May 28, 2010

For those in the "They All Died in the Crash" camp . . .


For those of you who think the airplane-on-the-beach-with-no-people footage at the end of the Lost finale held some kind of MEANING--meaning that is weightier than the WORDS the producers used to explain the ending to you, through Christian Shephard--I suggest you read this article:

You are not alone.  That footage confused many people who also didn't listen carefully (ahem, Troubletron).  However, the footage was just a way to ease you out of the finale and into the following nightly news.  Whatever that means.

May 26, 2010

Moments of the Tender Variety

Last Saturday, as I sat watching Troubletron and his friends play soccer in the rain (stupid for a group of grown men), I turned on one of the playlists on my iPod and stared at drops of rain hitting puddles of mud-water.  I glanced up occasionally to make sure Troubletron hadn't slipped and broken his arm, rendering himself unable to work, and sealing our fate of poverty.  He says I worry too much.

As I sat, I began to notice the intoxicating scent of the grass and the freshness of the falling rain.  That's right.  I had a nature moment.  They don't happen very often for me, as I am clearly indoorsy, but it happened.  That must be what Jess feels when she goes hiking and that's why she does it everyday.  So, while I was having this moment of un-worry-ridden-peace, the words from the song playing on my iPod, a song I'd heard 100 times before, suddenly rang out loudly.

"It may be years until the day, my dreams will match up with my pay." (From Mushaboom by Feist)

And then, as if I hadn't had enough "moments" for the day, I had a high school music moment.  You know, the kind you had in high school when you were so misunderstood by the world, and then you were listening to whatever kind of music you like to listen to while laying on your bed staring at the ceiling--and then whatever the lyrics of the song you were listening to were, they really made you feel like that song was written about YOU, and then you didn't feel quite so misunderstood anymore?

That feeling of true understanding poured over me as the song progressed, describing how the singer learned to appreciate all the little things in her life, while working toward a bigger, better goal.

If you are puking from the tenderness right now, don't worry.  I spent the whole ride home from soccer like usual: feeling sorry for myself and complaining about my chronic back pain.

I keep thinking about my "moments" though.  And, I now worry that I'm spending too much time worrying and not enough time just enjoying my life as it now exists.

May 24, 2010

LOST Last Thoughts

Like about 75% of the United States, Troubletron and I watched the LOST series finale last night.

If you haven't seen the finale, and may at some point watch the series, stop reading now.

We felt the event was important enough to merit begging my uncle's family to let us come over and use their television access to watch the much-anticipated finale real-time, so we wouldn't have to quarantine ourselves from internet usage until we could watch it on Hulu a day late (the way we watch most TV that we get to watch).  We watched what ended up being about 50 minutes of show and an hour and 40 minutes of commercials, cuddling in the basement with two of my cousins and my friend Idiocorb.

As the episode reached its ending, and all the characters (well, not ALL . . . many of the characters) we have grown to love (hate) gathered in a death church to "move on," sharing hugs and nostalgic, meaningful looks, we all nearly barfed and choked on the sugary tenderness of the scene.  But, when we all got up to discuss, it was quite evident that there were strikingly different interpretations of what we each thought happened.

After talking to those people, I am pretty sure that I was the ONLY PERSON PAYING ATTENTION.  But, I want to hear what you all thought.   Here are the two "possibilities," as put forth by our viewing group:

A) All those people died in the plane crash of Oceanic 815.  They were dead the entire time on the island.  All the stuff that happened on the island was either some kind of test or some form of intermediate zone between life and final resting place.  And, finally, the people in the church get to move on to some form of heaven.  Other people on the island who were not in the plane crash (Ben Linus, the "others," Richard, Jacob, Smokey, Miles, Lapedis, Daniel Farraday, etc) were also dead the whole time.


B)  All of the stuff on the island happened for real, while people were alive.  They all (eventually, individually, and in their own ways) died, and collectively "created" the reality in Los Angeles (that we have thought throughout all of season 6 was a "sideways" reality) so they could find each other before "moving on" to some kind of afterlife.  They did this because their time on the island, and the relationships formed because of the time on the island, was the most significant of their lives.

