Long story short, my total bad ass husband’s (PTST) new job fell through after he had already quit his current job. So now no one in this house has a job. WE’RE BUMS!

Fortunately we have money in savings and the most supportive friends and family in the world. And when the chips are down and you need a good laugh, no one comes through like they do.

  1. My dad asked what the cardboard sign will say that we hold up in the Walmart parking lot begging for money. Since the current Walmart bum-in-residence is looking for random acts of kindness, we must raise the bar of cardboard signage above that. It will be a tough act to follow, but it’s always better to be raising the bar than crossing it. (Tennyson; Google it.)
  2. My parents have offered to let Ralphie live with them, stating they do not want him to be uncomfortable when Mike and I are living under a bridge with the other bums.
  3. At a recent birthday party, the host announced that all the leftovers would be wrapped up and sent home with us since we have no money for food. He then advised he would be searching our pockets when we left to make sure we hadn’t stolen from him because we’re bums.
  4. Two spoons returned to me from a cookout became our bum spoons to be used to eat our cans of bum food under the bridge. Note to self: day one of the bum life, get a can opener.
  5. One family member offered to let us borrow his cane so we could fake a limp and “go down and get on the disability” to avoid bumdom.
  6. A friend sent us a Thinking of You card holding a $25 IHOP gift card, with all but $3 already used.
  7. It was suggested that Mike start his own business—BFI. Bum Fights International will be like UFC, only with bums. Not sure how we will tell the difference, but whatever. Motto: Fight to the Death, or Until the Bell Rings at the Soup Kitchen.

When not busy being ridiculed, we have used this time to revisit our budget. (Read: I run the numbers and my total bad ass husband looks at the numbers.) We were in agreement that we will save a great deal of money if we increase the amount of our deductible on our insurance policy. Done. We agreed that we do not need a $200 per month clothing budget, especially since we both dress like bums regardless of our income—or lack thereof. Done. We agreed that I do not need to buy every plant and garden gnome that Lowe’s sells. Not so easily done, but done.

Then I mentioned perhaps we did not need the highest level of Comcast options available. Not gonna lie, I enjoy being one of the last three people on earth who still has a home phone because cell phones are of the devil. And I do not relish giving up my 19 episodes per week of Real Housewives of …. But paying the same amount for cable each month that I would pay to buy a Corolla is insane. Nonetheless, it appears that having every movie ever made—specifically of the Die Hard and Fletch franchises–available at the touch of a button is a necessity to Mike regardless of employment status. So my beloved Aloha Vet and Dog Whisperer are safe. For now.

Finally, I suggested we could stop feeding Ralphie the BlueBuffalo dog food at $50 for a 20-pound bag. And the end of the world was upon us. Apparently I am a fool to think that the DOG should not have more money spent on his food than the humans. You know, just because he’s a DOG.   Mike was taken aback at the idea of his little nugget being fed anything less than the absolute best, even if it costs more than gold. So we will be eating canned beans with our bum spoons under the bridge while Ralphie continues to live the life to which he has become accustomed at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Should have named him Golden Nugget…



Have you noticed that the people who proclaim they don’t drink are the ones who would benefit most from a nice strong cocktail?


I have a sprained ankle. Why? Because I am weak like my father.   My dad claims to be weak but obtained sharp shooter status in the Army, and I have seen him do a handstand and forward flip and stick the landing, so I believe he is lying. Still, I like to say I am weak like my father when I fail to meet up to my female relatives’ strengths and abilities.

To wit: one of my cousins runs marathons, one builds houses, one hunts deer—with a bow—and cans her kill. All have full-time jobs and kids, some of which have been raised to adulthood already. I like to sit on the sofa with a bag of chips and read a book. Paper, not e-books. E-readers hurt my eyes.

So no one was surprised to hear I sprained my ankle falling off the driveway. Specifically, carrying a tub of dirt while gardening because I have declared it Spring in the mountains even though it snowed yesterday, I misstepped and caught half my foot on the driveway and the other half in a lawn divot (I blame the dog for this). Fortunately I did not drop the tub of dirt onto my injured foot when the pain struck or I’m certain I would be in traction for weeks. As it was, I cursed, saw stars, and hobbled around the driveway in a circle like a chicken with its head and one leg cut off, not necessarily in that order.

