Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Ventured out to the mall yesterday in a fit of cabin fever. Just browsing through the stores when this friendly sales woman came up and asked me if I had heard of their new product-"Smiley"- complete with white and yellow packaging.

"It's great!' She gushed. "Can I spray some on you?"
"No, thanks I'm already wearing perfume."
"Oh, it's okay it works with your perfume and changes it slightly." Smile. "It's what they call a psycho-perfume. It has pheromones that make you happy and those around you happy." She gushed on about how it calms her boyfriend and how he loves it and makes him want to sit near her-she leans into me to demonstrate all aglow. "It will calm your coworkers and make everyone around you happy."
"I'll try it," my daughter pipes up. She gets a squirt.
"Lovely, isn't it?" Sales woman holds out her arm to me. I sniff. It's okay...kind of lemony. "It smells different on everyone. what you smell on me is not what it will smell like on you or her." Points to daughter.
Curious I give in. "Okay, spray my wrist." Sales woman happy to oblige squirts. I blink.
"All this and it's only $42."
At which point I smile back. "Sounds like a lot of happiness for a little dough. We'll think about it." I grab my daughter and steer her out of store.

Two stores beyond and my daughter is pouting and grumpy.
"What is it?"
"This perfume is making me crazy and grumpy!" she declares.
I note that it does seem to be getting stronger with each passing moment. "We'll go wash it off."
Arrive in restroom to discover "Smiley" has turned my wrist black...as if I've brushed up against a giant ink well. Yikes! (Seems I am allergic to happiness.)

I scrub with soap and water-the black comes off but the scent lingers. I sigh. "I can still smell it."
My daughter sniffs her arm and makes a face. "Oh, me, too!"
"Wow, she did say it doesn't go away like other perfumes. Guess we have to tough it out." we both have grumpy faces.

The scent is gone now, thank God. So much for mall therapy. You know- it might make some people happy but it appears I'm not the "smiley" kind.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I have the best friends... seriously. If you find yourself a crazy girl in a crazy world, do yourself a favor and find some great friends.

They not only support you, but give you the best advice. I'll pass on one such piece of advice I heard today- things in life are not depressing...they are interesting... :)

I like that...interesting. It makes it sound...well, better. So I have decided that from now on my life is interesting. No matter what happens. The very idea makes me smile.

I shall not go softly into the night-no, I'll put on a bright yellow top hat and tap shoes and dance loudly into the night. At the very least it will be interesting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An American Idiot

So- the job at my old home town has been filled...which I knew the day the guy e-mailed me and asked me to lunch, but which well meaning friends tried to turn into a request for a second interview.

I am looking through job boards- feeling like an idiot. I put my whole life into creating a family-even though I know kids leave- I fearlessly thought what I built with my husband would last-I stupidly did not pursue a Master's degree-thinking that if I worked hard enough at writing fiction and getting published I could make a career of that... idiot...

Kind of like watching the kids on American Idol who can't carry a tune in a bucket pouring their whole lives into a dream. Where was Simon Cowl (SIC?) when I started writing? Someone, anyone to smack me up side the head and tell me to go get an MBA...

Only, like those kids don't listen to Simon, I doubt I would have either- I mean, I didn't listen to the naysayers... I simple knew that if only I tried a little harder...like the kids who burst out into a second song to prove that they can in fact sing, but only show how far they have to go...I would make it. We are all American Idiots.

As for me- am currently mailing off yet another book proposal-while debating if I can even get into Grad school-if so, where- and at what cost...then wondering if anyone would hire a woman approaching 50 straight out of grad school...odds are better that I'll hit the Best Seller lists.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Yesterday was my 24th wedding anniversary...no mention was made of it.

Sad- I can't even divorce a guy right.

Today, I'm back to searching the job boards- knowing full well everyone else is glued to the television.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Going to the Mattresses...

Okay- I will admit that I am scared-and upset- so, I want to fight, fight fight. All I can do is bounce around like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" and punch the air.

This guy threatened to go to the newspapers and tell them we are the ones running the business from our home- so my wise-ass mind starts writing headlines:

"Desperate housewife runs escort service from cul de sac."

"Romance writer does more then pen porn."

"Novelist learns no money in writing, turns to more lucrative business."

"From Romance Author to Madame in two easy steps."

