Must Be The Season Of The Binch

Every holiday season I go from excitement to nostalgia, to the feeling of wanting to help everyone and reach out because the holidays are HARD on a lot of people, to being barraged by messages of everyone looking for help and donations and prayers for SO MANY things and people, to becoming overwhelmed and eventually just shutting down and hating everything again, from the stress of ALL THE holiday THINGS.

That usually doesn't happen until about mid-Decemberish, but here I am before even December 1st singing "You're a mean one, Mrs. Binch" to myself.
My spirit animal. Bitch + grinch = Binch.
It's not surprising. I haven't been handling my stress well. Add holiday stuff and a few other truly depressing Life-ings, and it was bound to happen. I just didn't think it would be this soon.

I am trying. I'm doing the work. This year we got our family photo out of the way in November, as we intend to every year but usually don't. The teenager has been working for cash (I know, I tried to tell him) on some side job that's keeping him really busy. He came right out and said he doesn't want to try to be in the photo. Which sucks, but also? That means we can strap on some Christmas Nikes and just do it. It's done. The 2 yr old is literally holding a bag of freaking cereal in the picture, and she wouldn't sit WITH us so there is a separate picture of the girls and of us, but whatever, it's done. Maybe some day we'll laugh about that. Next thing.
We should have just used THIS picture and been done.
I always make them kiss, it's the ONLY WAY to make them
hold still long enough to take a picture that isn't blurry.
Thankfully we had the foresight to get our Christmas tree up early. The youngest has said about 55 times, "Thanks for my Christmas tree, Mom and Dad!" Totally worth the effort. 

So REAL-looking isn't it? Real plastic.
The Charlie Brown tree of fake Xmas trees
2 years ago we waited and procrastinated so long we never put up more than a tiny tabletop tree. Lame. Last year we were scrambling and it was stressful instead of fun. And it immediately fell over, but our old tree has been through a lot. 

I've had it for at least 15 years and my dad had fished it out of the garbage, so it already had a full life of it's own before entering mine. Like so many of my housewares. 

Here is one of my favorite Daddy-Dumpster-Dive decorations, a decades old light-up Santa. Hideous yes, but I just had to plug in and hang it on the window. This year I plugged it and discovered it doesn't work *sad trumpet music* 
This looks a LOT like Stinky Pete the Prospector from Toy Story 2
Yes, I could probably just check each bulb and replace whichever one doesn't work and maybe then they would all work. That's about as likely as Santa coming down our chimney. Our chimney is no doubt cemented shut since we have a furnace. I assume Santa sends a small elf in through a drain pipe. Or if he's smart uses actual magic, like "Accio present" to poof presents where they need to be. Wouldn't that be more environmentally friendly and less animal cruelty for reindeer?

I'm thankful we were able to get out and finally meet up with a friend I've been trying to see since SUMMER.
Thankfully, we got to see the Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo. That was lovely, and we could not have asked for a better day weather-wise in Chicago. It was just over 50 degrees! For almost December, that's practically surfing weather. 
More Zoo Lights pictures on my Instagram if you like that kind of thing
We were also at the zoo in the dark, which is really cool if you've never been. We got to see gorillas sleeping. It was very odd, they looked comatose on their beds of hay. With all the noise and kids tapping on glass, and even a few jerks taking FLASH photos, they didn't wake up. Just laid there with their giant arms, legs and sausage fingers laying about. 
No, just thought I would look and this was funny. from funny-pics.co
One youngin even had his or her legs folded up under it's arms. It looked cool, but the photo didn't turn out without flash and I didn't want to use the flash and start a Planet of the Apes situation.

I'm beyond thankful Thanksgiving is over. Ironically. For me, the day AFTER Thanksgiving is the real holiday: Cooking is over, we have tons of leftovers and paper plates, which my budget and American waste-producing guilt won't usually let me use. 
Nice try. I use PAPER. That burns right up and kills zero birds and fish. Probably.
But the day after a big party? You bet your giblets I'm using them. It's kind of glorious, the leftover pie for breakfast on a plate I don't have to wash. It's the closest I'll ever get to that feeling of holiday magic we used to have as kids, but as parents, specifically the COOKING parent, you never get again. 

