nickel and dime

Words of caution - review your bank account statements REGULARLY. In fact, be anal about it...after all, this is YOUR MONEY that we're talking about. My blog may only have an audience of 4 or 5 people. So what...if you're reading this (even by accident or pure boredom), then this message is meant for you.

I have been dog-tired lately. The J.O.B. is actually making me WORK for this new change that they kicked at me come raise time. So, I have been a little more than "out of it" lately. However, what I spotted on my bank statement alerted me like a shot of caffeine.

I have an active checking account back home that I have had since I was in my teens. Well, when I moved to VA, I had to open a different account at a new bank b/c the other bank does not have a brick and mortar establishment up here. With that said, I never use that debit card associated with that old account. In fact, I just keep it open b/c J's dad and my pops both have my account number and occasionally (and that's a pretty weak occasionally) deposit money into that account...well, J's dad has an automatic debit set up at his place of employment but the turn-around time for him to take action on changing something about our agreement is ridiculous. I also keep it open in the event that FEMA one day decides that they miscalculated how much I am entitled to...fat chance, maybe but that's the account number on file.

Honestly, I don't ever keep more than $300 in this account so I very rarely do any sort of online banking at the old bank. Yesterday, I was on the site b/c I was trying to verify that money from J's dad was deposited in that account recently and THAT'S when I noticed debit charges from some By.ersbooks company (supposedly out of NJ) in amounts of $6.95, $4.95, and $2.95. This is easy for me to spot b/c I don't have many monthly transactions. Well, I googled the company and came up with some forums on it being a fraudulent company, some sort of well-established ebook crime syndicate.

So, I called my bank and cancelled that debit card and started the process for filing a claim...granted, the company never charged more than $10 at a time, but that's how you get robbed in A BIG WAY b/c it's ALMOST unnoticeable. But wasn't that the plan of those dudes in that movie Offic.e Space when they wanted to rebel against the company??? Thankfully, I caught it early. As I was reading on those forums, some people noticed this stuff happening last year some time. I still don't know how my information was compromised. Some think that this scam is linked to some leak with Equifax account holders. I really have no clue, but the take-home message today, folks, is...


Thank You and good night.

anger management

Suzie B once (ok, ok...2 and 3 times) asked me, "What do you do with your anger?" I could never answer that question. I cannot even believe that I would constantly look at her in confusion when I do the same thing that I have always done...I start projects (I may not always finish them, but I DO start them). I recall writing a post about this many moons and blog names ago. I have dubbed myself the emotional decorator in about 3 recent posts, but STILL thought that my anger remained bottled up. So I said that I was pretty p*ssed off last week...and I think that I had some other emotional overload a couple of weeks ago. So, here are the results...

Here is my loft/office/laundry folding & ironing/hurry-up-and-throw-the-clutter-up-here room. I painted this green accent wall last week, I think. This is the same color that I painted my hallway. I have visions of some nice vintage prints to really set off the green wall. I have been eyeing...


I just can't stay away from these prints for some reason. I did these chocolate mini-walls too...

Yep, I don't like it. I tried to leave it be to see if it grows on me, but so far, I'm still not feeling it. I saw this "pecan" paint chip and I think that it would lighten up the space, as well, as tie into a couple of my throw pillows downstairs. We'll see, but moving on...

So, I spent the weekend repainting my kitchen....just in time for a sporadically cloudy President's day in the 'hood, lol. As I mentioned in my last post, I purchased a color named "Squash". Lordhavmercyjesusandmaryandem, I don't know why my fave "paint girl" did not pull me to the side before I strolled out of the store with that gallon of sunshine. On it's own, I like it. It's a beautiful golden yellow color fit for someone's Florida beach house, maybe. I was anxious to see the tranformation after spending hours taping and priming the walls. But after painting half of a sliver of a wall that "squash" color, I had an urge for a #2 from Mickey D's. I couldn't even bare to take a picture of that atrocity, but imagine a bright, golden yellow behind THIS...

...certainly not preserving my home's country sexy! All I needed to do was to turn my bay window into a drive-through. I might as well have married Ron.ald McDon.ald. The color that it is in this pic is some Mocha color that I settled on when my colorwashing technique went 10 different kinds of wrong. But hey, I take chances. And people...I make these mistakes so that YOU don't have to...seriously. Then, of course, I'm also letting off steam and having fun at the same time.