I will set up a poll for basic voting, but I'd also like to hear comments.  Did you "like" the finale?  Was one of these alternatives they way YOU understood the finale?  Did you have a different understanding of what took place?

May 21, 2010

Einstein's Bagels: DEAD TO ME

As I told you yesterday, I use coupons.  I am a crazy coupon hoarder.  And, usually, I will not eat somewhere or buy something out of the ordinary without having a coupon--a good coupon.

About every month, Einstein Bros Bagels mails us a reusable coupon for "Free Bagel Fridays"--for months, I have been able to pop into my local Einstein's, order a bagel, and leave without paying a single penny . . . and  get to reuse the coupon for 3-4 weeks.  It's been magical.

You can imagine my dismay when the coupon this month was changed to "BUY ONE get one free Bagel Fridays."  I threw the coupon on the bottom of a large pile of junk mail, mourned the loss of my free bagel run, and went about my month.  I picked it up a few days ago and thought maybe I was being too harsh.  Two bagels for 99 cents (the price of bagels at Einstein's) is still a really good deal.  Plus, I can feed myself and Troubletron for less than a dollar.  My heart softened.

This morning, I headed into Einstein's and ordered our bagels.  Two Blueberry, toasted, one with butter (Troubletron), one with cream cheese (me).

I've always gotten cream cheese on my free bagel.  For free. For months.

I got up to the register to pay.  I handed the cashier my coupon, told her what I'd ordered, and began digging in my purse for just over a dollar in change.

"$4.24," she said.

I looked up at the little screen on the back of the cash register where your ordered items appear, and said, "uh, I think you charged me for someone else's stuff."

"Nope.  All yours," she responded.

"No," I said.  "I should only be paying for ONE bagel.  I gave you the coupon for the free one.

"Yes, I know," she replied.  $4.24"

Now, blog readers, I don't really like to make a scene in a store (like someone I know ... Mom ...), but I also don't like to be taken advantage of.  And, I don't like to pay $4.24 for anything that is supposed to be 99 cents.  I'm going to show you my receipt now, which I think will highlight my frustration and explain a little better why I was so upset.

(The drink was not on the screen when I was arguing with the cashier).

I said, "look.  I don't know what a 'DC refill' is, but I didn't order it.  I'm not a senior, I'm 30.  I ordered two bagels, not three.  I see that you gave me two different coupons.  I only gave you one."

Her only response for those extra items were "those are from before."

"Before what?"

"From BEFORE."

"Before f-ing WHAT?!"

I was getting frustrated.  I tried to calm down.

"Ok.  I don't understand why all that extra stuff is on my receipt, but I'm going to try to accept that it's ok since most of it cancels out anyway.  But . . . I didn't order two "schmear" bagels.  I ordered two bagels, one with cream cheese, one with butter," I said in what was clearly a failed attempt to stay calm.

The cashier wasn't calm either.  She looked scared.  "Yes, two schmear bagels."

"I have NEVER been charged for the cream cheese on my free bagel before.  But, I'm going to assume you've changed your policy on that.  That's fine.  If you're charging for cream cheese on the free bagel, now, I will accept that and know better in the future.  BUT, I need you to look at the menu board where it says that cream cheese and butter are each $.60 per bagel.  Now explain to me why I am being charged $2.49 per bagel, and not $1.59 per bagel."

She went to get the manager.

The manager just said, "That's how we do it now."

"So, now you charge more than the menu says?  That's illegal," I stated.

At this point, there were 8-9 people behind me in line, rolling their eyes and acting annoyed.

"Fine!"  I exclaimed.  "Fine.  Just charge me 4 times the amount I should be paying for this, I will report you to the Better Business Bureau, and we can all get on with our days."  She took my credit card, pushed some buttons, scanned it, and handed me a receipt.

I walked out the door, looking to make sure my receipt reflected all the RIDICULOUSNESS of our conversation  . . . and I noticed the drink.  She ADDED a soda at the end of our conversation, when I gave her my card.

"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?" I screamed as I stormed back into the store.