Then I called on my total bad ass husband (PTST) to bring me a bag of ice so I didn’t have to drag my fat ass and muddy shoes through the house to get it. (My husband, although a total bad ass, is weak by default of being born a city-dweller. I have no such excuse.) He immediately requested I go to the ER to have my ankle checked, especially after I advised him it was the same ankle I had broken and sprained in the past. Apparently somewhere deep inside me I have a little mountain strength (read: stubbornness) because I absolutely refused, even though by this point the ankle was swollen and discolored and walking was a relative term for me.

My treatment of choice was to sit on the sofa with a bag of chips and a book and ice on my foot and whine about it. This worked out great–at least for me, husband not so much—for one day. Then I realized that we have a vacation scheduled in six weeks. And no one wants to be on vacation with a leg cast or crutches, so off to the ER we went to get confirmation that the ankle was not broken and no cast was required.

Here’s a good medical advancement in the last twenty years: no more restrictions for a sprained ankle. Just keep it elevated and iced as much as possible and go about your business. And would you like to know why there are no restrictions? Because it hurts like a motherfucker to put weight on a sprained ankle.

So now I am diagnosed and hobbled, smack dab in the middle of mulching season. My guess is that Jesus did this on purpose because He saw me try to resume my running routine earlier in the week and knew that my fat, weak ass would end up in a ditch or the cardiac care unit if something wasn’t done to stop me.   So I am trying really hard not to make Jesus cry by overdoing while I recover, but it is not easy. Side note: it is a mystery to me how I can be both weak and an overdoer.

Each Walmart trip begins and ends with flowers crying out to me to take them home and plant them, along with replacement tomato and pepper plants for my seedlings that I killed. Yes, I have learned that gardening is also an area in which I am weak. The Topsy Turvy planter sits empty in the yard, yelling for me to hang the growing bags filled with strawberries. The deer buffet wants some tasty pansies added for color and flavor. So much fun gardening to be done; I can’t wait to put away this computer and get out there.

Wait a minute… What is that shooting pain in my leg? Oh yeah, maybe I’ll just sit here and eat some more chips. Where my reading glasses???

TATTOOS, part twos

Now that I’ve provided a warning and examples of how tattoos in uncoverable areas might not be the best idea, I’d like to spend some time focusing on tips ensuring tattoo success.

Tip 1: Big picture. When choosing a tattoo, pick only things that you know will be important to you for the rest of your long long long long life. For example: after going to the beach and seeing all the surfers with dolphin tattoos back in the day, I was certain a dolphin was the tattoo for me. Fast forward to the present day when I have decided that I am a land mammal who prefers to leave sea faring to pirates and native species. If I were to get a tattoo that is applicable to what I love most of all about the sea today, it would be narwhals because of the kick-ass Sprint commercial. See where I’m going with this? Big picture, people, big picture. Which leads us to Tip 2.

Tip 2: Quality. When choosing a tattoo artist, ensure the quality of the art and artist before the tattooing begins. Remember: in tattoos, as in life, you get what you pay for. If you are committing to something for the rest of your life, or at least until you parlay your rap career into film, make sure it is the best your money can buy. No one wants people asking Why is the dolphin crying? about her tattoo.

dolphin tattoo

This is a good place to mention my total bad ass husband (PTST); he was the one who pointed out the dolphin was crying because he was sad he is a bad tattoo.

Tip 3 (This one may be start a bit of a firestorm): Luxury v necessity. Tattoos are a luxury, not a necessity. Read: all your bills should be paid and your children fed and college-fund begunned before money is spent on a tattoo. If you need new tires, buy tires instead of a tattoo. The tires will take you to your job where you will make your money so you can pay your bills and then get a tattoo. See how that works? Of course not because everyone stopped reading in disgust as soon as I said tattoos are a luxury. But it made me feel better to yell it. (Refer to Cell Phone blog for reference.)

Tip 4: Looking good. It doesn’t matter how awesome your new tattoo is if the rest of you is all banged up. Before tattooing, consider the following: get a haircut–and a root touchup if you are a lady–or at least wash your hair, take a bath, put on clothes that are not loungewear, and for the love of Pete go to the dentist. (I could go on for days here about my perceived, albeit false, relationship between tattoos and poor dental hygiene but cannot bear to make this a three-parter.) We all know at the end of the day the whole goal of body adornment is to get laid; I’m not that old. Okay, I am that old, but body adornment to get some has been going on for centuries, just like me. So before spending your money on tattooing, start with the basics.

Tip 5: Creativity. If you’re going to commit, go big. Although tattoos are relatively mainstream these days, it’s still super cool to have one, even if no one says cool anymore. So don’t shortchange yourself; make your self-expression notable. If possible, incorporate flames. Or perhaps a narwhal.

