Neighbor From Hell

I’m actually posting in hopes of getting a little advice.

Our neighbor sucks. When I say we have the neighbor from hell, it’s generally an understatement. It appears that after a year of relative peace, captain crazy pants is at it again. This time, he called in a team of landscapers armed with bobcats to remove our deer fencing. The deer fencing is up in a wooded area to keep the chickens in our backyard.

This isn’t the first time he has removed poultry fencing, or even wooden fencing. The last time, the cops came out and said they couldn’t do anything about it! We couldn’t even get the fencing back. They said it was a civil matter because he’s claiming he owns our backyard, so it’s a land dispute.

Apparently the fact that he vandalized the land that was clearly part of our backyard for years and years and years before he ever moved in and that he stole the fencing that he tore down doesn’t matter. Theft? Vandalism? Not police matters I guess.

For the record, we are in Massachusetts. The Cops here are NOT great. They pretty much collect a paycheck and pull over speeders. Don’t count on them if you’re being robbed, being raped, or are in a car accident. I say that because I personally know people that have been in all 3 situations and had NO response from the cops. A friend’s house was broken into and she called while the people were IN HER HOUSE and the cops didn’t come out for 2 days. What is the point of that!??! But if you go 5 miles over the speed limit? Ticket time!

Anyway, what on Earth do you do in this situation? The neighbor is literally stealing our fencing as part of an attempt to usurp part of our back yard. The cops won’t help us. What do we do? We can’t keep buying fencing!

Advertisements

The Bachelorette Recap: Episode 3 – Kupah Goes Krazy

benz

So I just got around to watching Monday’s episode of The Bachelorette and I finally have a favorite! Ben Z! My goodness, keep him around! 

So, the episode started off with a group date. I can’t remember who all was on it besides Kupah and Ben Z. Of course, Ben, being the biggest guy there, dominated the date because it was a boxing match. Gotta say – he’s not too hard on the eyes. Would I ever want to marry a personal trainer? Of course not. BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t hate looking at one that’s cute and charming (for now) on the bachelorette, right? I guess I’m just a stereotypical woman – biggest, strongest, most manly-man gets my vote for that one. Is it getting hot in here? Phew! I guess Kaitlyn shares my opinion because she gave him the group date rose.

Next up was the one-on-one date. Kaitlyn took out Clint. If you’re not familiar – he’s the one that did the awkward drawing of Chris Harrison on a Triceratops. They did a pretty awkward underwater shoot and I was underwhelmed with Clint in general. He lacks personality. He’s a bit on the short side and there seemed to be zero chemistry. Apparently Kaitlyn didn’t think so, because she gave him a rose. What can I say? I’m just not into blonde guys.

After the ridiculously boring date with Clint, Kaitlyn met up with comedienne Amy Schumer to set up a group date. The group date included “the healer”, Ian, cupcake, JJ and some random other guys. Amy Schumer apparently hates JJ as much as I do, telling him that he was lacking “charisma, humility and a sense of humor.” Surprisingly, I think cupcake did the best after essentially making fun of himself and unbuttoning his shirt. After the comedy club, there was an awkward chat about combination locks with Tony, JJ talking about his daughter and a steamy kiss with Joe. JJ got the group date rose. I needed a drink.

For the cocktail party, JJ pulled a dick move and snatched Kaitlyn away before the 3 guys that didn’t get a date had a chance to talk to her. Tony sort of took a trip to crazy town after that and all the guys laughed at him. He also referred to her as Britt, which has got to be some negative points for him.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the worst or most awkward thing to happen during the cocktail party. Kupah is apparently ape-shit crazy. On camera, he suggested he was there as basically the token black guy. No offense to Ian or the other black guy that was all in for Britt and gets like zero camera time so I don’t know his name. Kaitlyn tried to send Kupah home several times and he kept arguing with her. That’s pretty much NEVER going to work. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then got in an argument with a producer and the show ended with Kaitlyn storming out of the mansion to throw all 75 pounds of herself into the middle of the situation. 

Let me point out that she missed a great opportunity to run to Ben Z to save her. *swoon*

Unrealistic Expectations

People seem to have forgotten the saying, “you get what you pay for”.

In “the real world”, I’m a freelance writer. Depending on what platform I’m working on, I get paid between $4 and $16 for a 400-word article. That’s a pretty huge difference in pay. The $4 article translates into roughly $16/hour. The $16 article translates into $64/hour.

