Archive | June, 2010

Remember When I Was Funny? Me Neither.

I can’t be any good to anyone.  I’m no good to my kids.  I’m no good to anyone!  I am just useless!

We were sitting there, watching Obsessed on A&E, mostly because they lured me in with the lady who scrubbed her anus after each bowel movement .. with a toothbrush .. to the point that she had three blood transfusions.

Alas, this week, it was only a man who thought he could be contaminated by evil and a woman who had an exercise addiction.

Truth is, we’re kind of bored with that level of OCD around here.  And as we watched the woman have a mental breakdown after being allowed “only” half an hour on the treadmill (“I would LOVE to have that obsession,” I confessed), my husband shook his head as her limbs shook wildly, beyond her control, her body struggling to release the anxiety in any way it could.

“I call bullshit,” he said.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that, um, I had this SAME BREAKDOWN just 24 hours earlier.

That while he slept, I crept into the living room and looked around our house, wondering what we’d end up selling to make ends meet.  That I started hating myself for letting my life insurance lapse because .. it’d just be so much easier on my family if ..

I’m fine, I’m fine.  It was a dark night.  Sunday nights are the hardest; not having a set schedule to work with the next day.  And I really do think that if I keep pushing and working and selling that we’ll be back to normal by the end of August.  Please God.  Maybe.  But now?  The in-between?  Is terrifying in a way that I can’t really articulate, and the fear-based anxiety often carries me off into this dark tide where I struggle to just tread water.

I find myself re-examining my behavior with anyone who was ever left in this position.  Was I insensitive about the layoff?  Did I brush it off by saying that “things happen for a reason”?  Because, yes, they do, but you know how much it SUCKS to hear it?  Like, a metric fuckton, in case you were wondering.  Did I call them to brag about how much money I’d recently spent or the huge chunk of change we’d blown in something stupid, while they were rationing off their jewelry to keep the lights on?  Was I that person?

I probably was.  And it wouldn’t surprise me if they hated me for it.

Samantha Jo wrote a beautiful post last week about ‘Getting By‘, and I know where she’s coming from.  Until someone has gone hand-to-mouth, until they’ve had to sell heirlooms, until they’ve turned off cable and A/C, it’s hard to know.  It’s hard to sympathize.  And sure, we all get stronger from it.

But my God, until then, let me just tread water.  Let me just keep my head above water.

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The Insanity of the Self-Made Woman

I will say this: I’ve done marvelously well with being able to let go of “want”s.  The new iPhone?  Cool, but I don’t NEED it. (Really, I don’t even want it until they’ve worked out all of the kinks.) New clothes?  Maybe down the road.  Right now, I don’t NEED it.  And these decisions, which were always so difficult prior to now, are second nature.  Not even really decisions.

Where I’m sucking is time management.

I try and put 4 hours a day into each endeavor that I’m doing, which is quickly narrowing down any time I have to be a mommy or a wife.  So I’m trying to fix that too.  It’s such a fine line.

And I get overwhelmed.  There’s a list a mile long of things I need to do to get a full-fledged business set-up; I finally just threw up my hands and begged our local women’s small business chapter to give me some personal coaching.  I hate asking for help.  It’s not something I’m good at.  And unfortunately, the first available appointment is, like, a month away.  No, not LIKE a month away, actually; a literal 30-days from now.

Things are moving, though, and while there’s nothing showing it in the bank, I got my first official client who wasn’t a friend or family member to sign with me today.  I cried.  Not because I was sad, but because I felt like I could tell Bryan, “Hey, guess what?  I can pay for our groceries that week!”

That’s how each client looks now.  I could name them “Utilities”, “Cable/internet”, “cell phone”.  Which is fine, cause I feel better checking those off.

And I’m literally working in four different arenas now.  Trying to coordinate all of those endeavors into one day, or even over a span of days, is exhausting and I always feel guilty when my head hits the pillow.  I should’ve done SOMETHING else, I think, running through a list of things to do tomorrow.  Lists, lists, and more lists.  Very little checking off.

But I’m hanging on.  Because, really, what other choice do I have?

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This is Where I Should Write Something.