"Downturn in economy causes more "home-based" businesses to thrive."

I could go on...but I won't. We got more calls last night. The guy had an Indian accent. Now, why does that seem funny to me? Does it seem funny to you? Ok, seriously, try to imagine a man with an Indian accent soliciting sex... all I can do is chuckle...

Have decided to change the message on my answering machine. Am thinking about the following:

Beep- "You have reached a private residence with caller ID. Please note that all calls and phone numbers are being recorded and may be used as evidence in an on-going police investigation. Please leave your name and address at the beep. A friendly officer will be happy to get in touch with you."

What do you think?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh, now funny awful has turned creepy awful

So, I inform my friends and family about the situation with the "escort service" and my phone number.

Most agree-it's so awful, it's funny. Most say, "get a lawyer and get some big bucks from this guy and the phone company."

Others worry- it's a phone scam- like identity theft- I'm told to call the FBI Crime Task force ASAP.... Hmmm- I don't think this is a scam- what is the pay off? This guy gave me his name, his business and his phone number.

Still to be safe, we call the Phone company- they deny everything-(Which they would since they don't want a law suit.) We put a lock on our account. I google the porn guy's company-it pops up on a yellow pages listing...hmmm. I google the guy- yikes! He pops up in newspaper articles as having been convicted by the Feds in Denver in 2000-plead guilty for racketeering and running an escort service out of Toronto for cities such as Denver, Chicago, and New York.

We call the local FBI-what do they say? *shrug* "No laws have been broken. Get a lawyer and try to get ten grand out of the guy."

OKAAAAAY- porn guy sends us an e-mailed contract to sign where he will pay our phone bill for six months if we give him all the rights to our phone number. Guy calls and leaves message-we don't want to talk to him. He calls at midnight and 2 am. We send back an e-mail telling him we'll have our lawyers look it over and get back to him.

Things heat up-more calls come in-we screen calls-get two requests for escorts-one guy says he wants our address so he can pick the girl up... suspiciously shortly after-porn guy calls-leaves message-calmly tells us that his Internet ad is up already-displayed Prominently on google-is our address along with our phone number- if we don't act soon people will be coming by the house.

We are told by friends-this is a phone scam- don't rely on phone company's customer service- call the fraud line. We call fraud line-Get This...

Nice guy named Chad answers- his is shocked by my story- he says- call the cops! "Wait!" I say after waiting 5 minutes on line to get Chad. "I was told by friends you could help me." He has never heard of such a story- he says it sounds like something out of a thriller-

Yeah- I'm a writer, I telll him but I'm not making this up. Can he help me? He consults with his bosses- he comes back- we all agree you need to call the cops.

"Can't you put a block on this guy's calls?"
"Yeah, but not the rest of the calls...and we can't block anything until you have a police case file number."

"Really," he says. "If I could I would go punch this guy in the face-but there is nothing I can do. You need to call the cops."

"So, this is not a phone scam."
"Not one anyone hear has heard of-"
"but you're the fraud department."
"I usually deal with calls like, how come my bill is so high this month..."
Poor nice Chad wishes me luck -and wishes he could find out what happens next...and tells me to write the book so he can read the ending...

Convinced this is real- despite the Feds nonchalance-I call the cops. My daughter is wigged out by the idea of creepy men driving by our house looking for sex.

Local cop comes to take our story- nice guy- calm...he has a gun and a bullet proof vest-yeah, I'd be calm, too...He takes all the info- he agrees -this is not a scam. This is a real bad guy with a mixed up number-who is losing business every day we don't comply with his wishes. Cop says with grin-"Let them come to your house. We want them to come to your house. So we can show up and ask them what they are doing..."

Then he tells us what everyone else has told us- get a lawyer and sue this guy for ten grand. In the meantime, tell neighbors- and don't be afraid to call 911 should any stranger show up at the house.

So-once my soon-to-be ex husband is home-we plug phone back in - guy calls. H tells him that things have changed- we've been getting calls- as he told us people will be coming by- this is a bigger hastle than he let on initially-our lawyer says we need more money. Porn guy blows up!!! Cursing ensues-threats are made:

"I will make your life a living hell. I will inform everyone at your work, your wife's work, your kids work that your number is for an escort service..." To which we answer with a laugh-hell, we've already told everyone.