Obviously the person paying me $16 for the article is going to get something better researched and better edited than the person paying me $4.

This is where the phrase, “You get what you pay for” comes into play. Recently, buyers of the $4 articles have been expecting a lot more than $4 worth of work. They want me to spend hours on end using their websites to write-up a review or they’re expecting an article that’s 100% unique, with content that “can’t be found anywhere else on the web”. On top of that, they expect to do zero editing.

They aren’t willing to pay more for the added effort, but are expecting me to turn out work like I would for a higher paying client.

That’s simply not going to happen. I realize that small businesses can’t afford to pay more for content. That’s fine. It’s part of the reason I offer a lower-cost service. However, if you’re only paying $4 for a 400-word article, you should lower your expectations. For starters, be willing to do a read-through and fix small errors yourself. Understand that if your article is about some obscure topic, you’re likely going to get very general information. I’m not going to spend 2 hours researching some small aboriginal tribe in Africa and writing up an article about their courtship customs for $4.

Hell, I wouldn’t even do that for $16.
So please, those of you that buy content online need to think about the people writing it. I’m a stay-at-home mom. I write to make money to help make ends meet. I won’t work for free or anywhere near it. Sure, writing helps me stay home with my kids instead of sending them to daycare, but there are other ways I can make money at home too. I do this because it fits my lifestyle the best. However, if I’m going to be spending every waking moment in front of the computer and not with my kids, it no longer works for me and I’m going to leave the world of freelance writing. If everyone in my position does the same thing, you’ll be faced with fewer writers and inevitably higher costs.

So the moral of the story is, be kind with your words. Understand the value of a freelance writer, and always keep your expectations realistic. If you’re only budgeting $4 for your content, don’t expect $50 worth of work. You need to make a profit, but so does the mom behind the computer screen.

5 Ways to Save on Your Water Bill

We just got our quarterly water bill in the mail, and the number had me gasping for air. The town has raised the water rate and added in a lovely capital improvements charge to the tune of about $75 per quarter. Fantastic!

Anyway, seeing the sky-high water bill has me looking for ways to save on my water bill. We already do a pretty good job of using very little water for our family of 5, but I know there’s more ways can cut costs until we are able to move to a more reasonably priced town where the officials realize that water is a basic need and don’t charge an arm, a leg and your first born child for access to it.

Seriously. No water = no life. Why are they charging so damn much?!

Anyway, here are 5 ways to reduce your water bill:

1.) Install water-saving everything. Shower heads, dishwashers, washing machines. Whatever you can get your hands on. Install water-saving devices and you’ll see a drop in your next water bill. Unfortunately, water efficiency isn’t free, so you’ll have an initial investment. This is really only going to save you money after 2 to 4 years when the appliances have paid for themselves in water savings.

2.) Install a rain barrel. I can’t say this enough – if you don’t already have a rain barrel at home, GET ONE. Do it now. You can use the water collected from your roof (which is FREE) to water your garden, wash outdoor items, water chickens or other livestock and more. Make sure you have a mesh top on it so the mosquitos can’t get in and cover it with something solid on high-pollen days. Keep in mind that some towns have a ban on rain barrels because they think the water that falls from the sky is theirs. If you happen to use a rain barrel that doesn’t look like a rain barrel, then hide it with a bush and keep it in your back yard, that’s your prerogative, right?
3.) If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down. This is GROSS, but an easy way to save water, especially if you have little ones that barely pee and then flush the toilet. By using the toilet two or three times before flushing, you’ll save gallons of water every day. By the end of the quarter, you might even shave off 1,000 gallons, which might not sound like much, but may be enough to take your bill down to a less painful level.

4.) Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge or use your fridge water option. Think about what you do when you get a glass of water from the sink. You probably run the tap a while to get it cold, right? If you get water from a pitcher in the fridge or from your fridge’s water dispenser, it’ll already be cold and ready to drink. You’ll get colder water than you would from the tap, plus you’ll save quite a bit of water by not running the tap unnecessarily.

5.) Put a brick in the back of your toilet. If you have a low flow toilet, you can further reduce the damage per flush by putting a brick in the tank. The brick will reduce the amount of water stored in your tank, reducing use with every flush. Combine this with the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” method and you’ll minimize your toilet tax.

