Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grandpa and his iPhone

My father-in-law recently got an iPhone.  I asked him why he got it, and he said that he got because everyone else has one. I said, "Well, at least you're honest about it. I think that's probably the only reason anyone gets an iPhone."

"No, no. Not to be cool. I wanted a nicer phone, and I got this one because a lot of people I know have them, so they can help me with it."

That made a lot more sense, because my father-in-law never struck me as the type to do anything in the interest of being cool. Believe me, he doesn't look cool with his iPhone, as evidenced by this picture I took when he wasn't looking.

He holds the thing like it is going to explode in his hand. He always looks at it over the top of his glasses, or squints through them at it, like the screen is too bright. My father in law is a complete waste of an iPhone for the following reasons:

1. He thinks that everything he does on it is going to cost him "extra".
He doesn't understand the concept of a data plan. He is still living in the dark ages of cell phones when a tab started every time you accidentally hit that internet button. (Side note: Didn't that make you kind of want to die? When you got to your destination after an hour car trip and you pull your phone out only to realize that you hit the button when you were rifling for your keys and the browser had been running the whole. damn. time? Yeah, me too.) I keep trying to explain to him how the data plan works and that it doesn't work that way, but he doesn't believe me. He might believe it if he went to the AT&T store and asked, but he hasn't done that for some reason. I'm not sure he'd believe it coming from the mouth of God Himself.
Last weekend, we were headed back to the apartment to get some things, and my father in law and Beau's aunt were in a separate car. He either butt-dialed Beau and didn't know it, or he didn't hang up properly after their last call. Beau got a message that went a little like this:
FIL: Do you know how to use the GPS? (on the iPhone)
Aunt: Yeah, but I think it charges you, doesn't it?
FIL: Well...
Aunt: I think it does.
FIL: I don't do anything that charges me.
Aunt: Don't do it!

At least he's in good company.

2. He doesn't have any music on it.
I asked him the other day if he had any music on it. He looked at me like I had two heads. "Why would I want to put music on my phone?!"

3. He doesn't understand apps.
For one thing, he thinks they are going to charge him (even the free ones). He wants to use as few apps as possible. Last night, though, we found him a radio app, and he thinks it is the coolest thing ever. Yes, people, my father in law thinks the most awesome thing about his phone is that...he can listen to the radio. And the police blotter. For real.
He also doesn't get that sometimes apps need to update. Yesterday, his Bible app needed an update. "How can you update the Bible?!" he said. "It's the bible!"

4. He has the dorkiest case for his iPhone.
It looks like it is made out of old tires. He thinks the fact that Superman could throw the phone into a brick wall makes it cool.

All this would be fine if he would learn, but he won't. He refuses to be taught. I may steal his phone in the middle of the night and replace it with a Cricket.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our first storms in the TP

On my LONG JOURNEY home from work last night, my husband called me. He was frustrated that his mom wanted them to leave the house and go to her sister's. There was severe weather on the way, and they were having a difference of opinion. Beau thought that the storm was going to miss us entirely. His mom thought that we were all going to die. I can't tell you exactly what was said, except that the conversation included a lot of "OH, MY GOD! Are you even LOOKING at the weather map?!", heavy sighs, groans, grumbles, and "WHATEVER!"s.

As I was turning onto FM 1709, I finally was able to interject that I didn't see the point of me being a phone witness to their bickering and someone just needed to tell me where to go, please. Beau finally won the battle, and I went home.

I hadn't been home long before, for lack of a better word, shit got REAL.

The weather map started to look worse and worse, and all that red and pink that means "GET IN THE BATHTUB!" was coming right for us. Also, I think there is some sort of Ellis Family Severe Weather Phone Tree in effect, because my in-laws' phones were ringing constantly. When people started sending pics of funnel clouds, we thought maybe it was time to find a shelter elsewhere. Someplace with a foundation. It never occurred to me until a few weeks ago why it really was so dangerous to be in a mobile home during a storm that may include a tornado. They don't have foundations. They are so mobile, that you may find yourself upwardly mobile, right up into  the sky. It's the landing that's a bitch, so I hear.

So, we all piled into the car and drove maybe 2 miles to Beau's aunt's house. It was maybe the scariest 5 minute drive I have ever made. They found this in their backyard...

It's dark, but that's about a baseball sized hail...ball...thing.

This tornado was less than 5 miles from our house...

Anyway, needless to say, we are all fine and the homestead is still intact. When we finally got to leave Beau's aunt's house after 10 o'clock, I hugged her and thanked her for the use of her foundation. We may need it again before this storm season is over.
Monday, May 23, 2011

Are we @$%& ups?

