Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

Category Archives: Teaching

*HAPPY HAPPY UPDATE: The Germantown has changed their membership policies effective immediately!  All families are now included! *


I’m really angry this morning. I’ve been angry all night actually. A high school friend that I keep up with on facebook has been denied a GYM MEMBERSHIP because he, his partner and their children are not a “family” as defined by the membership application at Germantown Athletic Club (at least partially funded by taxpayer money.) Is this REALLY happening in 2013? I know lots of people who are not on board with gay marriage and legal status. Whatever. But a GYM MEMBERSHIP? Does. Not. Compute.

The worst of it is that the personnel informed my friend that they didn’t qualify for a family membership IN FRONT OF HIS CHILDREN. What a disgrace.

Last night Adam posted his frustration, offense and sadness on facebook. Many people have begun to cause a fuss on Germantown Athletic Club’s facebook page. Now the club wants to keep this quiet. What the WHAT?!?

Talk about a stupid move. Now I feel like shouting it from the rooftops that discrimination is alive and well in Germantown, TN. In addition, when I shared this information on my own facebook page, a different friend informed me that Bartlett Rec HAS THE SAME POLICY. What is wrong with people?

Please let the Germantown Athletic Club know how offensive and discriminatory their PRINTED policy on family is.

From the website
Family memberships are defined as husband, wife and children 18 years or younger for which they have custody. Additionally, full-time college students who are 24 years of age and younger may be added to a family or a couple membership at $25 per child. Verification of full-time college enrollment is required.

Samantha Boyd, Membership Sales Advisor at 901-757-7372 or sboyd@germantown-tn.gov.


Twitter: @GtownAthClub 



The Millionaire and I have been cussing and discussing the idea of starting some home improvement projects for quite some time now. I, for one, am positively giddy because I hate almost everything about this place. (Marriage tip no. 483,469,921: don’t buy a house your partner hates) Our house has lots of potential, but unless we make some changes it is never going to be awesome. After living here with only minor changes in paint colors for over two years, today we took the plunge – we ripped out the carpet in our main floor living room. We pulled staples and tack strip and kicked it all to the curb. yes we did. Buh-bye ugly Berber textured carpet! Hello DIY plywood floors. (Thanks be to the Pinterest gods for the ideas and inspiration)

I give you before shots! And a perplexed KittyCat!









Every year as a family we typically adopt a family. This year’s finances have been pretty tight, so we aren’t sure if we can swing it. Instead of giving up totally on the idea of helping someone in need, we’ve offered some help to a family friend. Still, it didn’t quite feel comparable to what we’ve been able to do in the past. Watching the news coverage of hurricane Sandy wrenched my heart. Until this past weekend I’d never been to New York City, so I only knew what it was like from stories, movies and tv. The scenes from Sandy coverage of the flooding just took my breath away. How do you watch an immense tunnel fill with water? How do you watch you car float away into a river? How do you see your warehouse full of records all but washed away?

When I read that Brooklyn based Norton Records lost their Red Hook warehouse, I immediately began to form a plan. The Millionaire has been traveling to the Philadelphia area for his work with a client over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend for the past several years. We’ve been fortunate enough that the small bonus he receives to travel over the holiday covers the expense of taking the rest of the family along. We had tossed the idea of a side trip to NYC the last 2 years, and this year decided to go come hell or high water. Then, I happened to see a call for volunteers from Billy Miller, one of the owners of Norton Records, and the details of my plan fell into place.

Anyone who knows anything about me and the Millionaire knows that we love music. We met via the Goner Records message board, no less. Our love of music has translated into a love of sharing that music, and the accompanying love of vinyl with the Millioniare’s kids. We have made a point to expose them to the music we love, the records we love and the artists we love. When possible, the kids go to shows and meet our friends and favorite bands. When I proposed helping Norton out during our side trip, the Millionaire didn’t even bat an eye. The plan was complete!