Oh, but y’all, I’m tired to the Nth degree.  Which I’m not sure is how that’s actually written, but I sang it once in a performance piece from City of Angels, which is a really cute show that should be done here locally.  It’s not even about that horrid movie with Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage, although when Bryan and I met, I had hair just like Meg’s in that movie, and we often looked like we were dressed as those people.  Except I never wore a lab coat, since she was a doctor and I?  Am not.


This weekend was the sort of non-weekend weekend where it was gone before it came and Bryan suddenly exclaimed on Sunday night, “OH, CRAP, WE HAVE TO GO TO WORK AGAIN TOMORROW.”  Because, yes, it surprised us all.


Saturday was a Derby Day, and while I love them, they do a number on me.  Talking for four hours straight is a lot harder than it sounds, actually, and I am the only person I know who can injure myself walking on my flat feet.  Four hours on pressed concrete in chucks really REALLY does a number on an old person’s joints.  I wonder if I’d be better off learning to skate and doing that.  Or at least wearing Heeleys.


Good news, though: our Raging Rockets kicked some Big Easy tail!  It was such a nail biter, though, and I almost pulled my hair out from the stress.  Announcing for the Dixie Derby Girls makes me as panicked as I would be announcing for the Crimson Tide, fo sho.


Sunday was Father’s Day and I realized in a panic that I had thrown the Father’s Day cards away.  Yep, because I am that sort of awesome.  Bought ’em earlier in the week and got too cocky about being prepared and shit, and sure enough, tossed ’em cause I thought they were trash.

SO.  There’s that.


Spent all weekend cooking, too.  From homemade pizza to old-school monkey bread to chocolate chunk muffins to fruit pizza .. I felt like I lived in the kitchen.  Which sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m totally not.  I love my kitchen more than any room in my house, and I love cooking.


Father’s Day gifts consisted of things that the boys could do with Bryan.  I tried to explain this concept to Tony, who was dead set on a different gift:

Me: What present should we get Daddy?
Me: .. a bucket?
Me: .. I don’t think he really needs a buck..
Me: Tony, Daddy doesn’t NEED a ..

I still don’t know.

Regardless, Tony finally offered up that he thought Bryan should get a “People”, which equated to a Little People truck set that came with two “My Bill”s, which is what all of his figures are called.  Always “My Bill”.  Which makes me afraid that I listened to Carousel to often with him in the womb.  They are all named My Bill or People.


Tony and I spent the afternoon together yesterday, with his Ear-Nose-Throat appointment.  It’s THE MOST AMAZING THING, to have this little person suddenly able to hold entire conversations with you.  He was a God send through the appointment, which had more prodding and poking and discomfort than most 2.5 year-olds would tolerate.

As a result, he visited the toy drawer in the office and grabbed a plastic turtle and a plastic snake.

Which he promptly named My Bill and People, SWEAR TO GAWD.


Okay, I have a question.  Tony is starting (STARTING) to use the potty, but at daycare only.  He freaks THE HELL OUT if we try and do it here, and I think it’s because of the diaper barrier.  He wants to remove the diaper himself, but he doesn’t know how (or he can’t, one of the two), and if we try and step in we get a MELTDOWN OF MICHAEL BAY PROPORTIONS.  Does this mean we switch to .. underwear?  Is that where we are right now?  Cause I have to tell you, I almost have too much shit to do than worry about clean underwear for ANOTHER living being in this house.

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Two Real, No-Kidding Conversations I Had Yesterday.

Conversation 1:

Me: Hi, Amy?  This is Sarah Lena; I’m returning your call.  You left me a voicemail, but I really don’t know..

Amy: Hey!  Hi there!  This is Sarah Lena, right?  Yeah!  I’m casting a new show for MTV called Party Down South!

Me: Yeah, I heard that on the voicemail.  So .. what can I do for you?

Amy!: Well! We’d love to get an audition video from you!

Me: .. I’m sorry?  A video?  So .. what exactly ..

!Amy!: Tell me how you party!  Show me how you guys have fun in your hometown!!  Now .. where are you from?

Me: Huntsville, Alabama.

!!Amy!: Alabama!  I know nothing about Alabama!  So teach me! But don’t make it like history, cause history’s boring.

Me: Um, okay..