So, I jumped in the ride (paint-splattered sweats, chipped black and NOW golden yellow nail polish, unkempt hair, and all) and headed back to my local Home De.pot...I was having a color crisis. I think that there were at least 4 other families in the same "color crisis" predicament b/c they were crowding my space. My eyes landed on this paint chip titled "Pum.pkin But.ter" and it looked yummy! I needed something to brighten up my dark kitchen and by George, John, Paul, and Ringo, I think that I had it. And here it is...

Much better than that mocha...and that "squash", trust me. You wouldn't even believe that I have a bunch of trees to the right, blocking some of my natural light.

Best of all, it doesn't compete with my red chairs. Eventually, I want a new dinette set, but that's not in the budget for this fiscal year, lol. Hell, I want granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, a mosaic backsplash like this...

**Wipes saliva** But moving on to more pics...

Still reppin' my N.O. roots with my Bour.bon Street apron!

I love my cabinets, but I don't think that they were made to show off my Target dishes.

So, there it is. Not everyone is going to appreciate my color choices or interior design style, but they make ME (and J) our colorful personalities just fine. 'Nuff said. And my house has somewhat adopted my own personal motto...what I lack in size, I make up for in character.

Hopefully, I find another outlet to relieve tension b/c I'm running out of walls, lol.

the adventures of the emotional decorator

Anyone that knows me also knows that I could probably do without cable, but I CANNOT (ABSOLUTELY CANNOT) deal without HGTV. I do not have a TV in my bedroom, so HGTV is how I get caught up on the couch downstairs. I'm inspired every week and come up with a new project for my home. This means that I frequent Home De.pot about as much as one would frequent the club or how a kid salivates over Toys 'R Us. I have a looooonnnng list of projects that I wish to tackle but it may take 2-3 years before I get my house exactly the way that I want it.

In keeping with Friendship February, I hung out with my best work gal pal, Goth Girl, today. I saw pictures of her apartment in the Fan and was dying to see all of the architectural details in person. I like my house, but I live in the country....or maybe on the edge of the country. Ya know, a lot of trees, no street lights, hills and valleys, etc...the city things that I sacrifice for a good school district. I think that my country cottage has good bones to work with...all it needs is a little color here and there, but outside little cute stuff that I want to do, there's not much that I HAVE to do. But I walked up in Goth Girl's apartment and I was in awe. I heart older homes. I was in love with her exposed brick walls, high ceilings and hardwood floors. The details around the door trim made me jealous. And her and her hubby took chances with color...I think that my eyes danced around the wrought iron accents against her orange sherbet kitchen walls. I really liked her modern, gray spare bedroom that also housed her DJ tables. I mean, the place had character. I love walking into a home and seeing something uncommon. I was a kid in the candy store. I was inspired.

The original plan was to hit up the children's museum, but I wanted a quick tour of downtown to take in more of the city's architecture. Afterall, architectural studies was one of my minors and the love is still strong. We ended up having some Thai in this funky (in a good way) place in Ca.rytown and then walked across the street for some homemade ice cream. We FINALLY made it to the children's museum so that J could run around like he's never seen kids before. It was a nice, happy day...something that I needed after wanting to hop on one of my coworker's back on Thursday. When I had that vision, I was reminded of how my dad lost a good job by choking his supervisor after the man said something that he didn't too much like. So, I decided that I should take Friday off after waking up with a migraine...perhaps Sr. LB's hot blood was causing a blockage in my brain, lol.

But again, today was a good day. After singing a couple of tunes from "The Sound of Mu.sic" (don't ask why I know them) into this little echo thingy, I was read' to go!

Where did I head to next?

Home De.pot, lol.


I picked up some "Squash" paint for my kitchen. I HATE PAINTING MY KITCHEN. I have done it about 2 times since I moved in. I tried to do a faux finish which was good, but after 3 days, I couldn't take the colors. Then, I painted over it with some Mocha color which was the base paint for the colorwashing technique that I was trying. After painting my red wall, I 've been so bored with my kitchen and wanted a change. Hopefully, this "Squash" color is where it's at. It's such a shame b/c the "paint girl" totally knows me and J by now. And I always meet 50-60 y/o women that like to trade decorating war stories. But today, I met a man... old a$$ man that could've pimped with my daddy.