Sunday afternoon after a day of walking the streets of Manhattan, craning our necks to see the tallest buildings we’ve ever seen and grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor, we set off for Brooklyn. We fortified ourselves with what each member of the family unanimously agreed was the best pizza any of us has ever tasted: Brooklyn’s Grimaldi’s Pizza. With bellies full of pizza and excitement, we took off for Brooklyn Bowl, the bowling alley that donated the space for the wash-a-thon.

Billy and Miriam couldn’t have been more gracious and patient as they showed us what needed to be done. Rows of tables were set up with record washers provided by Discwasher of Pittsburgh, cleaning solution and rolls and rolls of paper towels. And records. Oh, the records. Stacked in tilted, soggy piles, some over waist high. One entire table was dedicated to tearing off the flood-soaked sleeves, while the rest of the tables were reserved for cleaning and drying and a final staging area full of fans to dry the labels. It made my heart hurt to see all those records, and know it was a matter of time before some were too far gone to save. Needless to say, we worked feverishly to clean and dry as many records as we could, knowing we only had a few hours before we had to leave the city.

I am so very proud of my chicken babies for their uncomplaining hard work. They could plainly see all around them the variety of folks that came out to help. Not only that, with the great DJs from WFMU that donated their time, the kids had an experience of listening to a great assortment of tunes that had us clapping, swaying and shaking right along. One of my most valuable life lessons has been the opportunity to learn how to have fun while I work. This weekend, my chicken babies had that opportunity as well. In the end the Millionaire family cleaned and dried 8 stacks of records. Each stack, a different run of a single title. Some were bigger than others, but we cleaned our hearts out. Our small reward was the visible gratitude from two of our record lovin idols, Billy Miller and Miriam Linna. That’s the best souvenir I can imagine.



(If you’re looking for the blog hop post featuring the awesome giveaways, go here)

It’s fall. The weather is windy and chilly. And that means one thing to me: nesting. I’m a winter hibernator in general, but one thing I continually enjoy through the cold months is cooking and baking. Posting some of my yummy concoctions has been in my mental to-do list for a long time, so here goes another one.

This “recipe” is particularly timely on Halloween because it is Frankensteinian in nature. I cobbled it together from a handpie recipe and a dish my mom made during one of her visits.  This one is utter genius and the WHOLE FAMILY loves it. The person who loves it the most? The pickiest, moodiest, food-whiner. He requests it more often than I’m willing to make it.

Roasted Cauliflower Pie, or for today, Mummified Cauliflower

This recipe will make one “pie” but is easily doubled or tripled. I served this first at a Teacher Appreciation luncheon serving 60 people. Each pie make approximately 4 servings, but can be stretched if served as a side dish or buffet style. Excellent, flavorful vegetarian recipe!


1 head of cauliflower chopped

1 red bell pepper and/or 1 yellow bell pepper

1 small onion

1 tube of crescent roll dough (you can get fancy pants and make your own dough if you want, but this makes things quick and easy)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

cavender’s greek seasoning

Pizza stone or baking sheet

Preheated 350 degree oven


Chop cauliflower, peppers, and onion. (Quick tip: I pre-chop and freeze onions, peppers and celery to cut down on prep time, so the pictured onions & peppers are frozen.)

Pan roast them in a skillet adding spices to taste. Once softened – cauliflower and onion begin to turn clear, remove cauliflower mixture from heat and set aside.

On the pan or pizza stone rub a few drops of olive oil to slightly grease the pan. Open the crescent roll dough. Begin laying out the triangles wide end to wide end down the middle of the pan, with the points facing out. Lightly press the dough together down the center. It’s perfectly fine to add a second tube of dough if you want a larger pie to fill the pan, a cruster pie, or if you are expanding the recipe for a large function.

Spoon the cauliflower in a pile down the center. Some will spill out, and you may have a spoonful or so left over, depending on the size of your head of cauliflower.

After the dough center is covered alternately wrap the points of the dough over the top of the cauliflower mound and overlap the tips similar to a bread braid.

Bake at 350 until the dough is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve. If you are very lucky, you will even get to eat some.