!!Amy!!: Yeah!  Just make a video for us!  Make sure you’re standing, so we can see how hot you are!  You’re totally hot, right?!  Right!  And don’t be backlit, cause that makes for a bad video.  Do you go mudding?!

Me: ..

!A!m!y!: Show us a video of you mudding!  You guys do that for fun, right?!  So do that, and .. I dunno, do you .. flash the cops for fun?  Cause that’s hysterical!  Just don’t be boring!  But be yourself!  And party!

Me: Thank you very much for your time, Amy.

!!A!m!y!!: It was great talking to you!

Conversation 2:

Me: Hi, Mr., this is Sarah Lena from Obsessively Clean!  You contacted me for an estimate and I was wondering when I could come over to do a walk-thru.

Mr: How long does it usually take?

Me: Oh, not long at all.  With your assistance, I can finish in half an hour.


Me: Well.. this is just a preliminary estimate, you know.

Mr: Oh.  So how do I assist on an estimate?

Me: You .. you walk around with me and point out any specifics you’d like me to pay attention to in your home.

Mr: What do you typically wear for the estimate?

Me: .. um .. well, don’t feel the need to don a suit on MY behalf or anything.

Mr: Do you wear the outfit for the estimate or just for the cleaning?

Me: The .. outfit.  Sorry?

Mr: The french maid outfit.

Me: Uh huh.

Mr: I’d rather you wear that for the estimate, too.  But don’t feel the need to finish in a half hour.

Me: .. I’d have to charge extra, sir.

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Maybe One Day I’ll Work for Oprah

I saw a news article today that Oprah handed out her staffers brand new iPads and $10k.

.. go ahead, let that sink in.

On top of their salaries, they get to pocket $10k.  Which, actually, probably deserves to be spelled out.  TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  That is some serious swagger for just showing up to work one day, dontcha think?

And, per my usual life of delusion, I immediately began plotting how I would spend mine.  You know, if I worked for Oprah.  I figured that if I worked for Oprah, I’d probably serve as her gopher or her media watchdog or maybe her fake twitter account.  Like, I’d be the one that you “@” to.  And my entire job would swirl around being light and breezy and carefree as she is .. which is to say, as she can afford to be by having more money than Jesus, so much so that she’s just handing over ten grand to EACH STAFFER.

Because I’m boring, I’d totally just pay off everything that $10K would pay off so that’d be less that we’d owe each month.  Told you I was boring.

But then I started thinking about working for Oprah.  Like, really, REALLY working for her.  And maybe, I conjectured, it’s not nearly as cool as it sounds.

I mean, sure.  From the outside, YOU WORK FOR HARPO, which is a pretty cool business card to hand over.  But on the inside .. don’t we all secretly think that Oprah may be a bit of a tyrant?  And look, I’m not judging, because being kind and loving is clearly not the right path either (says the unemployed).  But don’t you think that working for her may be slightly similar to working for Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada? I totally think it is.

Oprah has made a living, a successful and monetary career out of being the one that everyone follows.  Which means she has to try EVERYTHING in order to suggest the truly good stuff.  Well, she’s only human, so she can’t do ALL of the trying.  Surely we’re talking about an abundant “test group” who relentlessly try out different foods to decide which should be considered “Best Life” good or what cashmere is TRULY soft enough to be made into a sweater for her dogs or what book wasn’t crappy or sappy enough to be her Book of the Month.  And they’re constantly at the mercy of her whims, you know?  She’s all, “THIS WEEK..”

(yes, she talks in all CAPS, cause she’s OPRAH, DAMMIT!)(Sorry for interrupting, O. Continue.)


And there’s that lone voice who’s all, “.. but ma’am .. that’s just ice..”

And then she whips around and burns them to dust with her laser eyes.

As the dust is quickly whisked away by the test group of The Favorite Vacuum (DYSON, FTW!), the rest of the staff meekly step back and realize that, until something else comes along, frozen water it is.  For all of them.

And no matter how stupid they feel it is, they’ve just got to stick by her.  She’s the captain.  It’s her ship.  She built the sucker, they just have to keep it afloat by whatever means necessary.

So after that, I wonder if they got the notice of the $10K bonus and thought, “This shit STILL isn’t worth it.”

This concludes five minutes in Sarah’s Head.  You’re welcome.

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