I'm thankful we didn't drink the wine I bought for Thanksgiving until today. It's pairing nicely with my crabby mood and today's turkey soup, which thankfully marks the last of the turkey leftovers. 

If you're not a gravy fan, that dry meat is hard enough to choke down the day you cook it and each day it just gets worse. 

I usually make turkey pot pie but my son hasn't been around so other than a few sammiches with tomatoes, it's all rice and veggie soup.  Done.

I'm trying to focus on the thankfuls. That's the key to this season. Don't do more than you need to, or you'll make yourself a grinch.

This post was part of the Ten Things of Thankful experience. 

A reminder about holiday stress and suggestions for coping:


Fat Pants, Poxes and Four Finger Spatchcock

An unexpected, but much appreciated break in my crazy schedule, giving me time to think, and to some small extent write, again at last.

Also time to start reading, an actual BOOK! Not just any book, Jessica! A book our own Lizzi Rogers, of Considerings fame, is featured in. Look, there's her name ON THE COVER.

RIGHT ^ THERE, her name is there
This is a great book so far. I haven't gotten very far, as I have life-induced reading narcolepsy. I read half a page and my head falls, through no fault of the greatness of the book. I can't make it through movies, TV shows, visits with friends, you name it. 

I'm really enjoying reading an actual paper book again, I miss it! I love having a really GOOD book. It's like the beginning of a great relationship, you can't wait to escape to that special, magical place and leave the REAL (boring) world far behind. This one is fantastic. It's on amazon.com [click that link and get an extra as a Christmas present] for $6.99 and the Kindle version is $2.99 It's a steal at thrice the price.

Hopefully I'll get some more time to read next week, during my unplanned, just got confirmed WEEK OFF! No extra kids next week, only my own. This means no paycheck, but the universe must know how badly I need a break. It's as close to a vacation as I'll get for quite awhile. 

Next week is the day we Americans celebrate the popular story of our forefathers coming this land, being unable to handle farming and...enlisting, let's say, the help of the native people of the land. In exchange, the English settlers (who would not be called 'pilgrims' for at least 200 more years) introduced them to tuberculosis, anthrax, cholera and various poxes. Thus starting the tradition of Thanksgiving. Some 400 years later. 

The plague that wiped out 90-96% of the native inhabitants of New England also spear-headed (sorry) another American tradition you won't find in textbooks: 
The religious tradition of using "God's will" to defend human atrocities, and explain away anything we fear. I don't want to tell you how that story ends, I hate spoilers. 

The moral of the story? We get a holiday on Thursday, where we traditionally overeat in stretchy fat pants (or as I call them: Pants) and take the entire next day to recover. The more ambitious of us can choose to rise early on Friday, and hunt and destroy each other looking for Doorbuster sales in stores nationwide. 
I'll be taking a walk on the wild side and trying spatchcocking, because I like my holiday food like I like my women: Fast and easy. 
Fowl, fowl porn  oshawaogre.wordpress.com
I want to pretend that's something super exotic and kinky, especially after that picture, but it's a way of cooking turkey or chicken quickly. Allegedly. My Diane-in-Law told me about, she's my go-to for domestic questions. 
This is how you baste turkey, right?
I'm extremely thankful we don't have to do any Black Friday madness. Ever again if I have my way. 

Years and years ago my now husband somehow talked me into Friday morning madness (2 or 3am, I believe) in line at Best Buy. That is some of the coldest I've ever been and I was born in Chicago. I wound up going back to my truck and falling asleep with the heat on, until the air was as wavy as gravy. 

Luckily we weren't in a bad neighborhood, I could have wound up in a Chop Shop being broken down for parts to sell on the black market. My heart is black, liver's shot, lungs have always been junk, but I think my spleen and kidneys might get a few bucks. 

