My Life of Deprivation


I still don’t have chickens. Mr. G is trying with all his might to keep me deprived of fresh organic eggs and the magical chicken shit that will make my canna grow. Recently the kids and I listened to an interview on NPR with a fellow who raised fancy chickens with blue skin. Mr. G is also firmly committed to making our children miserable and deprived. People have fancy chickens. We have none.

We looked at two houses on Saturday. First there was the one I could have lived in for ten more years, and next there was the one I could have lived in for all my days. I stood in that house and knew that it was mine. I imagined my children growing up there and then moving out. I fantasized about growing old in a house that was large enough for company but had few enough rooms that it wouldn’t feel lonely.

Alexander was with a friend on Saturday so Jane, Mr. G, Doug and I met at the house, my house, to take a look. Mr. G had no idea where he was in the city but he liked the street. He liked the house. He did not like the neighborhood. He thought about it. He drove around the neighborhood. Twice.

And then Mr. G crushed my dream again. He won’t take his life’s savings and invest it in a house that he didn’t want to live in. Clearly he is a husband hell bent on depriving me of what I need.


I Found a House. I Want it


I’ve been house hunting for a year. A full year of having the first email of every day come from I’ve seen homes that would work. I’ve seen amazing homes that I can’t afford. I’ve seen absolute junk for seven figures.

Yesterday we went to look at four homes. The first home is very good. It’s at the end of a cul de sac near the LA River in a very desirable neighborhood. It’s on a 6800 square foot lot and the house is dated but nice. It has a squashy entry way but an otherwise good layout. It’s not an exciting home but it’s an exciting neighborhood that’s close to the studios and everyone would work in the industry. This is good and bad news. Sometimes it’s nice to raise children without a TV studio.

The second house we were to see might have been okay but when we drove up to to it there was no neighborhood. It was just a collection of homes in between large streets. I didn’t go in the house.

The third house is in deep suburbia. It’s the lowest part of the hills here and the lots are big and spread out. You can’t walk to the store but you can ride bikes, hike or just walk aimlessly for a good long time. We drove up to the house and it’s a sprawling ranch just at the end of a cul de sac. The house is low slung and inviting. There are only three bedrooms and each one of them is large. The kitchen is dated but serviceable as are the bathrooms, all five of them. There’s an office next to the garage and the entire back of the house is lined in french doors. The pool is big and deep and I stood in the grassy area of the yard imagining my son playing catch with friends for hours.

For the first time in a year I stood in a house and imagined myself in it. It’s my house. I want it more than I’ve wanted anything in a very long time. When I mentioned that I worked from home the realtor asked what it is I do for a living and I just got all ADD on her and ignored the question. She doesn’t need to know how much I want it.

I know it sounds silly, but that’s my house and I know it.



I’ve been looking for a new house for more than four months now. I know what I want. I want a larger lot, a smaller house, a pool, good floors and a walking neighborhood. I want to spend almost exactly as much as we sell this house for.

What I have is a bigger home. I have five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and vaulted ceilings. We need none of it. We thought we needed a playroom, we thought we needed a formal dining room, we thought we needed a toilet for every ass, but the reality is that the kids are bigger now and they spend less time indoors with every passing day.

Every time I find a house I like Mr G thinks it’s too small. The houses he likes are too big for my taste. We are both unwilling to stretch our budget there is no need to go into debt.

Last night while we were busy not touching strangers I put it all out there for Mr G. I explained to him that I wanted to pick a window of time where we’d continue our hunt and if we didn’t find something inside of say 15 to 20 weeks we’d go ahead and refinance the house we’re in down to a 15 year loan, put some nice hardwood floors in downstairs and decide that this is the house we’re going to die in. The other option is to expand our search and possibly buy a house that needs a remodel. I told Mr G that this was not the best option and that I had limited energy for a remodel and that I would not buy anything with two stories because of my RA and…

His eyes lit up and he said, “Let’s do that.”

I know the look, and I know we’ll be buying a dump and making it ours, because there’s nothing Mr G loves more than new construction.

I. Am. Fucked.


Mr. Gottlieb: Crusher of Dreams


I know I spend a lot of time telling y’all how my husband is a great father, a generous husband, and really good man.

I don’t spend enough time telling you how Mr. G. is narrow minded and cruel. What you don’t know is that he is a dream killer. Not just any old dreams, but my dreams. You know… the dreams that matter.

As our 13th anniversary approaches, I had one simple request. I wanted him to buy me a $1.2 million fixer upper. It’s not enough that he got ridiculous and sensible and denied me himself a Porsche (we only have a Jaguar now), but on top of all the other deprivations, my husband will not buy me the fixer upper.

Because he feels like it’s too expensive for a house that has a giant pipe poking through and into the Olympic Sized Swimming Pool.

I am deeply deprived.

Moving: Living Well Within Our Means


This morning I looked at a house. Tomorrow morning Mr. G. will tour the very same house. We will likely make an offer on it.

I might pee the bed tonight, and I’m not kidding.

This is our third house. It’s a big house, it’s a dramatic house, and it’s a great family house, but it’s not my dream house. The night before we moved here I almost wet the bed. I was 35.

My daughter was born during the first week of November in 1998. When she and I returned home from the hospital the weekend immediately after was Veteran’s Day Weekend. A three day holiday. The Friday before the weekend began our toilet plugged up, and I called the apartment manger.

ME: Hi there, our toilet seems to be backed up. Could you call a plumber?

MANAGER: I can come over with a plunger, but I can’t call a plumber until Tuesday, it’s a long weekend and this isn’t an emergency.

ME: How is a backed up toilet not an emergency?

MANAGER: You live in a two bathroom apartment. So long as you have a working toilet, this isn’t considered an emergency.

Five weeks later, my stitches had healed, and we bought our first house. The house was tiny, but I loved it. We were in Van Nuys, because it’s what we could afford. Jane learned to crawl and to walk in that house. We didn’t love the neighborhood. It was safe, but the car dealers would test drive up and down our street. I petitioned the city for speed humps, and got them, a year after we sold the house.

We lived in that tiny house for a year and half. After bumping into one another like keystone cops one too many times, we decided it was time to move. Our next house was a three bedroom, two bath. It wasn’t quite tiny, but at 1,800 square feet it wasn’t huge. The back garden was huge, and the kids and I tended to it like crazy. I had nine foot borders that overflowed with geranium, roses, fruit trees and jasmine. The house was a fixer upper to be sure. When we bought it there was a jacuzzi in the back yard that was full of black water, and had so many mosquitoes in it that it resembled an anthill. We took eleven trees out of the front yard, and it was still shady, but the most important tree that we removed was the one growing through the roof. The flooring and sub flooring had to be replaced, because the previous tenant had a Great Dane that peed in the living room.

With both the first and second houses we bought what we could afford. We bought the cheapest houses is the best neighborhoods. We sold each of them for a nice profit. I worked day and night to make those houses gleam. I purged the houses of everything but the basics, set the table, and fluffed the linens. We got good money for those houses, and we were tired.

The third house (the one we are currently looking to sell) was back to back with our last house. It was a big, ugly smelly house, that had been twice reduced after sitting on the market for ninety days (in the height of the housing frenzy), even though it was uglier than the rest, this house required less work than the others. Fresh paint, carpets and plantation shutters gave a clean, almost regal look. We were very happy here for several years.

And then we wanted a pool. (more…)