Dodging a Bullet

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I think I’ve figured out where the little gremlins in my head are directing their mischief.  The little bastards have aimed at my credit card.

I’ve been VERY reluctant to use my card while this whole house buying process has been going on.  With my credit rating under the financial microscope, I’ve been given the usual warnings of “don’t buy anything unusual on credit,” to “Don’t buy ANYTHING for the house until you have the keys,” finishing with “Don’t transfer money between your checking and savings without letting us know.”

Yea, I get the reasons why.  The bank can pull your credit scores right up to the morning of the scheduled closing.  If those numbers shift, they can deny the mortgage until the minute you’re sitting at the table and signing documents.  They base your ability to pay for the metric shit-ton of money they’re lending you on how much you earn AND how much you already owe other banks like themselves.

I’ve heard the horror stories about people who’ve bought new cars (we’ll have a garage to fill) and new boats (lakefront property and all that) and that high-end furniture set (but the stuff in our apartment is OLD…) days before closing on the house, thus rending their credit incapable of supporting the bank’s formula on debt-ratios.  Closings didn’t happen in each of these cases.

I will not be yet another horror story!

Well, the gremlins are chomping at the bit to go out and spend like wild things.  It doesn’t help that I’ve been ‘researching’ for months, and have composed a huge list of things I’m gonna need to properly set up house in the house.  It also doesn’t help that my credit card has been in time out status for those months, and it REALLY doesn’t help that Mom’s IRA disbursement deposited the beginning of July and remains secure in my savings account, waiting to be spent on the house.

Finally, it doesn’t help that Amazon is running their Prime Day promotion today, and they’ve taken a third of the cost away from a new Kindle.

I need some sort of internet connected device in Chainmaille Central.  Research, Etsy listings, supply purchases, music, etc…all have to be accessible in that room, but don’t really need a fully functional computer.  Having a Kindle down there, paired with a bluetooth keyboard, is the perfect compromise.

I almost hit the ‘buy’ button today…

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As I hovered the mouse over the pretty orange button, I could hear the gremlins celebrating.  There were high-fives going on all across the landscape of my brain, and I think I heard the popping of a cork and glasses clinking together.  I was saved at the absolute last minute by a couple of things.

  1. I JUST got a replacement card in the mail and activated it on Saturday (they must have changed out the little chip in the card or something?) so before completing a purchase on Amazon I’d have to update my CC info, which is kinda a pain in the ass.
  2. A cool voice of reason chimed in.  How it was heard over the clamor, I’ll never know, but I’m very happy to have heard it say “Is saving fifty bucks worth jeopardizing the house, moron?”

I’ve never been happier to call myself a moron in my life 😀

I’m at 11 days to the closing!

 

Boxing a Pair of Ears

The SQO and I have been binge-watching the Walking Dead.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a post-apocalyptic story, where a zombie outbreak happened, and the dead almost entirely rule the world.  After the first season or so, he said “It’s like a soap opera…but with zombies.”

I have to agree with his assessment.  We’ve got the tragic triangle:  “I thought you were dead, so I started sleeping with your best buddy.”  We’ve got the child conceived RIIIIIGHT around the time the hubby came back.  We’ve got the moody teen-aged boy, and the outaw’ish brothers who just don’t quite ‘fit,’ but we’ll keep them around because they know their weapons.

And, of course, we’ve got the packs of reanimated dead humans roaming the cities, eating anybody they can get their hands on.

In later seasons, they introduce all these little colonies of live humans, who are (kinda) surviving.  Sometimes, they clash.

I find the show interesting, in that the real monsters in this show aren’t the zombies…but the various humans attempting to carve their own little piece of kingdom out of the wasteland that remains.

If you’ve got a strong stomach, I’d recommend a watch.  Seasons 1-7 are available on Netflix, season 8 can be found on Amazon (but not Prime, so you’ll have to pay for it), and season 9 is set to air in the fall.

So what’s this got to do with ears?

(otherwise known as…get to the freaking point, already??) 

There’s a character they introduced in season 7, the leader of a group called the Scavengers.  She’s got a long face, abbreviated eyebrows, and an extremely Vulcan haircut.  My first thought was:  slap a pair of pointy ears on her, and move her to a new set…

See…

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She even cocks one eyebrow just like Spock always did!

 

So, I amused myself today and browsed Amazon for Spock Ears.  It’s a good thing I’m currently in a ‘don’t buy ANYthing, because you’re gonna have to move it!’ mindset, else I’d have a couple new pairs of socks and a coffee cup.