"Ma'am" the manager began walking toward me.  "I thought we had settled this issue."

"OH, WE HAD, UNTIL YOUR CASHIER ADDED A DRINK ONTO MY RECEIPT."  I have not been this mad in a LONG time.

The manager handed me a drink cup.  She HANDED ME A DRINK CUP.

It took all the restraint in my person not to fill up that soda and fling it in her face.

I walked out.  Having paid $5.63 for a bill that should have come to $1.20, with tax.  But, they haven't heard the last from me.  I do not mess around with injustice.

Today on our private blog: I've met someone special!

May 20, 2010

Debt Counseling

Yesterday, I called a Debt Counselor.

I thought it was time.  Troubletron and I have done everything we can think of to cut costs.  We live in a house with no cable or even basic channel access, like it's the 1800's.  We shop with coupons.  I've even started only washing my hair every OTHER day, to save money on shampoo--cheap, grocery store brand shampoo.


But, with only one income, and all my law school debt, plus regular bills, we just aren't making it.

We will be moving in with family members soon, but that's still not going to be enough to set us right.  So, I sucked up my pride and called one of those non-profit credit/debt counseling services, hoping they'd have some magical (or at least, insightful) solutions for me.  After an hour of telling the counselor all our sources of income, and all our required bills, here is what she said (in purple) (my thoughts in italics in green):

"Well, it really sounds like you are in a predicament.  It's important to remember that the economy is bad right now, so you're not alone.  Lots of people don't know this, but there are really only two ways to fix this kind of situation: cut expenditures or raise your income, or both. (um, what people don't know that?)  Here's our advice.

First we suggest you cut costs by starting to use coupons.  (check)  The best place to start doing this is by going to already hoard coupons like they are crack, so move on) You'll really be surprised how much money you can save with just a few coupons.  (Right, 45 cents.  Ok, I got it.)

Second, we suggest you cut costs by looking at your budget and cutting out all inessential activities. (wait, this one is SECOND? So, for you, that could mean thinking of free activities to do (is that what it means for me?  Or, is that what it means for everyone?)You said you spend extra on groceries when your kids are with you.  Maybe you could try to cut back here. (don't feed kids.  Got it.)

 Third, you may want to move somewhere less expensive (Is she not listening?).

Fourth, you may want to consider getting a job.  (Ok, I'm going to punch you.  What do you think I do all day?That's really going to be the best way to increase your income.  Are you registered with any employment agencies? (SixThat might be a good place to start.  (Right.  I  STARTED there.  A year ago.  With six.)

 Next, you should consider bankruptcy.  (WHAT?It won't discharge your student loans, but it will really help you get a fresh start.  (um, how can I get a "fresh start" when my credit is ruined from a bankruptcy and I still have huge law school loans to pay off?  That's not a fresh start!) (ALSO, you aren't a lawyer.  You can't give this kind of legal advice).  I know you're a lawyer, but you should consult a lawyer.  (It's like you can't hear yourself talking).  Bankruptcy is really a good option for a lot of people.

She went on and on with more "options," half of which are common sense fixes we have already done, and the other half were ludicrous.  How is BANKRUPTCY the option you present to a woman who has NEVER MISSED EVEN A SINGLE PAYMENT on any bill in her entire life?

This is what passes for sound financial advice?  She just reads the same script to every caller!  Why did we go through the charade of examining my actual finances!?  Those were cell phone minutes I'll never get back.

I'm thinking of writing a strongly worded letter.  Or email.  Email would be cheaper.

I'd love to hear your money-saving tips.  Unless you are stupid like my debt counselor.

For those of you invited, there are new blog entries on our private blog!

May 18, 2010

Advertising Genius?

From my local Giant grocery store Sunday circular:

It's been a while since I had one, but Lean Cuisine Entrees look way better than I remember.

May 14, 2010

My Advice To You

If you read my blog, and you're not a psycho-pants, I suggest you send me an email at so that you can find out how we have chosen to weather the storm.

May 13, 2010

Post-homocide Body Disposal Fail?

Or, in case you can't see what I see:
Should I have called the police?