have a fancy gym membership, so I let myself gain that 10 lbs, keep it on and gained 5 more. IT WAS AWESOME. No seriously. GREAT.  I even quit smoking. Again, I was healthy, not overweight and while I jiggled a little more in some places, I still felt good.

And then I tried to get pregnant. And couldn't. And couldn't some more.  And really, really couldn't. And I really, really wanted to. So I went to a doctor and got some help. That help included various drugs and injections that caused me to gain weight. 

Again, not me. Lucille Ball, playing the role of Me.
Then I got pregnant. I was thrilled. Weight/schmeight, I was having a baby! But I was NOT one of those women who looks exactly the same as they always did, but with a cute little beach ball belly in front. Nope. I EXPLODED. Every part of my body got wide. My feet, my ankles, my thighs, all the way up to my hair.

Godzilla had NOTHING on preggo me
Baby came, baby weight came off. But the trying to get pregnant weight was still hanging on. And my rock star metabolism, like most rock stars, did not age gracefully. Still in Missouri, eating what I wanted, not working out. And now I was not so happy with how I felt and what I saw in the mirror.

Baby 2 came. We basically just thought about trying and I got pregnant. Crazy after the drama of Baby 1, but life is weird and wonderful, is it not? Got wide. Got wider. Got another beautiful baby boy. Baby weight came off for the most part, but carrying a person inside of you, for all the miraculous beauty, SERIOUSLY MESSES WITH YOUR BODY. (Wow will THAT be a post one day)

Please Don't Eat the Daisies TV show. Not me or my kids or my dog. But it feels about right.
Went back to work full-time with 2 little ones at home. Working out and eating right fall by the wayside. I am so tired, I eat what is easy. What makes me feel good. All sorts of food issues (food as reward, eating my feelings) I had NEVER worried about started to creep into my psyche. I hate it. I hate the way I feel physically. I hate that I hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I escaped that BS for over 30 years. And I have a pretty great life. I don't want that nonsense to get in my way.

So that's my 40 lbs. 
Tony Curtis is not starring in my dieting efforts

I won't be sad to see it go.