 

Amazon wants to KILL me!

I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for a number of years.  As such, they occasionally send me “helpful shopping suggestions” based on whatever I’ve recently been looking at on their site.  Today…they sent me this for a recommendation:

Today

Now…I haven’t worn anything other than flats for 3+ years. The decision to go totally flat was based, at the time, on the increasing gulf between that 29 fiction I keep attempting to run regarding my age and the real, chronological amount of time I’ve spent converting perfectly delicious foodstuffs to various waste products.  It was also based on how my feet felt in anything that elevated my heels above my toes, and how difficult it was to maintain an upright posture when wearing such things.

Balance…I have not.

So why would Amazon have a pair of platform, stiletto-heeled, over the knee black patent leather boots as something I might actually buy???

They must want me dead…because I’d have to be in such a state to wear those things.

Granted, when I was young and foolish enough to go into one of the big shoe stores in the MALL (nope, never again!) I used to try on things like this.  Not because I liked them, or could envision me ever wearing them, but because I considered them to be too ugly to not try on, totter around in, and laugh at.

I once had a pair of little old ladies ask me ‘Where you goin’ in those shoes, Daaaaaahlin?’ when I was wobbling about in a pair of sparkly gold, patent-leather, platform/6 inch heel pumps.

I told them the Emergency Room was the most likely destination.

 

I just can’t understand why Amazon would wish me ill.  I did some of my Christmas shopping on their site…ordered more of my toothpaste, and got some stretchy tank tops to wear under everything else in a desperate bid to keep warm in the frozen tundra.  If I don’t have at least one box with the little Amazon Smilie on it…the house just doesn’t feel right.

Why this overt threat against my ankles, Amazon?  Are you THAT pissed that I bought some stuff from Etsy?

 

Continued Adventures in Goodwill

Once again, I took to the wilds of retail Waukesha in search of second-hand clothing.  I’m finally figuring out how to dress this new, less-insulated meat-suit I inhabit, and, as such, need additional layers to keep me semi-warm during the freeze.

And when I say Freeze, I mean it.  It’s barely begun to get cold up here in Wisconsin, yet I really, really feel it.  By January, I might just be cold enough to have my fingers stick to the keyboard.

So if a future post looks like:

fjapero;erropadrioa;erljahsd[paoseiur;

You’ll know what happened.

My search was certainly off-season.  They’re putting out all the long sleeve shirts, sweaters (especially the ugly Christmas ones) and outer-wear.  I was searching for camisoles, preferably spaghetti strappy ones, that are longer than most, and stretchy.

Sadly, I didn’t find any of those – I might have to go full retail…

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But, not one to let a second hand store selection go to waste – I found some new material for a super-spectacular blog post!

In the “Smoking Hot” category:

Velvet Smoking Jacket

 

 

I really – REALLY hated to pass this one up, because who doesn’t need a big, full-length, black velvet smoking jacket to casually lounge around casual lounges in?


Oh…wait…I don’t casually lounge in casual lounges…especially when there are casual people trying to act all casual…

So it stayed on the rack…

 

 

 

In the ‘Welcome to the Jungle” category:

Animal Print Turtleneck close up

 

I love animal print as much as the next person – but when they’ve stylized the animal print to incorporate actual  animal heads…sorry, I just had to say no…

 

 

Animal Print turtleneck

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Oh…and turtle-neck sweaters?  Double no – they just don’t FEEL right, but could be useful if I was … say … robbing a bank.

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Can you imagine the witness statement?

 

 

 

 

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The Runner up – In the “Offset” category:

Fluffy Vest Combo

 

 

Now, I was searching for warmth – and this WAS warm – but there were too many zippers involved.  This had an inner zipper on the right side, and the outer zipper on the left side.  I almost zipped myself into an alternate reality while trying it on.  I’ll stick to symmetrical garments in the future.

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As an aside…look at the freaking FOREARM in this totally gansta shot…This is what 2+ years of chainmailling will do for the definition in your arms.

 

 

 

 

 

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And the winner of the evening:
The ‘Game of Garments’ category:

Tetris Shirt Leaning

 

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I will forever and after regret not bringing the Twister Pants home with me and having them altered to fit…not so with this.  There was no entity on the face of this Earth that could have removed this shirt from my cart.

I now am the proud owner of this “I loved Tetris so much I must wear it on my back!” shirt.  Just having it in my closet elevates my ‘weird’ status…and to wear it out of the house?
Epic!