Finally, if these methods aren’t good enough, do what we’re trying to do – sell your house and move to a property with a well. You’ll pump you own water and stop cringing every time your kids wash their hands or flush the toilet.

The Bachelorette Kaitlyn and Britt: Night 2 Recap

roses

Night 2 started off with a bang. Chris Harrison got right to work and gave Britt the boot. She was a little shocked – probably not used to a group of 25 men telling her she’s not good enough. She was really banking on her looks to get her through that one.

Moving on, Kaitlyn spent some one on one time with the guys. The fellow from Warwick that looks like a warewolf told her that he picked Britt. So smooth – no wonder he’s still single! She made out with the Dentist (ewww) and with her initial favorite – Shawn. He got the rose. Then she had the rose ceremony. As she was passing out roses to guys that picked Britt, the musician got up and told her he was leaving to go be with Britt.

He left the house and we saw him chatting with Chris Harrison. Chris said he’d help him, they left the mansion and we didn’t see any more… for now.

So, Kaitlyn finished handing out roses and it was overall very non-dramatic. Until the end. During the scenes from this season, producers dropped a bomb on us! Kaitlyn apparently makes nookie with one of the guys and then tells everyone.

I was shocked. I shouldn’t be, considering the little ditty she said to Chris on night one about plowing her fields. I mean, I’m pretty sure Chris and Britt were making whoopie left and right, but the producers let that be a mystery. Not so much with Kaitlyn.

They don’t show who the guy is because obviously that would be a big spoiler.

The show ended with the musician arriving at Britt’s hotel and running to her room. My DVR cut off, so I have no idea what happened after that. I’m presuming she welcomed him with open arms since rumor has it that they are currently dating.

The Lost Art of Haggling and The Jeep in My Yard

It has come to my attention that people have lost the ability to haggle effectively and without offending the seller. In fact, most people have lost the ability to haggle all together, instead resulting to insults and cheap jabs to communicate that they think your price is too high.

I was talking to my FIL’s girlfriend today and she felt the need to mention “the rotting old Jeep” in my backyard again. For clarification – we have a Jeep in the backyard that runs, but is in need of emissions work and new tires to pass inspection. Because my husband commutes so far to work, he bought a small car and let the Jeep sit in the back until he gets a job closer to home or can work on it as a project vehicle.
After he put the Jeep to pasture, my FIL got a girlfriend. She hasn’t had a job in a while and was in need of a cheap vehicle. She liked Jeeps. My FIL mentioned that my husband had one he wasn’t driving and said maybe he’d sell it to her. My husband offered to sell it to her for a fair price that he determined after looking online at similar vehicles for sale. No, it wasn’t a rock bottom price that you’d sell something to a family member to help them out – why would it be? My FIL had been dating this woman for all of 2 months at the most.

She passed on the Jeep and I thought that would be the end of it. Instead of saying no thank you and moving on, she feels the need to refer to “the piece of crap Jeep” or the “auto fluff” or “the rotting old Jeep” from time to time and then make a remark about how my husband tried to sell it to her.

The point is, she saw the vehicle and she obviously didn’t think it was worth the asking price. Instead of saying it’s not what she’s looking for and leaving it at that, she feels the need to bring it up over and over in an attempt to insult me and insinuate that my husband is an idiot for asking that much for a car.

Nevermind that it was a fair price. She seems to think that because she had been dating my FIL for all of 2 months she was entitled to blood relative discount. Sorry, that’s not how it works. Yes, my FIL would have been paying for it since she didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a job, but it would be her vehicle.

This happened a year and a half ago. She’s still bringing it up. Obviously she still thinks about the Jeep and was probably interested, but wanted it for free or practically nothing. She could have counter offered, but she didn’t. Why? Because she knows the price she’d be willing to pay was unrealistic. If she thought it wasn’t worth the price he was asking and that she had a fair price in mind, she would have offered it.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t unique. People on the Facebook yard sale sites do this too. If you post an item that they think isn’t worth the price you’re asking, they’ll leave a snarky remark about finding it cheaper at XYZ store. Great! If it’s cheaper at XYZ store, go there and buy it! No need to leave me a comment and let me know that you’re going that route. If they do attempt to haggle, they offer an insultingly low price. “Hey – will you take $10 for this $100 item you’ve posted??” No. No I won’t. I might have done $90, but now you’ve insulted me, so if you want this item it’ll cost $100. Cash only.

