I’m Scared. Hold me.

We’ve been wanting to sell our house for a year now. For a lot of reasons. Let me give them to you.

  • We bought this house optimistically thinking we’d need the space for any more children we might have. HA. Funny joke on my shitty uterus.
  • We used our free time renovating our old house, so buying a house that needed updating to be our “forever” home seemed fine.
  • Now we use our free time running/cycling/swimming and therefore have NO time for updating/renovating.
  • We also have no free time for cleaning, so managing a 4,000 square foot house is just a joke.
  • We no longer care about the walls around us. We used to be homebodies so those walls were important. Now they’re not, so we don’t want to waste time or money on them.
  • We need to downsize. Our entire family hangs out/uses barely half of the house.

The problem is – there are a few kinda-major things that would need to be done before we sell the house. We haven’t done those yet because we haven’t had the time. So, now we’re at the point where we think we should get a real estate agent to tell us: “This is what you could sell the house for AS IS. This is what you could sell the house for if you put this effort into these projects.” I mean, I know it’s not an exact science, but just some guidance would be nice. Donnie and I have different opinions about what’s important to buyers.

The other problem is – I’m kinda embarrassed. I haven’t “deep” cleaned in years and don’t really have time to do it now. So I don’t want a real estate agent to come over until I’ve cleaned. Which I need to admit, is never going to happen.

The other problem is – I’m scared of the “selling” process. We didn’t live in our old house when it was on the market so we never had to deal with “showing” it. That part TERRIFIES ME.

SO! Can you give me some stories to ease my mind? This is what I’m looking for:

  • Stories telling me how houses that haven’t been updated DO sell. We know we can’t get top dollar for it, because it has old cabinetry and old counters and popcorn ceilings. But can you reassure me that, if it’s priced reasonably enough, that someone will still buy it? Did your house with popcorn ceilings sell?
  • Stories about how you managed to keep a house “showable” with pets and kids. I can’t pack up my cats whenever people come to see the house. I guess we can pack up the dog, but not the cats. Did you leave your cats in your house when it was being shown?
  • Stories telling me that when you first called your real estate agent over, they didn’t judge you. Tell me they’ve seen worse. We’re going to pay to have someone deep clean it to give us a fresh start, but not yet. We’re going to wait until closer to market date. Will she judge me now? With dirty windows and baseboards?

I can’t even bring myself to call a real estate agent because the anxiety is so great. YES. I WANT OUT OF THIS HOUSE. But the anxiety keeps me from making the call. Can you help a girl out? I know selling houses is AWFUL, but maybe you can reassure me that it’s survivable.


The FitBit and Sleep

Yes. I am still addicted to my FitBit…in case you were wondering.

I wasn’t using it to log my food for awhile because I wasn’t watching what I was eating (Which is why I gained that 10lbs back! Weird how it works, right?) but I have been more diligent now that I’m trying the vegan thing. So, since I’ve been logging my food again, I’m spending more time watching my dashboard and looking at my data and I finally looked into the sleep settings.

I’ve heard SEVERAL people talk about using the “sensitive” setting on their sleep records to “really” see how they’re sleeping. I’ve never messed with my settings because I just enter in the time I went to bed, the time I woke up, and I feel like the “normal” setting paints a pretty accurate picture of how I slept.


This is me going to bed around 9pm and getting up around 4:30 which is a pretty good “average” of what I do most nights. This is a “Kid Wakes Up With Leg Cramps” night so you can see the middle-of-the-night activity spike. However, what it doesn’t do for me is really show the time it takes for me to fall asleep. I read for 15-30 minutes in bed most nights. Sometimes even longer, but it never tracks that as “awake” time because I’m still and holding a book, I’m not tossing and turning. So, even though that a small error in the reporting, I decided to switch it to “sensitive” to see what THAT report looked like.


What in the HELL? That’s a HUGE DIFFERENCE and – in my opinion – incredibly inaccurate. I mean, maybe I toss and turn a lot, but I’m definitely sleeping more than 3 hours and 50 minutes! JEEBUS.