I've heard tales of women getting picked up in Home De.pot, but I live in a family-oriented, older, predominantly yt neighborhood...never happens to me. I saw this man on one aisle but kept it rolling, b/c when I see gray hair, there's really not much else to say. I picked up some floor heaters and then I saw this dude approaching me...I was wishing that I carried mace. He asked me where I got my floor heaters from. I pointed and kept it moving. I've been wanting a bistro set for my porch, so I was hoping to catch something cute and on sale. He walked up on me AGAIN...with no floor heaters in hand. He asked me if I knew such things would work for big rooms. Hell, I JUST put these things in my buggy so I knew about as much as he did, but then I found it strange that he would walk across the store to ask me that. Yep, I am a little slow. Getting approached is not even blogworthy to me, but when he said...

"Hey, I wish that you could call me and let me know if those things work. I mean, I don't want to spend $9 outright. Do you think that you can call me?"

...I mean, that should win the lame-a$$ line award. If 9 bux is gon' set you back THAT much to where you need MY consumer report, then you really need not talk to me.

And THIS is what I attract nowadays.

Yep, I will be painting the HELL outta my kitchen tonight. Pics coming soon.


Back in the day, I had an internship in the petroleum industry, a subsidiary of She.ll. I have to say that it was one of the most boring jobs that I ever had, but I used to work on Poy.dras (the N.O. version of Wall.street, lol) with a lot of my friends at the time. So, I guess that THAT and the $20/hr (for a college student) made it rather bearable. They mostly gave me "busy work", but I remember running my mouth to one of my mentors there and asking for some hard core engineering tasks. Next thing I know, they put my a$$ on a helicopter en route to an oil rig, smack dab in the middle of the Gulf of Mex.ico.

I was scurred!!! I remember calling my momma to remind her of what I was wearing and telling her to send the search party to somewhere-unknown, U.S.A. b/c that's where I was headed if this rinky-dink thing dropped. I think that my knees knocked during that whole flight b/c this mess wasn't nowhere near as smooth a ride as some Del.ta or Ame.rican Airlines 747. But once I got out there, it wasn't half bad. Granted, I was the only female out there (and I'm a pretty small woman, at that), but this was where people that looked like me worked...a hard shift from the office where I stuck out like a sore thumb being young, black, and female. Out there, well, I was just small and female. But those men were just as happy to see see "us" represented amongst the hard hats and company polos. I think that the other polos were shocked to see how well I was treated. The gentlemen on the rig could relate to me b/c I actually talked TO them and not AT them. I soon realized that the people that truly had the answers weren't the ones in air-conditioned offices crunching numbers and simulating models. They were the ones that were actually out there grinding. And you know what? I learned how to advance.

And then I had an incident back at the office. There was a blockage in one of the pipelines. My mentor strolled up to my desk with a manila folder, plopped it down, and said take care of it. I was thinking, "WTF?" This wasn't a situation that "my boys" could help me with. So, I tried to contact (let's call him) Mr. Jones at one of the stations close to the obstruction. Mr. Dumb-A$$ kept answering the phone but he would tell me that Mr. Jones wasn't available for one reason or another. Much time went by and this man had NO PLANS of returning my calls. So, I said that I'd just have to be a nuisance b/c no one is going to keep me from doing my job. Mr. Dumb-A$$ answered the phone and was immediately annoyed to hear my voice again. He put me on hold, or so he THOUGHT, he put me on hold. Then I heard:

Dumb-A$$: Hey, this woman keeps on calling you.
Mr. Jones: Awww hell, again? Do you know what for?
Dumb-A$$: I don't know but she sounds like a BLACK woman.
Mr. Jones: A black woman?
Dumb-A$$: Yeah, what do you want me to tell her?
Mr. Jones: I'll just get her off the phone.

I.WAS.FLOORED. What in the hell does my being black have to do with the cost of tea in China?

And then Mr. Jones got on the line and spoke to me as if he hadn't been dodging my calls. I was still in shock and ANGRY b/c I didn't know if it was appropriate for me to confront him right then and there. I kept my cool but as soon as I hung up the phone, I marched my a$$ right up to someone in HR and asked them to refresh my memory on racism in the workplace. I was ready to take action. At the end of the investigation, the company decided that Dumb-A$$ and Mr. Jones should apologize to me. My response:

Keep it.

I got what I needed from this and some phony "I'm sorry" was only going to annoy all of us. But you know what? I learned to remain professional during the heat of the moment.

Fast-forward many years and positions...