"I will call the cops and tell them you are running a prostitution ring out of your home." We laugh-but don't' tell him we already told the cops.

"He claims he is Italian and knows people who can come by and hurt us."

"He tells H to think about what our daughter will think when a guy shows up at the door asking her to suck his...." H laughs-daughter will kick said guy's ass- after she calls 911 of course.

"What do we want?" "Ten grand." Guy screams we are shaking him down. We aren't people of our word-"What?" we say, "You told us to check with our lawyer-we did. He said ten grand." cursing and more threats ensue. He tells us -he didn't do this the phone company did- we tell him to send us proof the phone company did and we'll gladly go to the phone company about pain and suffering. He curses and throws out phony contract numbers but refuses to send us copies of the actual paperwork...

Sounds like he messed up- not them. Either way- we didn't make this mess-if he wants our number he will have to pay us. Yikes! He goes bananas-

I hang up phone. We call nice cop. We report threats- cop takes it all in stride-says we are right this guy has done 21 months in the clinker for this stuff- Cop has contact in FBI and he lets us know people are getting involved. Meanwhile guy keeps calling back. We simply unplug phone. We have cell phones-land line can go to message.

So- don't call my landline-I won't answer.

Later H checked messages- says guy has calmed down-seems porn guy has addressed me-(Can you hear the snaky slither?) He is nice guy-explaining to sweet wife that H has not fully told me what will happen if we don't comply-how my "sexy little voice" on the answering machine will only draw more calls and unsavory people to the house...

Later we get e-mail from guy-threatening that if we don't sign within 24 hours we will lose any chance of being compensated- as he will work something out with phone company. Good we think- if he gets phone comany to compensate him-all the better for us...

Get up this morning-plug phone in to check messages- more calls for escorts-and a call from a woman looking for work...

Now-I believe this guy is having his friends and employees call to strong arm us. He claims we will come crawling back to him in a week begging him to take our number. What? Stupid. We don't need his money. We don't need our land line. We have cell phones. We have cops.

We have also decided that we will keep the number for a few weeks-as it's his business that's being harmed not us. We'll simply unplug phone and check messages twice a day.

Creepy yes- ickie-yep- kind of like finding a rat in your house. I'll keep you posted. Oh, and Yeah-and I'm taking notes for the true crime story I'm going to write... do you think Oprah will want to interview me?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Help, I've become trapped in a badly written sitcom

okay- seriously...

Was woken up at 3 a.m. by a phone call-from Arizona. I don't know anyone from Arizona. So I let it go to voice mail where any idiot will see from the answer machine that they got the wrong number. Nope. Two minutes later the phone rings again. I answer it- "Hello?" A pause then a man asks, "Is this xxx-xxx-xxxx?"
Another pause as if he can't understand that I'm not who he thought. So, I say, "It's 3 a.m. here."
"Oh, sorry, I have the wrong number." He hangs up.

Whatever- I go back to bed- then the phone rings again at 4:30 a.m. - this time- "Hello?" No answer. "Hello?" No answer. "Hello!" Hang up.

By this time the entire household is up for the morning. Grumpy. Let dogs out. Make coffee.

I finally give in to take a nap at 1 p.m. when the damn phone rings- again with Arizona. I let it go to message.

They call back twice at 5 p.m. This time they leave a message.

It seems that a world wide entertainment company- as in adult escort service - was erroneously assigned my phone number for their company. Last night's calls were their beta tests before they go live. My number has been published in 7,000 publications world wide. They warn I may be getting as many at 3,000 to 5,000 calls a day. What do they want? They want me to change my number so they don't have to lose the hundred thousand or so they spent on publications-and so that I don't get "unsavory" calls the rest of my life. In exchange they'll pay my phone bill for six months- whatever. My soon-to-be-ex-husband found it quite funny.

But here's the deal I have over 800 resumes out over the last year with my phone number in big letters across the top. Let's say they like my qualifications and give me a call...who are they going to get? World wide adult escort service...

I could not possibly make this up.

I will have to send out notices of change of phone number to over 800 companies with the hopes that they get filed along with my resume. My publisher will have to be notified. My banks. My freelance work. My writing associations.

And still- we all know that someone, somewhere is going to try to call me and get...yeah.

