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Funk That


It's Wednesday night, and I'm in a funk.

So I decided to do something differently this time and write down on a huge Staples Stickies pad in my purple Sharpie Flip Chart marker every. single. thing. that made me SMAD.

You know: sad + mad = SMAD.

I came up with a list of 47 things. 47 things! That's more years than I've lived!

The tears began to trickle at #3, and yet I kept going until 44 more purply problems poured out into my puddle of pitiful tears. #alliteration

That's how many things were clogging my heart, my soul, my brain, causing my body to shut down into SMAD Mode. Like a hangover or when your WiFi is crappy.


Some Things I Expected:

  • my PTSD, depression, and anxiety

  • relapses with my "disordered eating"

  • how funking unfair Life is

  • how after 12+ years I still think of my mom more than twice a day

  • how I regret not going to U of M

  • how my sister lives 4,477 miles away from me

  • am I parenting "right"? / am I "good" mom?

Some Things I Didn't Expect:

  • why can't I fix my wobbly coffee table?

  • why does my Masters +30 salary never seem to help me "get ahead"? What is the opposite of inflation and when is that going to happen?

  • why haven't I made a new vision board lately? Is it because I don't know what I want or is it because I just want Life to surprise me?

  • why can't I feel totally confident in my 42-year-old skin?

  • why do I prefer to text and type my real feelings?

  • why do I feel like I can't eat pasta when I love carbs?

  • why do I have to unclog the toilet, again?

Never thought I'd have something in common with a toilet, but it turns out we're both clogged with shit.

Funk That.

I'm 42. The average lifespan of a woman my age is 78.54 years. (.54...really? ) Which means that if I'm lucky, I've got about 36 years left.

Ironically, that does not make me SMAD.


Because all 47 items show a life fully lived: it's the good and the bad that make a life.

Here's something super interesting that my Seminar students love. Watch the whole thing or just minute 1-1:45 to get the gist: most people want to live a life filled with the good and the bad. Not just the good.

So I have this funky shit list. Now what?


"Neutralize": a thing that Life Coaches bill you a lot for, but that your brain can actually do on it's own. #shocking Think of a two-sided coin. Pros and Cons. For every Con in your life, you can reframe it into a Pro. Or Negative into a Positive if you're into that kind of ion thing. Did I use ion right? Speaking of the periodic cute is this?

Cute Sweatshirt:

Okay I may not know how to ionize, but I know how to neutralize.

Take for example #22 on my list: I won't be able to surprise my kids with the car they want tied up with a big red bow.

Unless I hit it big.


I will be able to surprise them with my 2019 Equinox, covered with Frankie's fine black dog hair.

And that's fine by me for lots of good reasons.

  1. They'll have a car to drive

  2. They watch me work my budget, pay my bills, ask good financial questions (liquid?) and walk around our nearby dealerships exploring sticker prices #stickershock

  3. They're learning to use the Investment option on their Greenlight cards. (Mady just bought shares of the S&P 500 Vanguard ETF (VOO) option. And she's still just 13. #proudmom)

  4. They are cultivating the foundation of a work ethic. Even if they don't love their first jobs (i.e. Mady babysitting), it pushes them towards their second, then their third, and then the Great Beyond

  5. It makes them want to attend college. Even with student loans, college is an investment that pays off in the long term (@ramit).

See? I just earned +5 for my -1, which is 4 ahead. #winning

For an English major, I'm getting pretty savvy with numbers. And numbers are paramount to everything I mentioned above. And I want to be as financially savvy as I can (since worrying about money was obviously on my list), so I read as much as I can.

But it turns out there's this guy who's already done all the hard work for me, and he speaks in words that I understand. Meet Ramit (@ramit). He's cool. We're going to be friends someday, he just doesn't know it yet.


A big part of my funk had to do with money, obviously. Because my son's ceiling succumbed to what's called "heat expansion", nearly collapsing, which mesmerized my engineer-minded brother since he'd..."only ever heard of that and never actually seen it".

Great. Grand. Wonderful. Should I have given tours?

I basically had two options as a single mom - or as I like to proclaim to the IRS: HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD, bitches.

1-File an insurance claim, which would cost me more in the long run.


2-Find a contractor who could fix it within my budget - since I'd be willing to do half of the labor myself.

I chose Door #2. (I really tried to work the word ceiling in here as word pun, but some things just don't fit. Like my first contractor.)

Not only did he leave the job half done, but it was totally half-assed: insulation all over my son's carpeting like a heavy pink poisonous snowfall, ceiling panels that weren't aligned, nor even screwed in all of the way - like a dress a size too small that you just can't zip. And then - like a bad date, he never called me back.

So, I Chicken Little'd my message: MY CEILING IS FALLING! MY CEILING IS FALLING! to family, friends, social media, and word of mouth - creating my battalion.

I got lots of leads, but I'm always leery of hiring contractors I don't know.

The past two contractors I've hired have either hit on me or, well...hit on me. Hence #18 on my list: "Home projects turning into unwanted solicitations".

I know most women would find this complimentary and flattering, and are probably hating me right now for even having men hit on me. I don't know what to say. I don't like it. I just don't. It's annoying.

I'm not on Bumble, I'm on Angie's List. Have a halo.

And I don't give off flirty vibes! I'm so cold, I'm Elsa. No, she's too fancy.

I'm Olaf!

Yes, definitely Olaf: cold and goofy.

Ready for something even more crazy?

Some poker-faced divorcees have a phrase for flirting to get quotes down: "playing the single mom card".

But I have other cards: my debit and my credit. And unlike Lady Gaga, I don't have much of a poker face.

I show my cards, and I pay my bills - my only discounts coming from Honey in my browser or coupons from Meijer and Kroger.

But I didn't have any coupons for Lance's room. No contractor either.

So I started YouTubing smaller projects until I found somebody.

Like how to unclog a toilet using an auger. Sure I saved a lot in plumbing fees, but incurred some serious Shawshank-ness. (Seriously holding myself back from so many shitty puns here.)

In the interim, Lance had built himself quite the man cave in our finished basement: queen mattress on the floor with nice bedding, his Xbox, quite the snack spread across my home office table.

He was in no hurry to get back into his bedroom.

But I was.

  1. I got advice from YouTube and my battallion

  2. I went to Home Depot

  3. I basically jimmy-rig a homemade #hazmat suit

  4. I cleaned up ALL of the insulation on the floor

  5. I found some help - a referral from a friend - who'd do the work I couldn't

  6. I painted the room myself

  7. I opened a 12 month interest free Home Depot card to pay for the new carpeting his room needed to abate the insulation invasion; and I used Ramit's book to do the math to pay it off before the interest kicks in, budget adjusted

  8. See 9

  9. See 10

  10. There you have it! 10 steps!

Lance stopped sleeping in his man cave and helped move everything back into his room.

The sky wasn't falling!

And that's the point of all of this.

Whenever you feel a FUNK THIS coming on, just remember:

  1. THE SKY ISN'T FALLING even when it feels like it is

  2. Women are meant to shatter ceilings anyway

  3. Ask for help; be not proud. You have a battalion whether you know them or not-they're out there

  4. "Things don't matter. People matter." Thanks, Randy Pausch. Nobody got hurt.

  5. My budget will recover, thanks Ramit.


And you can, too.

Especially with some big purple Sharpies and giant sticky note pads with Bruno in the background.



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