Watching footage of Black Friday madness on the news is oddly fascinating. It's like the running of the bulls, where bulls are bargain shoppers with nothing to lose. I'll pass. Now stores are open on Thursday. Going out in the cold to spend money with lunatics goes against just about everything I consider a holiday. 

I'm also thankful my volunteer friends started their annual tradition of handling a balloon in the parade AFTER I was super pregnant, and unable to join them. It also sounds like torture, being under a giant balloon in the freezing Chicago wind and cold...during a parade. It may just be my Sudden Onset Elderly Syndrome talking, but NO PART of that sounds good to me.

Okay, as usual my train of thought derailed and ran into an ocean of tangents. 
Link up here to join in, and give us some things you're thankful for. 


By Gum, It's Gum. Thankless Heathen November

I'm not one for posts of thankful on social media, I figure that is reserved for people who know what the made up words on the Starbuck's menu actually mean. However, since I've recently found out I'm hosting Thanksgiving, it's a good time to convince myself just how thankful I should be.

Where do I even start? The best of course. My most recent treasure found looking for recipes on the internet:

Thanksgiving gum.

From amazon, link below because you KNOW you're ordering these. To order:http://www.amazon.com/Thanksgiving-Gumballs-Cranberry-Pumpkin-Flavored/dp/B005QUM0UW 

Guess what I'll be serving on turkey day? 
You guessed it: Pumpkin Pie Martinis.
Also Thanksgiving gum. 
Each tin contains 22 gumballs, or ONE SERVING if you're 'Murican. Since they require no cooking, I may even shop for fancy turkey plates to serve them on. Paper, of course.

Mmmm, food from balls. Remember that scene from Willy Wonka where Violet tries the 3- course meal in a gum ball? Then turns into a blueberry. That will be happening in ComfyTown. 

"How's your turkey gum, kids?"
Thanks, Imgur
Hey, if olde timey dads can get out of doing laundry by washing lights and darks together, I can probably wiggle out of hosting holidays by serving nothing but booze and gum. It's worth a shot.

Okay, that might be a little ridiculous, only having gum and booze. Think of the children. Anyone know where I can order these Roasted Turkey flavored Doritos? 
I found a picture, but I don't speak Japanese.
I should also stock up on these Jones sodas, in the flavor of turkey, pea, sweet potato, dinner rolls (?) and antacid. It's nice they added that last one. 
For dessert, I'll serve these turkey-flavored lollipops.
Washed down with old fashioned pumpkin pie spice potato chips. Just like Grandma used to serve. 

Hopefully I can find this in a local store. Even I know ordering ice cream online is a bad idea.
Check out the FANCY cranberry can-shaped sauce.

This day is going to be super fancy. I hope I have something appropriate to wear.
Thanks, Pinterest.
This post is kind of phoned in, but considering I finished off my week of battling other people's children's bodily fluids for less than minimum wage by cleaning and scrubbing my kitchen floor Cinderella-style, I'm surprised I'm posting anything other than a manifesto. Hopefully I'll be back to more funny shenanigans soon.

Here's last year's post about Black Friday, funny AND informative. Good advice on how to avoid leaving your house not only on Black Friday, but how to do 99.9% percent of your holiday shopping from your couch. You're welcome, America:

Thanks to everyone for your patience and for reading, and especially those that take the time to leave comments. They're always hilarious, and my favorite part of blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good beer.


Xfinity = Evil, Pt 2: Comcast Kills Puppies

This is the conclusion of last week's rant about our cable company. I know, how dare I lay down a hashtag-First World Problem during the month of Thankful posts, but that's where I live and apparently how I roll. Besides, this company is uniquely remarkable at being terrible. 

Call this a review of Comcast/Xfinity's service and specifically their new X1 product. Spoiler: It's Gold >VIP< Level not worth the money and aggravation. Don't be tempted by the devil's favorite new fruit: Technology. They may offer the latest and greatest, but you'll be sorry you got sucked in.
I'm sure every area has their own evil cable company, so evile that you pronounce it 'ev-eeel like the fru-eets of the deveeel" but Comcast especially takes the cake. 