I like my job. It provides my needs during this season. I said to myself that I wouldn't mention Jesse's name again on blog for 2008. My bad. Overall, I have been dealing with the situation pretty well in the last couple of months, but that's b/c I have been doing my best to avoid him. One morning, it was so sad. I pulled into the parking lot and saw that he was parking his truck at the end of the lot, where the remaining employee spaces were. Instead of having to do that uncomfortable walk towards the building, I parked in a visitor's spot and practically rolled over my car, a la of Hazz.ard, to get inside. For many days, he was constantly placed in my path and I damn-near tripped over my own feet to keep from having to greet him. It was obvious that I wasn't trying to speak, but he would try to engage me in conversation anyway. I have been more than "short" with him, while still attempting to appear unaffected.

And then today I had class. I knew that he registered for this class, so I figured that if I got there early and sat up front, I wouldn't be forced to look at him. As luck would have it, he sat behind me. Oh joy. I was enjoying myself in this class until the teacher said that she wanted us to do an pairs. I looked up in the sky, as if God saw me giving Him the evil eye b/c I knew it was coming.

"LB? How about you and Jesse pair up?"

My mind was screaming, "F*CK!!! What is the dayum deal??!!! Do I have to quit to get away from this dude?"

I know God heard that F-bomb in my head. But Geez! I know that I initiated our end and everything but I felt no power from that. I still felt as if Jesse saw a weak side of me and one of the reasons that I chose to avoid him is b/c I still feel embarrassed...I feel that he saw too much of me. And if I avoid him to the point of indifference, then what happened never really happened...heck, we never happened.

But today, I looked this mofo in his face and...I felt nothing. I could tell that I made him uncomfortable b/c I was smiling but it was all I could do to complete the task. We made a good team, in the end. Will we ever be friends? That is not my goal. At this moment, I'm just glad that I don't feel this mad churning in my stomach or an ache in my heart. I'm just glad that I can look him in his face and know that he doesn't have the same power over my emotions...or that something inside of me won't allow him to. And you know what? I learned that it is best to face your issues head on. Avoiding them WILL make them go away, but that's only until they resurface.

Challenges are like fortune cookies. Once you crack them, that's where the fortune lies.

blacktop cred

So, I spent the weekend with K-Rizzy and I miss my girl already! Her visit was the kickoff event to what I have officially dubbed as "Friendship February"...when I ATTEMPT to create, reconnect and revive friendships. I am coming to realize that sometimes I can be friendship-challenged. I am VERY friendly, personable...but when it comes to bonding with new people and nurturing new relationships, I am not that good at it. I have my core of good friends that I have known for over a decade. And when one falls off the map, it's cool b/c eventually we will pick up where we left off. You can't really disappear with new friends. I swear that I don't do it on purpose. I get wrapped up in something or simply nothing at all. And then I find that I have less patience with new people. For instance, there's this one woman who just calls to spit her monologue. She cuts me off when I talk, rambles on and ON about stuff that's just 10 kinds of wrong, and seems rather drama-filled. She's not ALL bad and I wish that I could just bring myself to roll out with her for a time or 2, but she's so heavy (heavy, in the sense that she has so much drama going on). So considering my options, I'm not sure how the next 3 weekends in February are going to play out, but we'll see.

Anyway, K-Rizzy (who's a play ther.apist) and I were talking today and she was telling a story about some 4 y/o child that she counsels, who has an obsession with God.zilla. He has taken to jumping off furniture and onto other children and just recently got in trouble for punching some kid in the eye (which he claims was self-defense). When the child's father came to the school, he goes through great trouble to try and intimidate the little boy and tell him that he's just going to have to beat him when they get home. I bust out laughing for 2 reasons: never in my life would I tell J, IN FRONT OF teachers/counselors i.e. people mandated to call the authorities if they suspect abuse, that I was going to beat his butt when we got home. That's not to say that I won't do it (spank him, that is), I'll just wait until we get in the car or something to put the fear on his mind, I mean, still far enough away from home for him to sweat the idea of getting wore out. And the second reason that I laughed was b/c K-Rizzy had this counselor approach to disciplining children KNOWING that we came up in similar households that believed that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. I think it's great to see my little Oprah all grown up. I just can't wait to see her interact with her kids.