When you shop online or at a garage sale, it’s fine to try and negotiate, but don’t insult the person. If you want something, try offering a little less, but don’t expect them to come down on price by 50% or more. If the item is priced that far above what you’d be willing to pay, simply walk away. There will always be another opportunity to buy something, but not necessarily an opportunity to make up with someone you’ve insulted. People have long memories and short tempers.

Bachelorette Recap: Battle of the Bachelorettes – Night 1

Last night was the season premier of the Bachelorette, featuring 2 ladies: Britt and Kaitlyn.
bachelorette
Now, I’m not going to make it a secret that I wasn’t crazy about either of these options. Britt is fake and relies on her looks to make it through life. She puts on a good front for the camera, but every now and then we get a glimpse of what a true b**ch she is. I can’t wait for her to age 10 years and lose her looks. Karma, baby. On the other hand, we have Kaitlyn. Definitely not the prettiest girl in the pack, but she attempts to make up for it by “being one of the guys” and making some crude jokes. I’m not a fan of her vulgarity. She made a bad impression on me in Chris’ season and I just can’t shake it.

Aside from my dislike of either contestant, the guys this season don’t seem too stellar either.

I have to mention Drinky McDrinks-a-lot real quick. Who was it? Ryan I think. Man, he was HAMMERED. He grabbed Britts face during their “conversation” and also groped Kaitlyn. What a guy. He was calling them hos and everything else. I’m glad Chris Harrison got rid of him. The “security” guard was pretty funny too. I’d like to see that guy beat any of the dudes in the house in a foot race. Even McDrunky could have probably beat him.

I also have to mention the “healer”. I loved the speech he gave BOTH of the girls. I couldn’t believe that… they were within hearing range of one another! The guy is high on his own special homeopathic blend, for sure. It’s okay though, because Britt “really got who he was as a person”. What does that even mean?! The guy is bonkers.

Who else did we have? Oh right, a couple of contestants with kids. The in-the-closet dentist that arrived in a cupcake, an amateur sex coach (I think that just means he watches a lot of porn) in a carpool, a couple meat heads, the obligatory singer trying to advance his career, a stripper, etc. etc.. I didn’t really see anyone of substance yet.

I can’t decide which bachelorette I’m rooting for. A big part of me wants Britt to win and wind up with either the stripper or the singer – either one of which would likely dump her in an instant. She really needs to be taken down a notch (or ten).

So after night 1, who are you rooting for? Who rubs you the wrong way?

Recipe: Meatballs Made from Leftover Chicken

This recipe was bred from desperation. I was making a beautiful vegetable lasagna for dinner, and my husband asked, “So, what meat are you making with that?”.

What? Meat? Why?

Apparently, my dear carnivore needs meat with every meal. He made an argument that the kids need meat too – they’re growing, after all. To be fair, the previous night’s dinner was meatless, so I guess going meat-free 2 days in a row was just too much for him.

So, I popped open the fridge to see what I had. Nothing. There was no thawed meat. I looked at the leftovers and saw a large roasted chicken from a couple nights before. Bingo. Now what to make? My kids won’t eat leftovers in any form, so I have to get creative. I immediately thought of meatballs. I went on Pinterest and searched for recipes, but all used raw chicken as the base. My chicken was already cooked. I wound up just going at it blind, but the results were surprisingly delicious! The meatballs stole the show and saved dinner. Here’s the recipe:

meatballs

Ingredients:

  • cooked chicken, skin removed (I used 1 breast and 1 thigh from a roasted chicken)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place chicken (skin removed) in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Add eggs and breadcrumbs. Pulse to incorporate well.
  3. Add milk until mixture is moistened and sticks to itself easily.
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Scoop mixture with a cookie scoop and form into balls. Fry in olive oil until browned on all sides.

Serve with marinara sauce.

I also thought this recipe would be great with some finely shredded carrots or zucchini mixed in. The vegetables would add some moisture and flavor to the mix. Also, it’s worth noting that the final results will depend on the quality of the chicken you start with. If the chicken is dry and poorly flavored, the meatballs will also be dry and poorly flavored.

Parenting Tip: Keep the Number for Poison Control Handy

Today was a milestone day… I had to call poison control for the first time in 5.5 years.

My 1 year old got a hold of an old bottle of CLR. The top had corroded enough that it leaks and he put it in his mouth. I was in the room cleaning, but not looking directly at him, so I didn’t know he had it. I’m not sure if he got any in his mouth or not.

