Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mah Boyz

Sometimes I'd like to put them out with the recycling on Friday mornings. And sometimes, I don't. Today was one of the times I didn't want to unload them on the sanitation workers.

I'm Fifty?

Last year, I started receiving solicitation mailers from the AARP - which I believe stands for American Association of Retired Persons? I thought it was funny. A mislabeled, mis-sold mailing list, for sure.

Lately though, I've noticed continued mail from the AARP as well as junk mail from companies which I have to believe have purchased the AARP mailing list. I get a shit-ton of solicitations for supplemental Medicare coverage. Yesterday, I was specially invited to check out a new community of maintenance-provided villas in a community for older adults via a lovely postcard.

I don't think any of those older adults would appreciate it if I moved in next door with my 7 year old, his basketball goal and scooter, my 6 year old, her bike and traveling circus of toys, my two 2 year old boys and their wagons, riding toys, Fisher-Price lawnmowers and screaming fits.

So, anyway. The mail. I finally realized that the AARP (and now the sharers of its lists) truly believe that I am over 50 years old. For the record, I am 37. I already feel old enough that my 20 year high school reunion is looming. I don't need the AARP breathing down my neck.

Where did they get the idea that I was born in the late '50s anyway? I'm a kid of the '70s and early '80s. Little House on the Prairie, bikes with banana seats, metal lunch boxes with Scooby Doo and Hong Kong Phooey, latch hook rug kits with Holly Hobbie, Fashion Plates, posters of Shaun Cassidy from Tiger Beat, making Christmas lists from the Sears Christmas Catalog, feathered hair and designer jeans the first time 'round.

None of these things makes me young by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, reading back through it makes me feel old. But I'm not quite ready to supplement my Medicare...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Year

A year ago, I was a "retired" attorney (the Bars like to call me "inactive", which I take as a personal affront). And a stay-at-home mom with four kids, a Suburban and a blog.

The mortgage crisis was taking its financial toll on our family income and I was casually looking around, trying to figure out what I could do to generate a little bit of extra cash. But the conditions were strict. Must be able to continue to stay home. Must have flexible hours due to school, twin toddlers, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, summer camps, religious ed, dance class, etc.

I toyed with re-activating my law license and realized that it would require many hours of (and dollars for) CLE. And the payoff was uncertain. My experience in the legal practice is that most attorneys don't understand/care about the demands of children. (Have I told you the story of my former law partner who volunteered his secretary to babysit my infant in our office so that I could attend a meeting with him? Without asking her about it first? Oh, there's so much more...)

So, last March, I made a proposal for a freelance writing job. It was blogging for a legal information website. Sounded fun - blog about celebrities and family law. I could cruise gossip blogs and People magazine for "research". I made my pitch without a portfolio. I actually cringe about it now when I think that I offered this blog as evidence that I could follow the basic rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation. I miraculously got hired.

A year later, I still write eight posts a month for that site. I also edit the other portions of that site. I write a bit of the informational stuff as well. The owner of that site has recently hired me to write a criminal law blog on an attorney's website. Good people on the internets.

Beginning with that one job, I was able to expand my writing portfolio substantially last year. I wrote for a travel site, for a maternity and newborn site, for several legal/attorney sites, for some retail sites and more.

And in the midst of the writing experiment, a friend and I started a website about local children's activities. On a lark, we launched a year ago tomorrow. We now have 700 subscribers, 140 Facebook fans and 125 followers on Twitter. We'll clear 40,000 pageviews this month, up from 0 last year at this time. Sprint Center advertises with us as do several other well-respected local merchants, services and attractions. Yay for us! I couldn't be more proud.

Late last year, I launched another blog too - this one, a shopping guide for cool kids' stuff including clothes, furniture and toys. I haven't had time to fully develop it yet - hoping to put some work into this spring.

I think back a year - I knew nothing about search engine optimization, search engine marketing, affiliate advertising, CPM, social media marketing, Feedburner, Wordpress, Google Analytics or any of it. Fast forward to March, 2009: I know these things exist and I know their function. I certainly haven't mastered any of them but know just enough to want to know more.

This year, I hope I learn a little more. I have enough work now to keep me busy and to keep my kids in Pop Tarts and dance costumes. The websites are built and launched. I hope to achieve a better balance between work and family now that the learning curve is not quite as steep as it once was.

I am at a loss as to what to put in the "occupation" space at the bottom of my tax returns this year though. It's not such an easy answer anymore. Now, I am a lawyer. I am a writer. I run a website (or two) that make a little bit of money. I am a mom and a wife.

Maybe I'll cram all of that into the space. I'd probably get audited as punishment. And then I'd have to explain that a People magazine subscription and tickets to the ice skating rink are absolutely necessary business expenses...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Overheard...

Tidbits from two of my sons today:

As we drove up to the Starbucks drive-thru at about 9:30am, 2 year old C started yelling, "WAN FWIES?! WAN FWIES?!" - because drive-thrus are supposed to have fries, Goddamnit.

He then looked at the obviously gay barista at the pick-up window and yelled, "DADDY!"

And then, tonight, I told my 7 year old over and over that eyedrops were not going to hurt (allergies...). His response: "But they will hurt my soul...."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Unsurprisingly

I can't believe it even took this long. Last night, at a four way stop, I said (to another car/driver), "JESUS! Is anyone going to give me a turn?"

C said "Jebus, jebus, jebus . . . jebus . . . jebus, jebus" the entire rest of the way home.

I'm just pleased it wasn't "fuck". That's already what they call forks though.

*****

In other news, spring break started yesterday. I'm looking forward to and dreading the next 10 days.

And I'm exhausted, which tends to slow entries to this blog severely. My writing is going other places - family law websites, criminal law websites, law firm websites, kids' activities websites, kids' clothing websites, criminal law trial summaries. And my energy is going there too - along with the energy I give to my kids. So, I'm tired. I hope that my kids are entertaining enough over break that I have some stories to share!

Happy St. Patrick's Day next week to everyone - and this weekend for earlier partiers and parade-goers....