J is a lot like me and I am a lot like my momma. I can count on one hand how many times that I have had to lay the smack down and on that same hand, count how many times I got whipped for something...and maybe I have to borrow 2 fingers from the other hand, but you get the picture right? I never got whipped for the same thing twice and usually the time before the first smack on my bottom was enough for me to say, "OK, I get it. Won't happen again." All in all, we both haven't been "dealt with" much. I remember being extremely sensitive growing up. B/C I didn't get in trouble much at home, I couldn't handle it when a teacher or some authority figure tried to discipline me away from home. My feelings got hurt easily and I would probably get teary-eyed before someone even touched me. I see that he is a bit on the senstive side too and all it takes is one octave above my regular speaking voice and his feelings are automatically hurt. What's funny is that I'll see him tear up and then he'll walk off to try to clean it up...I guess that's his way of trying to remain strong and whatnot. It's cool b/c I let him have his moment. What works in my household may not work in anyone else's but I find that a stern talking to and taking away the things that he loves usually works. I'm not above whipping him b/c certainly, if the situation calls for it, there are no amount of tears that will save him from a good "James Evans type correcting." And if the situation involves him terrorizing other kids, he has officially signed off for a Category get the picture. My handle is LB and I got whipped and I'm a productive member of society.

And then we got off into self-defense. She disagreed with instructing your kids to retaliate. I've had this conversation with J before. I told him that if someone was bothering him, he should tell the teacher. I DID say that. But I also said that if she does nothing or if her punishment of that person doesn't prevent them from bothering you, you have my permission to lay them out. It was the same thing my momma told me and to this day, I see nothing wrong with it. I'm not trying to take the power away from the teacher. I just think that you have to establish "blacktop cred", if you will. I can't be near the monkey bars, ready to snatch a child up by the collar if I see them touching my baby. So, in the event that something goes down, I have no problem with him making an example/believer out of that kid and dropping him...and this is AFTER he has exhausted his other options. The kid will stop pestering him and the message will be understood by the others.

I recall being in a fist fight with this REALLY annoying boy in 6th grade. He lived to bully, made his rounds daily. He used to play those stupid "I like you and I don't know how to express myself other than pulling your hair" type games. He caught me on the wrong morning one time and he said something off the wall. I don't know if my house didn't have my favorite cereal that morning or what, but it didn't take much for him to push my buttons. I remember we got into an argument and then he hit me. Now, I'm not a fighter...short of kicking my dad in the groin, fighting was never my thing. But for some reason, telling the teacher that I got hit didn't seem appropriate at the time. I almost felt like that was expected, b/c I was always the teacher's pet. So, I hit him back. He was shocked, needless to say. So shocked that he socked me in the eye and knocked my glasses off of my face. I swear fo' lawd when everything got blurry, something inside me snapped. The sound of my glasses hitting the floor was like ringing the bell to a greater audience. When there are all those eyes on you, you feel the pressure. But I got pi$$ed b/c he knocked the lens out of my glasses and I just commenced to only concern being that I don't fall. I remember thinking, "Mayne, we sure have been fighting for a while...when the hell is a teacher gonna step up and pull us apart, b/c I'm tired." To say that that was my first fight and I was somewhat blind, I was doing pretty well. And then what made it better is that dude slipped and it looked like I dropped him...perhaps another kid tripped him. Sweet Victory...and THAT'S when the teacher wanted to pull us apart. To this day, I think she was tired of his annoying behind and secretly rooted for me to give him one good, old-fashioned a$$ whipping too.

I sweat that fight the WHOLE day. I just knew that I was in trouble. I had a whole day to think about the many ways that my momma was gonna tear me up. But what's weird is that Ms. So-n-So never called her and when my momma came to pick me up, the teacher didn't even open her mouth. But b/c my sensitive behind was still wound up, I bust out crying in the car. So moms parked the car and asked Ms. So-n-So what happened. And this is why it pays to be a good kid. The teacher said that the boy "probably" started something with me and I reacted...brushed it off like it was no big deal. In fact, I'm convinced that she wanted me to whip his a$$ now that I'm re-telling the story. I don't remember much of their conversation, but when moms and I got in the car, she started laughing. I was mad b/c I spent the whole day being scared and she thought that mess was funny. She said, "So, Ms. So-n-So said that you wiped the floor with that boy." This woman seemed proud. But she said, "I bet that'll get him to stop messing with you." And she was right. He stopped talking to me altogether. I guess that he didn't like me anymore.

In the world of parenthood, discipline and defense are some touchy subjects. In the end, I think that most of us have the best of intentions. I just want my J to be able to hold his own and know that he is not to fear anyone or anything...aside from my Category get the picture...if he starts acting out of line.