I immediately took it away, threw it out and washed his hands.

Then I called poison control.

They were able to tell me what to do (give him a bath to get any off his body, brush his teeth, rinse his mouth out and give him some milk) over the phone. They took my phone number and will call me back in an hour to see how he’s doing.

I know that if I’d called my kids’ pediatrician, they’d want me to bring him in. I’d expose the kids to all kinds of germs because he *might* have been exposed and I wouldn’t have given him a bath, so he might have gotten skin burns. A $25 copay and plenty of judging later, and they’d probably just tell me to give him some milk to neutralize the acid.

The poison control line told me what to do and what to watch for before calling the doctor.

Poison control is a resource that is definitely underutilized. If your kids get into chemicals or if you just have a question about something poison related, call 1-800-222-1222 right away! You’ll be connected with your local poison control center for assistance.

Husband Fail: Mother’s Day Mayhem

Dear husband,

I love you, but WOW you dropped the ball this mother’s day. I realize that the kids are all 5 and under, so the bulk of the holiday burden falls on you. I realize that right now, mother’s day is just another holiday you have to think about and deal with, but this time entirely on your own.

Kind of like my birthday, I’ve learned to not expect much.

So this year, I decided to make it super easy on you. We’re flat broke, so I told you not to buy flowers. “We have plenty of flowers in the yard. I don’t need any in the house.” I lied. There’s really no need for you to spend $15 on cut flowers when there’s other things – free things – you could do instead. I told you that for mother’s day, all I wanted was a nice clean house, so I could enjoy the day with the family and not think about all the work waiting for me.

It’ll be easy, I told you. All you have to do is the dishes, pick everything up really quick and vacuum. I’m not expecting the bathrooms cleaned or the sink sanitized. No laundry. No organizing of any type. Just the bare basics.

You emptied the dishwasher, with 50% of the dishes winding up in the wrong spot or on the counter. Then you filled it and didn’t turn it on. You were so proud of yourself, like a Peacock with his feathers fluffed up. Time for a boob grab – that type of effort will surely result in getting some, right? Wrong. So wrong.

Deep breaths.

After the “dishes were done”, you decided to unleash a special kind of hell on me and the kids. First up on your day of torture, you planned for us to go on a bike ride. I hate bike riding with the kids. Hate it with a passion. Ever since a human passed through my hips, I can no longer sit on a bike seat comfortably. Bike seats are now the perfect size to wedge up and into the bones of my pelvis, pushing them apart and creating a bruised feeling.

On top of the high degree of comfort afforded by the ridiculously small bike seat, our kids are not self propelled. And, there’s 3 of them. I suggested letting them attempt to ride their bikes (Don’t judge me because my 5 year old can’t ride a bike.) while we walked on the bike trail, pushing #3 in his stroller.

Of course, you had another idea. You came up with this great plan that involved 2 baby seats and a 1/2 bike attachment. #1 (the oldest) would ride on the 1/2 bike, connected to the back of your seat. #2 (35-pound middle child) would sit in the baby seat on the back of your bike and #3 would ride on the back of my bike.

Thank God for helmets.

I’m sure you can see where this is going. Two attachments on your bike didn’t work out. You finally admitted defeat once there was bloodshed.

Next up on your day of torture, you decided a trip to the beach was in order, because why not? I’m not on medication that makes me prone to sunburn or anything. Good times.

I said no, I gave you 5-million reasons why we couldn’t, but you loaded up the car with 5 times as much crap as we’d ever need and headed off. Two hours later, I could barely move. The kids – all of them – are sunburned too despite the SPF 50 sunblock I used. What fun.

After getting cooked at the beach, it was time to come home. The house was still a wreck. The dishes were still half done. I sent you out for a pizza – to hell with trying to save money. All my dishes were dirty and I didn’t want to have to clean the kitchen to cook. While you were gone, I picked up clothes, took out the trash and quickly righted the wrong that happened in the bathroom. In 20 minutes, I did 10 times the cleaning you did all day – even though a cleaning break was *supposed* to be my gift.

You came home. We ate. You asked if I had a nice mothers day. I didn’t say anything. You attempted to make a move on me. I shut that shit down because at that point, all I could think about was the mess waiting for me in the morning. I went to sleep.

Maybe next year we can skip Mother’s Day. I’ve already deleted my birthday from your Google Calendar. Lesson learned.