This is all that was left by the time I got to the kitchen with a camera:


As far as I know, this is my original recipe. Feel free to share, but please link back or at least give me credit. If I am mistaken and this is published elsewhere unbeknownst to me, please let me know so I don’t continue to claim it!




In an amazing opportunity I had this Spring, I met Ms. Parham (featured the above eBay Thanks You video) as part of the eBay Parent Panel Summit. That short trip changed my entire outlook about eBay. I thought I was already on top of the world after being selected as part of the MoneyMakers Web Series last fall, but those 2 days in California blew me away. When I was offered a spot on the Parent Panel, I was overwhelmed. My enthusiasm has only grown since March with a renewed focus on building my eBay business.

It’s difficult for me to put into words what being affiliated with eBay has done for me. For many casual sellers, eBay is just another way to get the junk out of their house. It’s much more to me. Finding a way to legitimately work from home is priceless. In addition to having time with my husband, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of eBay and meet other bloggers who have been a tremendous help to me. Through the Parent Panel I have discovered that I have the desire to do more than just sell. As of this week, I enrolled in the eBay Education Specialist Program. The certification that comes with completion of the program will allow me to teach others how to sell on eBay with approved materials. Had I not participated in the Parent Panel summit, I never would have known about the program.

Having another stream of revenue helps our family tremendously.  Last year my husband’s company was purchased. As part of the buy out, his opportunity for extra money disappeared in January of this year. We certainly weren’t expecting what amounts to almost 1/4 of his income gone. Just like that. This year has been more difficult for us financially to say the least. Knowing that I have opportunities with eBay gives us peace of mind that we will have a second steady source of income. I know that when things get tight, I can invest more into my eBay work and when things are ok, I can invest that time with my family.

Aside from the monetary and informational aspects of being an eBay seller, my self worth has taken a boost as well. No other job felt right for me – they all felt like jobs and not careers or lifelong professions. Being an eBay seller (and soon to be instructor) allows me to feel fulfilled as a photographer, an expert, teacher, a resource for others and frankly, it’s just plain fun. For the first time, I feel that I’ve found something I could do for the rest of my life. Thanks, eBay, from the bottom of my heart!


This post is part of my affiliation with the eBay Parent Panel. All opinions and experiences are my own. I’d tip my hat to eBay even if I weren’t part of the Parent Panel though.  Also, Ms. Richelle rocks and I wish I had taken a photo with her when I had the chance.

While I was in Memphis I busted ass trying to help my mother get her house in shape. I emptied out cabinet after cabinet of stuff, cleared out the fridge and scrubbed what I could. While I did some of the more down and dirty jobs, my mom diligently got rid of boxes and boxes of clothes.

One of my mother’s big fears when cleaning is getting rid of something that is useful or that someone else could benefit from. Unfortunately, this means her heart of gold has her saving things that could help a friend, colleague or student in need, but that don’t end up ever leaving her house. With lots of discussion about how it was not helping her be healthy and happy to keep all these things she agreed to start filling boxes with items to donate. At first she wanted to fill the boxes to take to church, school or send to somebody who might know somebody, but I was able to help her see that we needed to get things OUT. We settled on putting an ad on Craigslist for people to come and just take whatever was on the curb, and we agreed that if no one came by to take it, I would take anything left to Goodwill. (Goodwill was the nearest charity to her house) Believe it or not, I only had to take one load to Goodwill. Everything else was picked up off the curb – I saw one family stop several times. As I relayed this to her, she was able to feel better about her things going to a family for free.

Cleaning out food was another matter altogether. We had our most tense moments dealing with food, medicines and trinkets stored in the kitchen and bathroom. Food is a very touchy topic with my mom as when I was very small she and my father were very, very, poor. Throwing food away simply does.not.compute. It took me calling a Memphis area food bank to convince her (and my dad, who grew up in poverty) that if it was too expired for the food bank, it was too long expired to keep or give away.