Tip 6: Reality. Tattoos aren’t magic; even the best tattoo is still only a tattoo. If you are a D-bag and think getting a tattoo will make you more appealing (read: get you laid), you are mistaken. A tattoo cannot wash the stench of douchbaggery off you; so continue to spend your money on microbrews and North Face jackets instead. On the flip side, if you are a professional athlete or musician, you will be rolling in poon or penis, or both, regardless.   Your tattoos will be merely icing on the cake. It’s good to be you.

Once all these words have been digested and a decision has been made to get a kick-ass tattoo that will be forever meaningful on a discrete spot on your body, please make one final consideration. Someday, when you are old, it is very likely someone you have never met will be washing your ass. They will not care to see a The party starts here with an arrow pointing to your penis tattoo. Just sayin.

My words may be harsh, but if they save one person from a snack food mascot face tattoo or a breakfast food spelled out on some knuckles, it has been worth it.


Next week:  It’s Spring!


This is for all the young people out there…

Tattoos are awesome; I have always wanted one. Not enough to actually get one, but I think my commitment phobia might have something to do with that. Plus my deep-seated belief that it’s best not to draw any additional attention to this malformed body of mine. So I live vicariously through other people’s tattoos.   I like to see what and where uncommitmentphobes decide to tattoo, and lately I’ve noticed a few troubling trends.

Let me start on a positive note. We are fortunate to live in a time and a country where you can literally become anything you want. Trust me; if I can become a network engineer, anything is possible. The world is your oyster. If you can dream it, you can be it. (Insert all other hokey life-affirming quotes here.) You are limited only by the obstacles you place before yourself, and perhaps a bad tattoo choice.  Because no one wants a surgeon with PANCAKES tattooed across his knuckles.


I remember when tattoos started becoming popular outside the military and the prison system in the 80s. I still recall my college buddy gathering us all around the pub table to proudly display his new ink, a tattoo of the Cheetos Chester Cheetah on his bicep, while we all appropriately ooh-ed and ahh-ed at his coolness. Then I thought: This is really cool now, but someday he will be a 50-year-old man with a snack food mascot on his arm. Not cool.

Soon all the young men were getting tribal tattoos and the young girls were getting tramp stamps.   Then came the Chinese character tattoo phase, followed by the sleeve tattoo phase. Somewhere in there was the rosary tattoo phase but I can’t remember when.  Which brings us to today’s trend of tattooing outside areas that can be easily covered, specifically the face, neck and hands. I have two words for this trend: Perry Sanchez. (See also DIRECTV’s poor decision making Rob Lowe commercial. Meathead Rob Lowe is way better, but the message is clear.)

Pitbulls and Parolees is a fantastic show. Who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog(s)? So I enjoy watching it instead of doing the housework that needs to be done. One day during said activity, my total bad ass husband (PTST) walked into the room while Perry Sanchez was in a scene and asked ‘’Why does he have a racing stripe on his chin?” As I am often wont to do, I told my husband he was wrong; they are not racing stripes, but center of the road double line markers.

I’m no psychic, but I’m pretty sure that is not the reaction Perry was going for. I am quite confident there is a deep, meaningful reason Mr. Sanchez chose this method of expression, although I am unable to find it on Google. I’m willing to place a shiny quarter on betting the reason was not so bored, bickering middle-aged couples would ponder what inspired him to put traffic guides on his face.

Ahh, I hear the voices of the young screaming, this is the point. We refuse to conform. We don’t care what middle-aged people think. We will never be our parents. And I laugh so hard at the innocence and naivety that I can barely finish writing this sentence, along with all the other older people reading this who know, despite what Mick Jagger says, time is not on your side. Proof to point: Snoop Dogg is a youth football coach; the Toxic Twins are sober; ditto Keith Richards (allegedly); Ice Cube is a family-friendly film star; Duff McKagan founded a weath management firm; Suge Knight—the only one still living the thug life, so to speak—collapsed in court because he hadn’t been able to successfully manage his diabetes while in jail; 50 Cent—Get Rich or Die Tryin’—got rich and then spent all his money on tattoo removal so he could get richer being in more mainstream movies; Justin Bieber ten years from now–enough said.

Unless you Kurt Cobain or Heath Ledger yourself, you will grow up, you will age, you will wonder what you were thinking when you got that snack food mascot tattoo. Trust me on this.  (Please take note that both Cobain and Ledger were smart enough to avoid a face or knuckle tattoo.)

Continued next week…