An antenna company called Antennas Direct SENT them a cake for all the business they sent to the antenna company. Customers so SICK of Comcast, they sought out and paid for antennas.  
from comcastsucksballs.blogspot.com
Mayhaps you heard about the viral customer service call that was an Xfinity 18-minutes long? An employee of AOL called to cancel service and was kept on the phone for an Xfinity, and verbally assaulted. If you click the link, you can hear the last 8 minutes of the call. The caller started recording after 10 minutes of verbal abuse. 

I can't get into every bad experience I've had. There are too many. My horrible experience starts from the day they were supposed to connect my service, which I took a half day off work given their time frame, and wound up having to take a whole day. When it eventually did work? It was wonky at best. I spent hours and hours on hold trying to report problems, the many internet and cable outages, and ask about the never-ending price increases. I too was eventually abused when I cancelled service. 

The call itself was torture, eventually ending with them saying they said they would send me a box to return their equipment, and they never did. I called a few times. Luckily I didn't go "Office Space" like I wanted to and smash the cable box. I packed and moved it, because when we tried to active service at our new house? They tried to say we owed them over $500 in equipment we never returned. True story.

There are locations where you can drop off equipment, and the lines at those locations? Make you miss the lines at the DMV. At least the DMV have chairs. The employees have chairs, which makes you wonder why they're so angry when you finally get to the front of a line, holding their equipment. Hey man, you're sitting down AND getting paid. I think they pay them anyway.

In fairness, one guy was delightful once. One guy ever. The rest? Must be serving out their karmic community service as punishment for a lifetime of pure evil before waiting their entry into Hell. 

If you type "Comcast sucks" into a search engine, you will have enough reading material to never require a television until the day you die.
Google response:
About 1,240,000 results (0.66 seconds)
But if you click "images" you get beauties like this. margotsmiddlefinger.com
When you try to call to report a problem, you may as well take a personal day from work and start drinking. You could write up a Kickstarter campaign, raise your own money, hire your own crew, MAKE your own show or movie in less time than it takes to resolve an issue with Crap-cast.

They offer additional "products" like On Demand, for one example. The idea of this is fantastic. You can go to there and allegedly see shows and movies whenever YOU want, you don't have to wait for a certain time or channel. Genius right? 

Except they managed to make that horrible. You can't watch EVERY show, meaning mostly not the shows or movies you would ever actually WANT to watch. I get that a lot of that has to do with the networks, but even the shows they offer OnDemand don't appear right away. They are anywhere from 1 week to 3 weeks after the date they aired. 

Also? Commercials. 

Not only are there commercials on a cable network, wait isn't that why we PAY for effing cable? 
To not have commericals? 
They do not allow you to fast forward through the commercials. 

If you pay them extra additional money for a Digital Video Recorder, or DVR (like Tivo, but worse) you can fast forward through commercials there, but with X1 it magically doesn't seem to always work. Sometimes it immediately brings you to the end, or back to the beginning of the show in endless loop of insanity.
from cherrybombed.com
And again, DVR is an extra charge. For EACH box. Every month. And it goes up. Almost every month. 

Every month or so they raise their price just a little bit. Sometimes just pennies. You hardly notice it. Until a year or so goes by and your bill has suddenly gone up substantially. 

You're not getting anything additional, you're just somehow paying more. You can call to complain, and if you hold out for the time it takes to get to a human being, they will actually lower your bill. That is relatively easy, other than waiting on hold for an Xfinity.

Why do they play this game? 
They're gambling you won't call. 

Most people don't have the patience. They're like a kid who stole money out of your wallet and when caught, just shrug and say,
"You got me!" and give you the money back. 