… 

I can’t wait to blind random passers-by with this ‘Louder than my iPod’ garment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t mean to offend…

Went to Woodman’s the tonight, in search of toilet paper.

 

Ooooooh – what an exciting adventure, no?

 

When I was heading out, I noticed a bin of product that tickled my sense of the absurd:

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All I could think was:  how incredibly sexist of this egg noodle company to sell extra broads…coupled with ‘I’ll bet this is the best seller in certain political circles and ‘old boy’ clubs.’

I really need to rein in my weirdness at times, don’t I?

 

 

Adventures in Goodwill

In search of the most eclectic wardrobe ever – the kids and I went to our local Goodwill last night.  I’ve been on the lookout for a spring/fall weight jacket, which is getting to be a rather pressing issue around here.  After all, it’s October in Wisconsin, and the early mornings are a bit … shall we say nippy? … to walk to work.  I’ve also been on the lookout for bedclothes, as what I’m currently wearing to sleep in is … well, let’s just say I’ve found my feet tangled in my sleep shorts in the morning on more than one occasion.

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These used to FIT!

 

 

With it getting cooler in the night as well as the morning, I’m gonna need more heavyweight jammy pants, too.  The sweat pants I was using are now doubling as a cover for my computer chair to protect it slightly against claws.

The fun part of a Goodwill adventure is always pawing through the racks….the entire store is an epic treasure hunt…especially the clothes.  Some stuff is outright adorable, and some is ‘I can’t believe someone actually WORE this out of the house!’-able.

Glassware is another place I love to search the racks…but really, the entire store, from apple figurines to zebra-print socks – is rummage-able.

 

So – yesterday.  Went to Goodwill.  And the winners are:

In the ‘Loud and Proud’ category:

Twister pants

Remember the game Twister?

In the “I can’t believe this exists” category:

Leather Pants

LEATHER pants in my size??

In the “I can’t believe I actually TRIED this on” category:

Rainbow Horror

WHAT am I doing????

In the “How did I live without these” category:

Halloween Socks

Orange and black striped Halloween socks!

And, yes, my goal was accomplished – I found 2 pair of jammy pants in patterns that fit my personal style, as well as this totally cool denim jacket.

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WORD.

 

Let’s Discuss Underwear!

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I’ve been in stretchy, ultra-comfy sports bras for a while – as I continue to shrink, more stretchy=longer wear life.  Unfortunately for the SQO, sports bras are neither sexy or conductive to activities of a bedroom nature…

He has to demand I FREE THE TATAS! instead of just doing it himself.

Sooooo – to better keep harmony in the bedroom and beyond, the DIL and I are planning an excursion into Madison this weekend for some **real** bra shopping…and I just happen to have the right blog post to get me in the right frame of mind as I go forth and procure a new undergarment for my boyfriend.

Bonus – I buy it ‘for him’ but get to wear it myself.  Doesn’t get any better than that 😀

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Anyone else out there count their favorite time of day the glorious moment in time when you are home for the night – shedding outdoor and/or work clothing to slide into comfy pajamas – reveling in the freedom that comes from taking the bra OFF?

Yea…I live for that moment…

In ShapeAs my body shape will never be described as svelte, thin, shapely, or firm, bras have always been a constant source of aggravation.  The band is either too tight, too small, too loose, too big, too stretchy, not stretchy enough or difficult to fasten.

 

 

Read More of original post…

Enjoy.

 

The Ring: The Sequel: Escape Artist

the-ring

I love my little circlet of white gold.  Housed on the middle finger of my right hand…a perfect (albeit obscure) reminder of my first Ex Husband.

It’s always been a bit big for that finger.  There’s some resistance in getting it over the knuckle, but not much.  It rolls around my finger effortlessly, yet is still secure enough to sleep, shower, do dishes, housework, etc…with it on.

Not anymore…

The kids and I went for our traditional laundry day at the ‘mat on Tuesday.  Nothing special about it – grabbed some takeout, shoved clothing in machines, added detergent & coins, spun some poi (the kids) & read the kindle (me).

When I pulled my stuff out of the washer, I heard the familiar scraping of metal in the bottom of the tub.  My first thought was:  Must have left a quarter in the pocket of one of my pants.

I was a bit shaken to find my ring.  It had slipped off without me being the wiser to its loss.

It escaped AGAIN when unloading the dryer – it wanted to hang with my socks and ended up at the bottom of my laundry bag.  I found it the next day (after being convinced I’d lost it on the walk home) when sorting the underthings.

JOY for second reunion, but – when am I gonna lose it for good???