While I left the house cleaner than I found it, I felt a deep sense of failure that even my loose expectations were shattered. As I worked steadily for a week on the kitchen, my kitchen cleaning breaks were spent clearing out and cleaning other rooms in the house. I was able to tackle an endless stream of laundry – mostly clean that had pet hair, dust or had simply been sitting so long no one could remember if it was clean or not. I sorted the mystery sock pile and was able to sift through items that no longer fit or were wanted. (This was aside from the clean clothing mom was simultaneously sifting through in several closest and bedrooms) I was able to clean most of the cabinets in the kitchen – emptying them, scrubbing them, scrubbing the contents and putting everything back. The kitchen ceiling was primed and painted (water damage from a storm) But I never finished fully cleaning even ONE room.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Not even one room was left fully clean and organized. Even so, even with the disappointment I felt with myself, I can now call this venture a success. How can I change my mind so completely now? My mom called me yesterday to report on what she has been doing since I left. Never in a million years did I think I would hear those words coming from her! I am so proud of her for soldiering on even without help! Happy, happy, joy, joy!




At this point I don’t even know what I can say. The entire process is taking much longer than I expected, and I felt I was giving myself leeway for things to go wrong.

A full week later, I still haven’t finished IN THE KITCHEN. Other rooms have been cleared a  here and there to make space or to act as a holding place. Some small areas have had a thorough scrub, but not a single room is actually clean. We have put countless boxes of clothing and miscellaneous items at the curb, which disappear almost as fast as we put it out. But there is always more. And more. And more.  Without and end to the habit of lying things down “just for a minute” or and end to the ” need” of extraneous stuff, there’s no way this job will ever end.

Without a serious change in habits, no one will be able to tell I’ve even been there even a few days after I’ve gone. I have reached my limit emotionally and mentally. Sadly, I have to admit defeat. The disorder wins. The hoard comes out on top.



I’ve been here since Saturday night. I started cleaning Monday morning, with the goal to clean the kitchen and laundry room. I’m about 10 minutes away from falling asleep and still have more than half the kitchen to go after two 8 hour + days of  nonstop cleaning. The kitchen alone is going to take 3 days.

It’s so overwhelming, emotionally and physically. I’m exhausted, but I feel good because monkey is making such progress. She is working along side me after  a full day at her job! I can see that she is really trying to make some changes, which in turn, makes it so much easier for me to keep plugging along.

The silence is wonderfully calming. I’ve realized this trip how being so physically far from the people who stir up drama lifts a weight of stress off my shoulders. And when monkey comes home, I enjoy the chatter just as much.

Dad has been a trooper too. He has allowed me to use the dumpster at his restaurant. It may not seem like a big deal until you realize how much has been tossed already. Today I filled half of the bed of his Ford F-150 with garbage bags. Out of the kitchen. One room. Three days that very well could turn into a fourth.

Now my muscles are telling me that it is time for rest!

Tomorrow morning I head to Memphis for the clean out extravaganza 2012. Tensions are high, but we have a plan in place.

I’ve created a Pinterest board with some of my ideas for simple, easy organization that I think ANYONE could use. In fact, I’ve even done a bit of organizing around my own house since planning this trip! (Hello!  eBay stock explosion!)

Check it out and let me know what you think. Would these tools help you get or stay organized?

Gotta pack!

I’m not a professional, but I am a daughter of a wonderful lady who has trouble knowing what to keep and what to toss. Throw in some childhood traumas related to cleaning and an adult trauma related to having your sentimental keepsakes thrown out without your consent, and you have the makings of a pack rat on a major scale.

My mom has never been taught how to clean. She has never been walked through, step-by-step how to organize her belongings and make a place for everything. Does that blow your mind? It would if I didn’t grow up figuring it out for myself. Part of my goal for the cleaning extravaganza is to teach my mom basic organizing tools. Not just methods for building a habit of cleaning, de-cluttering or putting things away, but how to think about what needs keeping and what needs to go. When you are told to clean, and then berated for what you throw out or verbally abused for not doing it “right” it tends to make the thought of having to clean up a very confusing and scary thing. This was my mother’s experience as a child.

We’ve had some emotional phone calls in the last few weeks and what jumps out at me every time is her FEAR. If I can just break through the fear, I think we’ve got it made in the shade!

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