Recession Mama

{August 14, 2009}   Oh Happy Weekend!

–by Carla

It’s been alooooong week. Toddler Boy is smack dab in the middle of the Terrible Two’s. I’m this close to throwing in the towel. You win, sweet boy. Watch as much TV as you wish, eat whatever (or how little) you want, sit in your dirty diaper all day and never nap again. You win. And now they BOTH have tiny, little, not-very-cute, matching colds.  

Anyhoooooooooooooooo, like I said, it’s been a long week.

It’s also been just over one week since the most shocking round of layoffs in Dallas/Fort Worth media I can personally recall, with Brad Barton and Mark Watkins being let go from CBS news/talk radio station KRLD 1080AM (from where I was let go back in December).

As you know from my previous posts, I’m close with Mark and Brad (I had the great honor to have anchored alongside both), and Brad and his family are close personal friends of mine and my family. In fact, we’re getting together tonight for coffee and dessert…our first real chance to sit down and talk since his layoff. Brad and Brenda were here at the house within a week of my layoff….something for which I am eternally grateful.

The upside of being laid off: You have heaps of time to get together with friends and family and reconnect with people. I’ve met more of my neighbors in the past 8 months than I had in the almost 6 years we’ve been here. And most of THEM have been laid off, too.

How crazy is that!?


{July 31, 2009}   Bigger Is Better, Right?

–By Carla

On any given day, odds are that something totally ridiculous is clogging up my brain, taking up space where other, more useful stuff should go. Clogging up my brain right now, for instance (and in no particular order): I’d like to find a way to cover the jetted garden tub in the master bath and use that space for storage; how dangerous is chlorinated pool water?; where do June bugs go the rest of the year?; and currently topping my list: to buy a bigger house or not.

Yes, getting laid off and losing more than 50% of the household income normally would put a damper on buying a bigger house, but the way I see it, small is the new big right now and I’m more than 100% sure that we would make money on the sale AND be able to buy a bigger house for perhaps less money than we spent on this tiny little thing. I say “tiny” when I know that for others, it’s really not. It’s an 1,800 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but the real rub is the fact that the BIGGEST room in the house is the formal dining room, which we NEVER use for dining and which I’m currently using as a craft center.

Please pay no attention to the yoga ball in the corner. Thank you.

Please pay no attention to the yoga ball in the corner. Thank you.

Great, I’m using my grandmother’s glorious antique furniture to hold Toddler Boy’s construction paper and my various “things that need to be done” projects.

The other BIG deal for me is the fact that we do not have a guest bedroom. I’m quite honestly a little ashamed of that fact. I mean, who doesn’t have a guest bedroom?

As best as I can tell, we never intended to stay here this long (going on 6 years now), but the housing market fell apart just as our 5 year goal approached. I’m not saying I want a gigantic home just to keep up with the others around us (we own the smallest home in our subdivision), I only want 1) a larger family area and 2) an extra bedroom. That’s it. It’s not a huge request, but because so many people were so very reckless with their money and greedy in their wants, we may be stuck here for a while.

Don’t even get me started on that school bus driver and her construction worker husband who bought an $800,000 home, then whined when it went into foreclosure. The fact that they were ever  approved for a loan that size boggles the mind and is a glimpse into just what was going on before the cards started to fall. Owning a home is not a right, it is a privilege, but somewhere along the way we started thinking and believing that we were owed a home and that part of the American dream included home ownership.

We could afford a larger home for around the same amount of money. Plus it’s a buyer’s market out there right now. (I’m the only one in the house who likes that idea, let’s say, so there are no plans at the moment)

But there is a part of me that wants to buck the conventional thinking about being in a bigger home. Part of me wants to stay just to make some sort of social commentary about wants versus needs, especially during this recession. The boys each have a bedroom, and no, we’re not running a Super 8, so in that respect, we’re fine.

The other part of me, however, is the part who grew up in a larger home and had relatives with much larger homes and is honestly feeling a little crammed in here at the moment.

And so the inner dialogue continues…what to do…? Go ahead…let me have it…

{May 22, 2009}   Free-For-All Friday

–by Carla

Not having gobs and gobs of disposable income to toss around freely now means having to dig a little deeper in the old brain to find ways to entertain Toddler Boy and Baby Boy (although BB is pretty easy to please) without forking over cash at every stop. I mean, you can only go to the mall so many times, or go to the indoor play center so many times, or go to the mall..oh wait, I said that. We go to the mall a lot, it seems. But this RecessionMama is now starting to enjoy all the free stuff that life has to offer. This big city girl who hates bugs, has never been camping and doesn’t really like the outdoors all that much … is really spending a lot of time IN the outdoors lately. Seems Toddler Boy is a born outdoorsman. He’d spend all of his waking hours outside if we let him. So mama has been schlepping toys in and out several times a day now for weeks and weeks and hanging out by our very own sandbox…


…and taking them to the park which is literally a 5 minute walk from the house (but most of the time I drive). And it hit me the other day while I was shaving my big toe gazing out the window, it’s really nice to do these things with the boys…it’s OK.

Free = good. Oh and on that note, I felt bad for Heather this week after she had to flush Goldfie down the crapper after his or her untimely death. The newest addition to their family had gone to the giant fish bowl in the sky and Heather had to shell out a bunch of money on something that started out as a freebie. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

So here for your enjoyment are a few listings of freebies, because some things ARE free:


* The library: You can check around where you live, but here’s some info on what Dallas has to offer: The Summer Reading Program is starting May 30.   It’s open to all ages from birth to age 18. All the Dallas Public Libraries provided free programs throughout the summer – arts, performances, animal shows, crafts, clowns, magicians, yoga, songs and more. Info here:  ttp://

* A great place to visit that lists all family-friendly and FREE activities in the Dallas area (not just Dallas), is through the KERA Art and Seek calendar at

* Then I basically searched for free activities in Dallas (even though I live in a suburb) …and was reminded of this great link:


…just plug in your hometown and bam, you’re on your way to freebie land….unless your free fish dies and you don’t want your kid to find out. Then you’re screwed.

{May 8, 2009}   Busy, Busy, Busy

By Carla

I don’t have any hard facts on this…maybe a giant think tank somewhere will whip up a study that I’ll be able to reference down the road, but it sure seems like we’re all busier than we’ve ever been, thanks to this lousy economy.

I know for a fact that I’m busier than ever, even though I was laid off from my full-time job. Between the 6-month-old baby boy, the 2-year-old old toddler boy, the house, the laundry, the cooking (and yes, building sandwiches does count, thank you), the job training, the freelance work, all the passionate, in-depth writing for this website, and my hair fiascoes, I’m swamped.

There’s no more Suzanne to help me with the stupid mop, there’s no more eating out 2 or 3 times a day, there is even less quality time with the husband because of HIS new chores, including the lawn (no more lawn help).

We’re constantly whizzing around all day long, busy, busy, busy…too busy to stop and think about just how busy we’ve become. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Probably good. Busy is good. What’s the old saying…idle hands are the devil’s something or other? And I always thought I was busy back THEN…back when I was riding the gravy train, working full-time. Nope. This is worse. Much worse. I mean much busier.

Do you know how busy I am? (Go ahead….I’ll wait……………………………………..thank you) I’m so busy, I’m bringing you this “Best Of” segment today. It’s one of my favorite posts to date and one I think is worth sharing again, even if it shows my orange hair again. Who cares. Enjoy: (click on the link below..but you knew that)

I Am So Much Better Looking In A Bull Market

et cetera