I’ve been doing the ketosis thing for around 9 months, and this is the first serious snag I’ve found in losing some of the tonnage…my FINGERS are shrinking, too.

So what’s a girl to do????

Now…I didn’t want to have the ring resized…the ring snuggies out there look both damn uncomfortable and unsightly, and I can’t switch it to a different finger, as they’re ALL losing their pudge.

I went shopping.

Found a new 3mm band, in my size, and slipped that in front of the larger ring.

Disaster averted..yea!!!!

 

Mr. First Ex Me’s ring now has a partner in crime 😀

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Happy VD

You know what I mean…not an itchy rash in the nether region…it’s Valentine’s day.

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The biggest sales event of the year for the floral and greeting card industries.

Botanical bribery and mushy sentiment, anyone?

Personally – I think the real magic in any big holiday is the after-event sales, especially when candy is involved.  Granted, the really good stuff goes fast (if it shows up on sale at all) and all you’re left with by 4pm on the 15th of February is the cheap Palmer’s, Hershey’s and Cadbury, but still.  It’s chocolate, in heart-shaped chunks, at unbelievable ‘we gotta sell this shit’ prices.

This year, I’m 9 months sugar-free – so no more frenzied After VD chocolate shopping for me – although I might brave the crowds to get some discounted stuff for the SQO.

If that ain’t love, I don’t know what is ❤

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Still Obesessing over Cars…

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I may have mentioned I’m currently looking at buying a different automobile, and letting the kids take charge of the Mitz.

I also may have insinuated the general feeling of contempt I generate when face-to-face with aggressive used-car salesmen. Well – the other night I got a full reminder of just how close to the surface my irritation comes when faced with a pushy one.

Actually, I met with 2 such arrogant stuffed-shirts, but the first one decided early on I wasn’t worth his time, and actually SLAMMED the door of the car he was trying to get me into.  I could almost see the frustration swirling around him as he stormed across the pavement in a huff – ‘How DARE I openly display dislike of his select combustion-engine box-cabin???’

Imagine, if you will, a ramrod-stiff back, stuffed to the brim with righteous indignation; one arm and two fingers upraised and a contemptuous “two hundred a month!” snarled over one shoulder.  That’s my final impression of salesman #1.

Well, sugar, offering me a deal I don’t want, on a car I’m not interested in, with an aggressive tone of voice and body language that screams ‘f*ck you?’  Yea…I can see that tactic working WELL in your future…

Salesmen don’t like me, because I will not be bullied into buying more car than I require or can afford.  I also refuse to be blinded by bling, swayed with options, or seduced by all-leather interiors.  Granted, I’m not fond of salesmen of any kind as they are the public face of the consumerism I rail against – but I’m convinced there’s a special little hell-hole that pukes out the used-car guys…

I will fully admit that by my fourth step onto any given a used car lot I’ve developed a huge chip on my shoulder, a set price in my head, and attitude oozing from every pore.  It’s my natural reaction to walking into such a hostile environment.  I automatically prepare myself for the attack on my sensibility, my intelligence, and my wallet.

I’ll also admit my job plays a large part in my touchiness over automobile purchases, as financial myopia is a common side-effect of an accounting career.

At the second dealership, I’m offered a firm handshake and a smile.  I swiftly enter the opening salvo – what type of vehicle I’m looking for, how much I’m willing to spend.  I am absolutely, bluntly honest about my price (NO tact – NO sugar-coating   –   money is a brutal business) and that there will be -NO- financing entertained.

He suggests the two cars on the lot that are under my price point.  Both 4 door sedans.  Not interested.  I turn to go.  No sense wasting my time and his.

He then points out a small SUV, which I am interested in, but mentions a price well above my line in the sand.  Again, I tell him no.  He suggests putting money down to hold the vehicle, giving me 30 days to finalize the deal.  I repeat my no – I can’t raise an additional $2k in 30 days.  I reiterate my top price and absolute refusal to finance.

He offers cookies, coffee, a soda.  Allow him a chance to view the particulars on this car, get some information – all that damn contact stuff – and maybe we can make a deal.  I need to use the bathroom, so…OK.  I’ll go in.

**The crowd goes wild as the gladiators enter the arena!

Directly after getting the name, contact info, blah, blah blah – he goes for the numbers instead of meaningless small talk or a push for a test drive, which is an unusual tactic.  I have yet to be up close and personal with the vehicle he’s trying to interest me in.  I haven’t walked around it, touched it, heard it run or smelled the interior.   I LIVE the numbers game 40+ hours a week, though, and detest small talk…so I’m curious to see how he plays this one out.