Well, they don't give you the money back, they will never give you any money back. They will just lower your bill moving forward or give you more channels. AFTER trying to talk you into a bigger package, always that. So you call to complain about they are ROBBING YOU, but yes let's totally hear about additional ways you can steal my money. This must work or they wouldn't continue to constantly do it. 

After they called to offer "their best customers a sneak peek at their latest product" I promptly listed several reasons why I didn't want to give them any more money. My lovely a-hole husband actually called them back and agreed to GIVE THEM MORE MONEY. Are we on a tight budget? Yes, yes we are. 

Is this a huge waste of time and money? Yes, yes it is. He and they were bragging how their brand spankin (oh, it spanks us all right) new service x1 is SO GREAT. We get hundreds more (crappy) channels for only $8 more every month. 
Plus tax. 
Plus rate increases. 
And it will be even more than that in a year when their "free HBO for a year" deal is over. 

Oh and we also get a landline for that price. Yay a phone that never stops ringing with telemarketing calls DURING AN ELECTION YEAR. That's just what my sanity needs. Great idea. At least we're spending MONEY on it.

So while he keeps telling me how many more channels we have to watch, I continue to experience the bugs of their new service. Here is a screen shot of just one of their very helpful error messages.
Really? I hadn''t noticed.
We have problems "connecting" at times...

...and watching recorded shows, and several with OnDemand shows on channels we're supposed to have. You try to watch and they want to CHARGE YOU to watch what you're supposed to get, or you get an error.

We also had to call because yet again we could not get Sesame Street anywhere OnDemand. That's right, the 40+ year old show Sesame Street that is literally made by public broadcasting, whose mission is NOT to make a profit, but instead to educate children around the world. 

Crime-cast is CHARGING people, people that already pay them for cable, to watch this FREE SHOW.

We now have at LEAST two channels that show Sesame Street, PBS and Sprout, but when we try to watch it OnDemand? They want us to PAY EXTRA TO WATCH IT. 

You bet we called and ripped em a new one. We were on hold so long my husband's mobile phone battery died. In order to try to avoid a brain tumor, we then started an online service ticket about it. Over an hour of back and forth later, sending us downstairs to check the downstairs box, which also does not work right, they told us they would get back to us. 

4 days later they left us a voicemail to check it, and *voila* it finally works. We can FINALLY view a show that airs on Public Broadcast Television. FOR freaking FREE. 
I KNEW IT! from iap-tv.com
Another great (horrendous) new tech offering? Their phone app. Get this, the idea is that you can watch shows on your phone, on the go. Forget that you have to have a strong 4G signal or it doesn't work, we do and it doesn't work well in OUR BACKYARD, and forget that of course not ALL the shows are on it, because OF COURSE THEY AREN'T. 

Guess what you can watch?


Product commercials, cable commercials for their channels and their shows. And no, of course you can't fast forward through them. OF COURSE YOU CAN'T, America. 

I tried to find the show "2 Broke Girls." This is a show that's on regular network television. cbs or abc I believe. Any hooker with rabbit ears in a cinderblock apartment can get this show. 
But can we? 
We, that agreed to pay them yet MORE MONEY for this crap? 
Show not found. 
I tried Colbert Report on Comedy Central: Nope. 
Daily Show, etc. etc. etc.
Show Not Found.
Screen shot b/c my husband didn't believe me.

They brag that you can download recorded shows from your cable box to your mobile device to watch anywhere. Unless of course, you have my phone, or any device on the long list of devices that are NOT COMPATIBLE with their software.

When you start to type "x1 app" into a search engine, know what automatically comes up? You guessed it. It fills in "...not working" before you even finish typing.
Notice 1: I only typed "x1 app" and the first 2 things that pop up are "sucks" and "not working"
Notice 2: The 2nd tab opened to "Comcast Sucks Balls" 
My husband, in his never-ending attempt to drive me insane updated the O/S on my phone so I can watch all of these commercials 'on the go' and my phone is completely screwed now. Not only did my contacts get deleted, the app doesn't even work. I can't take a screen shot of it because every time I try to do anything it locks up my entire phone. 