Somebody said something about Mercury in retrograde until Feb. 4th. Will be interesting to see what happens next.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why doesn't someone just shoot me now?

I went out today and did something no depressed, middle aged woman should have to do...

I went jean shopping. UGH!

I know, I know, all women have problems fitting jeans. Well, we do. Men can just pull their waist size and leg length off the shelf, put them on and voila! They look like a million bucks.

Don't even get me started. I tried on 12 pair... 12 pair only to re-enforce the sad fact that my pant size is one size larger than my skirt size. Why? Because I'm long waisted. The rise on a pair of jeans stops at my hip, not my waist. Even so called high-waisted jeans end two inches below my belly button. This leads to all kinds of fit problems. Finally, I found a pair that sort of looks decent-well, the waist fits-three inches below my belly button. The rest is far from fitted, but since the style is wide legged, it sort of looks okay.

So I bought them... to end the torture of trying on more jeans. Then came home and promptly pulled my sweat pants with the drawstring waist. Now, where's the chocolate?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Another week down

Headline: Joblessness is on the rise.
Headline: Thousands more jobs to be lost.
Headline: Could see double digit unemployment.

Sigh- so cheerful, these journalists are. I think because a lot of papers are making deep cuts and journalists are the unemployed these days. So, they're running around squawking like Chicken Little that the sky is falling. Duh.

Good news- I applied for three jobs this week. Bad news-I avoided two others-wince- avoided as in knew I qualified but really, really didn't want to go there. So much so that I found myself outside for over an hour the other day, ice picking frozen dog poo off the frozen ground instead of inside-in the warmth with my computer-sending out resumes. Crazy!

Yes, yes, in this economy, what I want doesn't matter much. I'm not getting any younger- and that makes things worse. Yes, I'll march myself back to those two jobs and apply-sigh.

It sucks to be a grown up.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Does anyone follow this blog?

I've been told that I should use the gadget that allows people to sign up to follow this blog. I'm a bit afraid of that gadget. What if no one signs up? What if it sits for months begging someone, any one, to follow this blog? Maybe I'll add the gadget. Just to see if there are people so bored as to want to read a blog about a forty something woman starting over-without a job- or a million dollar mansion or a housekeeper or a nanny... Hollywood wouldn't believe it were true. :)

So, I'm adding the gadget today. We'll see if anyone owns up to reading. (If you prefer to lurk-that's fine. I don't mind lurking-it's the smirking and pointing while laughing that piss me off...)

Oh, by the way, I applied for a job last week-surprise. It was for a Marketing Services Manager for a company who hosts meetings and travel. And, remember the company I interviewed with in my old home town? The one where the guy wanted to go to lunch with me? I actually heard from the HR Director-a generic e-mail explaining that, no, the job has not yet been filled and would not be filled during the holidays-so happy new year, everyone... (Crazy, I applied in September. Sounds like this is one of those companies where it takes 6 months to get someone to take any action. Sigh.)

Maybe things will pick up this week... a girl can hope.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New year, new you

I imagined I'd get up this morning with a sense of renewed purpose. That some how a new calendar date would change my life.

I cleaned my office. Readied my tax receipts and inventories and went through the half inch tall stack of papers listing all the jobs I applied for last year. The stack of notes from phone interviews. The pitches I had written before going in to face to face interviews. All in all, its about the saddest thing I've done in a long time. For the new year, you are supposed to list three big accomplishments. Then three disappointments. Then look at how you are limiting yourself and creating disappointments.

Successes: I wrote two proposals and two full books. I sent out fifteen query letters. I promoted myself by writing articles, meeting editors and agents, blogging and joining various on-line social forums. I applied for 27 pages (yes, that's right PAGES- as in 8 x11 inch sheets) worth of jobs. I traveled by train, car and airplane to interviews. I wrote sample articles, communications plans and prepared pitches. I made over two gallons of strawberry freezer jam.

Disappointments: My marriage ended. I am still unemployed after 14 months. My career as an author is no farther off the ground.

How did I limit myself? God knows. I'm sure there is someone out there more than happy to tell me how I'm screwing up. I have over fifty rejections - both job hunt and writing- in hand to prove it.

Wow- now you're supposed to list goals for the new year... I think mine might be to figure out why what I see as success only brings me disappointment.