**Here’s an interesting maneuver from the Champion…a quick retreat to keep the challenger off balance!

He bounces back and forth between his ‘manager’s’ office and his desk a few times during the numbers segment of negotiation.  Only once does he get within $500 of my line in the sand.  There are undertones of ‘finance’ in the air, soft insinuations, but nothing I can really call him out on.

**Our champion shows off his impressive footwork – trying to get inside the challenger’s defenses…

I don’t budge from my line…this is what I have available to spend  What he doesn’t appreciate (or realize) is my bluntness over money matters.  The price I quoted him IS what I have available – there’s no room for me to go up.

**The challenger continues to stand firm…alert and defensive – batting away the attacks…

After the third run to the manager’s desk, he returns with keys – insisting we go for the test drive.

**Ohhh – the champion strikes out with a devastating mental attack!

The psychology behind automobile sales is obvious in its simplicity – Get the client into the product.  Let them feel, touch, smell and drive the product.  Let them play with the product, fantasize about the product, imagine themselves with the product.  Allow the client to bond with the product.  Once the client has mentally sold themselves on the product, you just mop up with the appropriate paperwork, and hello! commission!

To that end, he spills out a story while we’re on the test drive about how the SUV is a one-owner trade in, and he knows the previous owner personally.  It was his trade, and the other owner was sorta reluctant to give up the vehicle they had owned and loved for almost a decade.

**Bad choice for our champion, choosing a mental spell constructed of freshly-extruded fecal material!

I have to admit – it was a nice vehicle.  The interior appeared to be clean and well-maintained; the engine was clean; the body nice and shiny, without dings or obvious touch ups in the finish.  Brakes, alignment, tires, climate controls, everything worked the way it was supposed to.  It test drove very well.

While on the test drive, I mention the kid’s dying car to our erstwhile salesman.  I’m figuring if the dealership gives us only a few hundred for scrap value, it might be enough to meet at an agreeable number.  He immediately goes into info-gathering mode, pumping them for as many details as he can on the potential trade-in.

**The challenger attacks – and is deflected!

The test drive over – the salesman once again takes the desk, writing down all the details of the kid’s car.  He gathers all his documents in one pile, fleeing once more toward the shadowy ‘manager’ hidden somewhere within in the building.

**Our champion charges  – war cry on the lips…

The offer he brings back?  To their credit, this offer finally had a number at the bottom, instead of only price plus TTL (which is easy enough to figure with the calculator in my iPod) on the other offers.  It’s still $500 above my line in the sand – even with the extra $200 offered on the kid’s vehicle in trade.

In short – it’s the exact same offer given before the test drive – worse, actually, as now they’ve factored in a trade in vehicle credit while still coming up with the same price as before.

**Oh no!  The champion has tripped on his own shoelaces!

I’m no longer curious about his sales tactics – now I’m irritated.  Maybe a little insulted.  I’m tired of repeating the amount I have available, I’m tired of his face, his posture, and the mental struggle to put his accent into understandable sentences.  I’m tired of the increasing pressure to agree to a price above my available funds.  I switch to a more aggressive mode – stabbing the dollar value at the top of the offer with a stiffened finger.  “This,” I tell him, “Is what I have.  This is what I will pay.”

gladiator-2000-51-g**The challenger goes for the killing blow…but the champion rolls  at the last minute!

 

He mutters “Well, now you’re getting emotional…”

**Ooooo – right onto his own weapon!

And just like that, I’ve had it.  He just got personal.  I’m done.  I stand, coldly thanking him for his time.  My outstretched hand is a challenge in itself.

gladiators copy**The challenger’s weapon is set on the champion’s chest.  ‘Yield!’ is the growled demand…

“But,” he insists, “I have two cars that will come in under your price…” He’s slightly panicked at this point – I can read it in his eyes.  I think he FINALLY realizes I’m serious about the amount I’m willing to spend on a car; realizes how badly he misread things; realizes how badly he bungled this potential transaction; and is now attempting a Hail Mary to salvage his sale.

judgement copy**They both look to the king – thumb horizontal – for final judgem…where’d that football come from???

Seriously?  I’ve been in the dealership for over an hour, and he wants to start fresh with a different vehicle?  One that I was dismissive about at the very beginning?   I give him a firm no – that I am done with shopping for this evening.

**OMG – what an incredible game – but it’s all over with a tie score!  No winner for the Superbowl this year!

I really, REALLY hate car shopping…