I can occasionally watch "live" TV by literally scrolling through channels live. With commercials. Even that has an unnatural amount of "Buffering" that makes you long for Netflix buffering. 

Okay, I have to wrap this up. There is plenty more, but you get the idea. Don't bother. Don't be one of the first to fall for their new product, and then be the guinea pigs working out the many bugs.

Watch Netflix, read books, read my blog, avoid the Comcast Xfinity blood pressure-raising nightmare. At all costs. 
For television I recommend streaming Netflix. We've never had a problem, except the occasional lag time during high traffic times. To avoid this, you can pull Netflix through something like the Wii, it downloads ahead of time for less lag during whatever you're watching.

We tried Hulu and Hulu Plus and I never heard of 90% of the shows and movies, plus there are commercials.

NO COMMERCIALS ever on Netflix! You can't really rewind or fast forward with any degree of accuracy, but there aren't any commercials to fast forward through, and again it's less than $10/month WITHOUT COMMERCIALS. 

I'm Joy Christi and I fully endorse Netflix.


Xfinity=Evil: My Cable Experience

Here comes another mini-rant about First World Problems. If that's a trigger for you, and I hear you, and don't blame you, you'll want to skip this one. 

However if you hate giant evil corporations that constantly swindle good people out of their hard-earned cash, please help me spread the word.

What word?

In a word: Comcast. 

2nd word: Sucks.

Implied: Balls full time.
This is THEE MOST RAPEY van ever, but they rape grown people with their service and rates.
From a blog called ... wait for it...Comcastsucksballs.blogspot.com
That is a link for more glorious, and totally TRUE rants about Com-crap.
Crime-cast is our choice of cable company, and like most monopolies, they are the worst. Xfinity is a name that Comcast recently chose for themselves to hide behind, after word spread about their horrible business practices, over-priced highway robbery schemes and reprehensible customer service. Same company, same core of pure molten greed, new catchy name. Like when Prince changed his name to a symbol. 

Why Xfinity? 
Because that is what is even LONGER than INFINITY. 

Which is how long you'll wait for them to:
Show up;
Do what you pay for;
Provide any kind of service;
Update their gee-dee OnDemand suckhole;
Put you through to a person on the phone, when inevitably one or more of their products doesn't perform as promised, and you have to starting the long process to try to get what you already paid for

They recently swindled my husband for yet more money on their latest hoax: The X1 whatever it is. What it actually is, is an even more advanced way for them to control what you see, when, and how you watch, and also throw more commercials at your face. How can a cable company force you to watch commercials? I'll get to that.

My husband just thinks I'm a cheapo, and admittedly I may be a bit jaded against this particularly expensive secret satanic succubus of a company. I started thinking about why I hate them so very much. I mean, I like the concept of television. I like high-speed internet. I'm generally a fan of technology. That is to say, I like it when it actually does improve our lives as it promises while steepling it's fingers and dreaming of stealing our hard-earned money.

I feel like I should provide a little bit of personal history before I go all Dave Savini and expose their shoddy business practices, and thinly-veiled robbery. That's only fair, right?

I'll admit the entire concept of paying for television hasn't sat well with me for decades. I've never had much of what marketers call disposable income.  In my adult life, I never had cable most of the time before my husband. As a single mom it was not something I ever cared about. 
from TVtropes.com
When I was younger we had cable, I remember. I never thought about the cost, because that's one of the bonuses childhood provides. To me, we just suddenly had tons of new channels, and we could change the channel while sitting on the couch! The control box, for lack of a better word, was never 'remote,' as it was way to0 heavy to carry around. It was the size of a typewriter, (Google what a typewriter is, youngins) and attached to long cords. I can't believe I found a picture of it, this really takes me back.
Our first "remote." You could NEVER lose this remote! It was always on the coffee table.
It was the only thing that would FIT on the entire table. from blog.tulsatvmemories.com
You had to set the dial to UHF, VHF and whatever the 3rd one was, and then find the right button. I'm not sure if we ever had the right sticker to tell us which channels were where. If we did, then like everything in our house it got trashed right away. We just counted "4 buttons from the left on the middle setting is MTV" and whatnot. 
Right?! from 8tracks.com

Also? While we're strapped into the way-back machine and my old wrinkled hand is turning into a fist to shake, can I just point out that back then MTV had music videos
And only music videos. 