So now I’m looking back on past conversations with FitBit users who area all, “I only actually sleep 4 hours a night…” and wonder if this is why they’re saying that. Because I’ve heard TONS of people say that and I’m always thrown for a loop because – WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? Who lives consistently on 4 hours of sleep a night and still is healthy enough to function like an normal person?

I’m just saying…that’s a HUGE difference in data reporting. Yes, it does a better job demonstrating my movements while I read to fall asleep, but it goes a little overboard there, I believe.

And here’s another night comparison to show it’s consistent in this huge range of data reporting:


I’m going to check again the next time I feel like I’ve had a solid night of restful sleep and see what it says. And I may try turning the “sleep tracker” on from my band when I sleep which is another method I don’t really bother with because I felt like the normal method was fine.

Have you ever changed your tracking via your desktop to “sensitive” instead of “normal” and compared the data? Do you find it as incorrect as I did? Or am I really that restless of a sleeper and just blissfully ignorant about it. (There’s NO WAY. I feel too good to sleep that horribly.)


My Co-Worker

This day has been INSANE and I almost forgot to post something. OH MY GOD. Five days in and I almost screwed up NaBloPoMo! But I remembered! So here is a half-assed post about my cat!

(Here’s a topic of discussion: Which is worse…blogging about your cat, or your dreams?)

I work from home now, which has the same amounts of pros and cons as working in an office does. Just typically the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Office: Pro – no cat hair in your printer. Con – You have to wear something other than your pajamas.
Home: Pro – I don’t have to even shower, much less get dressed. Con – My feline co-worker get all up in my workspace.

Bambi likes to hang out near me as much of the day as possible now. He still doesn’t bother with me at night, but during the day when it’s just me at the computer? He tries to find the most inconvenient place possible to relax. Maybe on the printer, maybe on my chair, maybe on my bullet journal…either way, he has to be wherever is the most annoying to me at that moment. And while part of me is like, “GET OUT OF MY CHAIR!” the other part of me is smitten with him because he’s old (14) and not super-affectionate and I kinda like that he seeks me out when it’s just a quiet work day at the house.

P.S. I don’t think embedded instagram photos show up on my blog if you’re viewing on a mobile device. If you can’t see any photos on this entry, then just imagine pictures of my cat in all of the annoying places possible on/around a desk.


The New Normal


Since my layoff I’ve been doing 25+ hours of work a week from home. Without the cost of full-time daycare, plus some cutbacks, that put us financially about where we were before my layoff. ABOUT. Close enough that I’m not having nightmares about losing my home, but not close enough that I get to enjoy the weekend of Someone Else Cooks And Cleans like we used to.

However, until this week I did keep Wes in preschool two days a week because I didn’t want him to miss graduation. So, on Tuesday and Thursdays I would work as much as possible while he was at school. Then, the rest of the week I’d spread out my work by sticking him in front of the TV. He ended up watching more TV than is ideal, but not enough to make me feel guilty. Win/Win!

But he graduated yesterday. And his sister gets out of school for the summer on Thursday. So this is the adjustment week before ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

Here’s the thing – the TV trick will still work! They’re pretty good about giving me time to work if they can watch TV. But – you know – dead brain cells and such. So! My goal is to try my best not to use the TV as the lure to peace and quiet so that I can work.

I’d really rather not try to squeeze in my work while they’re sleeping. My early mornings are my exercise hours and I try to go to bed about the same time as they do at night. I can definitely try to squeeze 5-10 hours a week out of time that Donnie’s home, and declare 1) NO TV! and also 2) If you need something SEE YOUR FATHER! That will work some.

But typically? When they’re left on their own without TV I have to deal with some sort of issue every 20 minutes or so. They only time they seem to play successfully is when they’re allowed free reign to destroy the house. Which I’ve done during desperate times. But then it totally backfires because – while they’re okay at picking up reasonable amounts of messes – they suck at clearing out total destruction. So who ends up doing it? ME! And that’s not worth the exchange of a little bit of peaceful work time.