In a lovely little movie called Away We Go, Verona asked Bert the question that has been burning on my mind lately. She asks her boyfriend, "Are we fuck up's?" They debate the issue for a minute, and she reaches a conclusion. "I think we might be fuck up's."

Up until a few months ago, Beau (my husband) and I really seemed to have out shit together. We had plenty of money to pay all our bills and have enough left over to have fun with, and pay for all the stuff we needed for our new baby. We had a cute (albeit rented) house in a neighborhood I had always wanted to live in. We thought we were doing well. Sort of.

In the back of my mind, I always worried. In retrospect, I know that it was because we were really just faking it. We seemed to have plenty of money for everything, but it was only because we were ignoring certain debts. We also had no savings. We were those people you hear about who were one disaster away from...well...disaster.

Disaster happened when my Grandma was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and passed away less than a month later. There really aren't words to express how devastating that was for me. She lived with us, and she was my very best friend. Aside from suffering from that crippling grief, the financial ramifications were huge for us. The life insurance she left was enough to pay for her cremation (which was what she wanted) and a small memorial gathering at our home. After that, we were left with just enough to relocate. We couldn't afford the rent for the house we were living in on our own.

The place we found just barely worked for our budget. It left no wiggle room. Somewhere along the way, we must have over-wiggled and we ended up way behind in our bills. WAY. We were super freaked out by this, but we thought we could probably catch up, as long as Beau kept working as much overtime as possible. I started to feel it all being pulled out from under us, but there was still a glimmer of hope. Even so, I started making contingency plans in my head for what we would do if something really unthinkable happened, like one of us losing our job.

Then, Beau lost his job.

After talking and crying for a bit, we knew what we had to do. We had to put my contingency plan into action, give it up, cut our losses and move in with his parents.

I have never in my life felt like a bigger loser than I did at that moment. I had become someone I swore I would never be. I was that person with a baby who was wholly unprepared, financially, for a family. That was when that scene from Away We Go entered my brain. Are we fuck up's? I THINK WE MAY BE FUCK UP'S. WE ARE FUCK UP'S.

We spent the next couple days feeling like shit, borrowing money to keep the things we really did need, and preparing to move AGAIN. Then, a thought occurred to me. A big one.

I thought, maybe we are fuck up's, but we don't have to continue to be. Maybe, by moving in with the in-laws, we are being given an opportunity. If we had kept doing what we were doing; if Beau didn't lose his job, we might have eventually caught up with our immediate bills and been "ok", but that is all we could have ever been. OK. And who wants to be just OK? I don't, but I never thought we could have it any other way. I started to think maybe, if they were willing to keep us that long, we could use this time with them to do more than just pay for this immediate debacle. We could REALLY fix our finances, pay off our student loans, old credit cards, old debt. Fix our credit. Build a savings. Then, finally, when we are ready to move on, buy a house. We could not just get out of THIS mess, but ensure that we don't get into a mess like this ever again.

The more I thought about that plan, the more I thought we had no choice but to do just that. If not for ourselves, for our daughter. I don't want her to have to miss opportunities because we were selfish and proud. Because, honestly guys, that's what it comes down to. This hurts our pride. Our egos. We played "Grown Up" and we lost. But it's not a game anymore. It can't be when our daughter's future is at stake. We simply have to suck it up, move on, and fix it for her.

So, that's the very serious story about where we are and what has been happening. So, why this blog?

Well, I need an outlet, for one thing. I have always loved to write and that has suffered the last few years, and bitching and moaning about your situation online is just so in. Also, there are things about this little set up we have going that have entertainment value, people. We live in a trailer park (hence the title). My in-laws are very interesting people, and we couldn't possibly be living with two more different people than ourselves. Surely that will lead to some HIGH-larious material. Plus, I have a cute kid that I fully intend to show off here as much as possible. See? **Ignore my massive, sunburned cleavage.**

Also, maybe as we take this journey that I have maturely titled "Getting Our Shit Together. No Really. Part Deux", we will stumble across stuff that might be useful for other people in a similar situation. Hahaha. Sorry. The idea of me sharing financial tips and tricks is laughable. Like, really ridiculous. But hey, MAYBE, in a while, maybe a year, I'll actually have some advice. Some SAVVY. Some know-how. Move over Suze. Dave Ramsey. I'm a comin'.

So, there it is. My story. My new blog. And I know what some of you are thinking. "Yeah, right. Jess SAYS she is going to blog again, but all she does is promise and then crush our spirits!" By some of you, I mean one of you. But still. I promise, folks, I am in for this one. For real. Long haul. You with me?

Anyone have any suggestions for books I could read about money and stuff? I obviously need advice. Share in the comments!

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