Well, a little bullshittery labeled "Music News" from the VJ's, but no reality shows or pregnant teens or anything else I hear about today. Eventually they had silly game shows kind of about music, but mostly music videos. It was a great time to be alive.

I could spin yarns about the awesome 80's, it's TV shows and candy disguised as breakfast cereal all damn day, but I'll save those stories for my grandkids. Or maybe at least just until I finish my rant about the cable company.

At some point in my early 20's, I knew a guy that 'knew a guy' and we had this magic black box that would get us every single cable channel for free. It also magically-slash-illegally unlocked every Pay-Per-View movie and fight! That was awesome. Cable television is worth every single penny when you're stealing it. Morally it's not stealing, it's a drop in the Karma Bucket of how this company needs to be painfully penetrated in every possible orifice. 

Point is, when given the choice to actually pay what they're charging for what they call programming? I always opted OUT. Early this century when I was dating my now husband, he tricked me into the concept of paying for cable. 

He eventually got sick of slumming in my cinder block prison style apartment, where technology and cell phone coverage came to die. It was a tiny, cheap place that I had to paint myself when I moved in because I didn't have enough in my savings account to cover a deposit. They gave me the paint though! Bonus.

Cheap tip: You can negotiate ANYTHING.

Anyway, this apartment was about the worst. I literally chose it because it had thee cheapest rent in my son's school district. I've talked about the registered sex offender 2 buildings over, the horrible tiny laundry room, and how it backed up (10 yards away, tops) to a strip mall with a bar. 

Most nights you could hear a loud clattering of broken glass when the bar emptied the garbage cans of beer bottles into the dumpster. Having music or TV on to drown out that sound a little was very helpful.

I loved that crappy apartment though. Because of reasons that would take up a whole post, at least, mostly because it was ALL MINE. My name alone was on the lease. It was just me and my son for the first time since he was born. 

I could do whatever I want, as long it was appropriate to take a small boy along, whenever I wanted. We could come and go as we saw fit. We went everywhere, did all the things, visited everyone, I took him volunteering and felt like a long-term parolee finally out of prison and into the sun for the first time in decades. Prison being my first marriage. 

I felt like we didn't need to pay for cable television because when we were home at our apartment, we spent all our time either working on his homework or finding any other place to do our laundry. Also, everything in my apartment was crap. It was all previously owned and thrown away by someone else. 

Remember the old toaster that would SHOOT the toast in the air? Yeah, that was rad. I'll post a link to that at the end if you missed it, it was fantastic. It was the Dream: The Toast Dream.
from animationplayhouse
For televisions I had one TV/DVD player combo my mother gave me as a present, that looked like this. Compare the size of the DVD slot to the whole screen.  

I loved the shit out of this. It was the ONLY time in my entire life I've had a television in my bedroom. I liked that for some weird reason. If I couldn't sleep, I watched TV.

We borrowed DVDs from the library, which were FREE! And also Lion Video, which was cheap, and ALL KIDS MOVIES WERE FREE with a rental of a non-kid movie. 

The other tiny TV, like everything else I owned, either came from a resale shop or my dad found it in the garbage. Probably the latter. 
Like this, but my TV was older and smaller.
It fit on a corner of my dresser. from sodahead.com
My old man was a pro-level dumpster diver. Story for another time. 

The TV had the rabbit ears with tin foil on the top, yes post-Y2K, and we got 2, sometimes 3 channels on a clear day.

It seemed beyond ridiculous to pay for cable for these tiny televisions, for the small amount of time we would actually watch television. 