I’m thinking of doing daily schedules. If you let Mom work until 9am quietly – then you can watch TV for an hour. I also need some sort of system for keeping them from doing the whole Come To Mom Every Time We’re Unhappy With Each Other thing. Do I reward them for an entire day of handling conflict themselves? I hate punishing them for coming to me because it’s a tough moment to punish the Tattler, because then do I acknowledge the incident they’re tattling about? What if it’s something I typically punish? Usually if I hear them coming I’ll just say, “Is anyone bleeding? Is anyone breaking something that belongs to Mom? Is anyone doing something that could end in a trip to the ER? THEN I DO NOT CARE.” But I’m not sure how effective that is.

So! Do any of you peeps work from home? How do you do it? What are your secrets? Do you stick them in front of the TV when you need to work and just make the other hours in the day quality play time? Because I think I may actually start with that. Do you have any parks that have free WiFi where you live? Because that would be IDEAL. I think there’s a park downtown here that does, but not a playground. So it would work if they just wanted to run around and throw ball and stuff, but not much if they wanted to slide/swing.

I’ll take any suggestions you may have!

Goofy Photos + Oatmeal + Charity = The Perfect Storm of Blog Awesomeness

I am not lying to you when I say that the ONE food my entire family eats? Is oatmeal. We all eat it in different ways, but there are some mornings when every single one of us has oatmeal for breakfast. MrZ just likes the plain Quick Oats version of their oatmeal while the kids and I all prefer the Maple and Brown Sugar version that comes in the packets. Yum. So, when I was asked to participate in a Quaker Oats EVENT that would allow me to compete for a chance to have Quaker Oats give $5,000 to a local foodbank? I had three words: Count. Me. In.

Here’s the dealio. There are 25 bloggers doing this thing. We each get one day to accumulate as many comments where people link to their photos on Facebook as possible. Today is my day. (Although it doesn’t officially start until 9am Central time).The winner? Will have $5,000 donated to their local foodbank from Quaker Oats.

Is there a downside to this project? NO. There is not. Oatmeal. Comments. Photos. Charity. It gets no better than this! Unless, of course, you add unicorns. Which I couldn’t do. BUT I TRIED.

Here is what you have to do:

  1. Visit Start With Substance to get to the Quaker Facebook fan page and to read the official rules.
  2. You need a Facebook page. I’m sorry in advance if you do not have one, but once you sign up? You will realize how big of an addicting time suck it is. Here is mine.
  3. Go to the Quaker Oats Facebook page. Download and print off the picture of the Quaker Oats man on the sidebar of that page.
  4. Take a picture (or video of you’re feeling adventurous) of yourself and/or your family with the Quaker Oats man.
  5. Click the “Add Photos” link on the Quaker Oats Facebook Page and upload your photo. Once it’s uploaded, get the link to that photo (which is on the bottom of the photo’s page) and leave it in the comments section here.
  6. Feel good about yourself for participating in such an awesome charity oatmeal event.

Now, Quaker Oats is sending me two Quaker Oats coupons to give away as well as sending a case of Quaker Oats oatmeal to my local foodbank as a “Thank You.” If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. If I get the most comments with valid links to Facebook photos, they’ll donate $5,000 to my local foodbank as well. So Quaker Oats? Doing their part. Now, for my part:

For every qualifying comment I get on this entry before midnight tonight, I’ll donate one can of food to my local foodbank.

So…go do your thing! And help me help my local food bank! Pretty Please with brown sugar on top…?

Get it? Brown Sugar? Because it’s OATMEAL! I’m funny!

To get you started…here’s my picture. And here’s the link to my photo on facebook.


If you want to know more, visit the Official Web Page of the Quaker Oats event. In the meantime? Get to snapping pictures of yourself with that handsome man. If you dont leave a link in my comments to your photo on Facebook before 9am Central tomorrow morning? It won’t count and I might lose and then I would cry.

The End.

(Sidenote: The blog that posted yesterday? Has the most amazing recipe using Quaker Oatmeal I think I’ve ever seen. YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT. And then make it for me because I think it’s too complicated for my novice skills.)