But oh yeah, my manfriend. I didn't have a land phone line or internet connection, so my boy-man-friend was unable to track his four - yes 4 - fantasy football leagues. 

Talk about the real hashtag-struggle. White guys, right? 

Anyway, I guess he was feeling cocky after finally being able to meet my son, SIX MONTHS after we were dating, or else mayhaps he always wanted to play Sugar Daddy so he paid for cable.  But only during football season. Let's not forget my Prince Charming was/is a pretty huge a-hole. I'm not saying I'm just saying. I mean, we wouldn't have fallen in love if he wasn't. 

Well, by the time football season was over my lawyer was finally able to squeeze blood from a turnip and I finally got my divorce settlement, and I had bought my own condo. 

In hindsight, if I had co-habitated with the manfriend, I would have saved myself a giant pile of money. Not only on cable, but also the thousands upon thousands it costed to buy and sell a condo at the worst possible time in human history. 

This was right before the housing market crash. No one saw that coming. I don't care what your sketchy uncle says that never could get a loan to own anything for himself: NO ONE SAW THAT COMING, Bro. 

Anyway, once Daddy Warbucks stopped paying for cable, I decided to cough up the dough myself and we got used to having cable again. I was almost glad to be hooked to the Boob Tube. I could use the appeal of television to bribe my son to do his homework a little faster. 

Also, being a homeowner meant budgeting, and not going out as much. It was nice to have choices of entertainment while home in my OWN HOME that I owned, and beamed with pride about. I bought a clearance computer and we even had INTERNET ACCESS. I felt like an heiress. 
Not THAT heiress. Well, not that far actually....
I did have only ONE male companion. At that time.
image from landoverbaptist.net
I was very proud of myself. My dumb-self was getting it together. I was a single mother who owned my own condo. I was able to buy new furniture for literally the first time in my entire life, and I had even acquired a full-sized (19-inch) TV! My mother gave me her old set that had been struck by lightening. True story. 
F'real, Dory. from allaboutgiulia dotwordpress dotcom
At that time it didn't bother me to pay for extra things. I was making good money, and all Tina Turner on her own and all too happy to flush a large amount of money down the Com-crap toilet. I told myself at least it wasn't *snooty voice* The Dish. 

When I was newly single, my mother and I rented a townhouse and she had THE DISH. Have you had The Dish? It's a good idea, until it rains or there's so much as a light breeze. Then the picture gets all fuzzy or just doesn't work at all. 

Somehow the picture went fuzzy at the end of baseball season. When our Chicago White Sox were in the WORLD SERIES. I thought my husband's head was going to explode. 
These thieves also cancel whole networks without warning.
from jodiambroseblog.com
He took a very serious vow that we would "NEVER HAVE A DISH" if he had anything to say about it. 10 years later, he's held true to this vow. If you ask him about that game, or The Dish, you can still see tiny tendrils of smoke coming out of his ears in memory. 

Somehow I didn't 'know a guy' who could get us an illegal box, or maybe I tried to convince myself I was better than that (hahahahaha) so I sucked the Comcast overpriced teet. This started my hate/white.hot.hate relationship with C*ntcast. 

That was the beginning of the end for me cable-wise.

This picture b-the-w is from Finding Nemo, a very popular Disney movie. The only way you can see this movie on Comcast? Is if you pay them $20. That's $20 ON TOP of your monthly subscription fees + pay cable stations. They say then you OWN it, which is hilarious because you can ONLY ever watch it on a Comcast box. Until you cancel service. Then it's gone forever.

This reminds me of a window company trying to charge you to look at rainbow because you're watching it through their window. 

But hey, now you own a rainbow.


I will tell you how my relationship w/them went down (and I mean down, as in straight South) and developed a callous of pure, unadulterated rage against the machines in my next post. 

My flashbacking kind of derailed the rant train, and this post is already biblically long though not as full of lies. Hopefully I'll get time to finish before next Monday morning, but somehow I doubt it. This is a crazy week.