Adulting Failure


I was speaking with a coworker, a lovely young woman the same age as my younger stepdaughter. We were discussing life foibles. She said that I was killing her dream that she would just all of a sudden have it together by the time she was my age.

I had to laugh.

That’s been the theme of many a blog post. Bemoaning the fact that my adulting skills didn’t come in like my permanent teeth or the crop of tinsel I have sprouting from my temples. The bride of Frankenstein ain’t got nuthin on me. 

You have to read that last sentence like Denzel in Training Day. 

Randy and I have both been renters our entire lives. The first home we owned is the one we are in now. We’ve been here nearly 8 years. While we have adopted a few changes in our habits, we’re still not very good at being home owners. We excel at being renters.

For instance, our central air. Three years ago, we turned it on when the weather got warm. It made a screeching sound that can only be described as “wounded baby dragon being eaten by honey badgers”.

Randy and I looked at each other and shrugged. I guess we don’t have central air anymore. 

That’s not entirely fair. I mean, we would get it fixed or replaced or whatever, but our cars are vindictive twat monsters who break down whenever we get enough money set aside to take care of the central air. This has happened as recently as 4 days ago. 

Anyway, in a fit of adult-like behavior that I often lack, I managed to cut down the cost of some monthly bills, including refinancing our car. The car that just cost all my spare money.

Randy and I discussed the possibility of refinancing the house. Is this a good idea? We don’t fucking know. I guess having a lower interest and cheaper payments is better than a sharp stick in the eye. So, without making any real decision one way or another, we agreed to look into it. By that, I mean that I looked into it.

So the next day, I did some searches and decided to check out a site that promised to show me what rates I could get for refinancing.

Oh yeah. This place. I’ve seen this place advertised. I guess it’s okay to put my fingers on my keyboard and give them the barest of information including my phone number. Okay, I hope this wasn’t a bad idea, I mean, I”m probably going to get some unwanted…

Before I could finish the thought, my goddamn phone rang.

Seriously. Within 30 seconds of pressing enter, I had people calling me who really wanted to help me get a better interest rate on my mortgage.

I am sure you more adultier adults would not have made this mistake. When I blog about not being good at being a grownup, I’m not making that shit up.

Andrew, the loan guy, was super excited to talk to me.

Not gonna lie, Andrew swept me right up. This was going to be great. We’d save a fortune. We’d be vacationing in Fiji and I wouldn’t be pining for my first pedicure of the season, I’d actually be getting one.

Then we got to the part of the discussion where we talked about the home inspection and the deposit for said home inspection.

Andrew: So, Michelle, tell me. Do you have any issues with your house?

Me: Well, the central air is broken. The front door is peeling. The yard pretty much looks like the Clampett’s yard before they struck oil. Some siding fell adulting failureoff last month. We’re missing some shingles and the hand rail going up to the front door exists, but only in a broken about to rust through and fall down kind of way.

Andrew: But you do have a handrail?

Me: Yeah, but I would think no handrail would be preferable. At least then you are aware of the danger. The handrail now is more like a booby trap.

Andrew: Okay, well, these things aren’t too much of a problem. Can you call a handy man or something? We wouldn’t even need to get the inspection for at least 29 days. Can you address these issues in 29 days?






Me: Yeah! sure, we can.

At this point, I was really just being polite. I mean, Andrew so very badly wanted to help us out and we had come this far. I couldn’t even bring myself to mention that the pilot light has to be re-lit a dozen times a season and the bathtub needs be be caulked. I guess. I mean, something isn’t right with it. The shower is fine, but if you take a bath, the water drips into the closet in the family room below the bathroom. Oh, and the broke ass koi pond. Although, really, that could be classified as a terribly interesting and terrify, sludgy ecosystem. If we are ever overrun by swamp monsters, it’s probably my fault. Sorry.  

We ended the call with Andrew promising to send me paper work to get the refinance started.

I called Randy and told him about the phone call. We laughed about the whole “29 days” thing and decided that maybe we weren’t quite ready to refinance the house.

I couldn’t bear to disappoint Andrew on the phone. So I broke up with him by email. I did this for two reasons. First, because I knew he’d try to talk me out of it and conversations like that make me all sweaty. Secondly, because I felt kind of guilty for wasting his time.

I told him that we just weren’t ready to refinance. We would need more time to get our house ready and I would contact him if we wanted to continue with the refinance process when we were a little better prepared.

So far, I have 9 missed calls from Andrew. I haven’t listened to his messages yet. I assume, by now, he’s terribly worried about me. I mean, my own mother doesn’t try that hard to get in touch with me.

I’m sure sooner or later Andrew will give up and move on with his life. I wish nothing but the best for him. Seriously, dude, give it up. I am never answering your calls. Never. 

In the meantime, pretty sure with this blog post, I finally made the “to-do” list we needed to make to get the house ready to sell.

I am so rocking being an adult.



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  • It is better to own than to rent because one is investing rather than throwing money away, but you do a good job here making owning sound like a total pain. Haha. At least you have your to-do list in order! 🙂

  • “Well, I guess we don’t have running water/electricity/ a standing tree next to where the garage used to be…”
    Ad infinitum. (Yes, spellcheck. That is too how you spell, ‘the list goes on forever with multiple changing parts.’)

    I’ll never own again. Renting is for those of us intent on not leaving an inheritance. If I die owning a house, those little shits I bred and raised are just going to throw all my good hoarded treasures in a big truck labeled ‘Got Junk?’ and then they will either tear my castle down or sell it to the sheepherder for a barn.

    (Where’d you get that good picture of my house? Google Earth? 🙂 )

    Way too much anxiety with a monthly payment plan.

    Besides. I intend to die broke. My kids are making sure I spend it all on them while I’m alive, so, what the heck. Eliminate that pesky ‘Reading of the Will’ and leave my body to science.

    That’ll be an easy funeral and dispersing of heirlooms.

    Sidenote: My husband requested health insurance quotes online and gave them our REAL phone number. I haven’t been able to have a conversation with my Mom or send a fax because there are only SECONDS between Hubby’s new ‘potential best friends’ attempts at reaching him for a complete government compliance opportunity.
    He’s not breaking up with anybody.
    He’s making me tell them all that we have found our answer: Pay the fine and continue to pay cash for doctor appointments.
    Health insurance should be available at your library for checkout. Use it and return it for the next guy to check out.
    Fucking health insurance rental.

    Anyway. Sorry about you and Andrew. I’m sure he was counting on you for his commission that will pay his house payment.
    I’ll bet he rents, tho.


    • Hi! It’s me, Terri Lee, or as I now prefer to be known, George. I hate that my name is the first five letters in terrifying and terribly. I feel I was set up by life for the anxiety disorder I’ve always lived with!

      Paul and I have owned a condo in the past and we have our home, which was paid off a long time ago. This is due to my late husband having been much better at the whole adult thing than I ever have. Before we owned the condo or the house together though, we rented an apartment. Out of all the experiences we had with each, I would never own a condo again. I might consider living in one, but ONLY if I rented. Same goes for a house in a gated community with a Homeowners Association. I have a real problem with authority figures, especially those who do not pay my mortgage or insurance, but want to tell me what I’m “allowed” to do with my own home. Fuck ANY kind of association! Plus, if you get a group of assholes and clash with them or don’t suck ass, they will make every attempt to keep your life there as miserable as possible. In addition to the mortgage and insurance, there’s the maintenance fees and once in a while, assessments! In the state of Florida, guess who gets all the rights? Not the unit owners, that’s for sure! To fight things, you almost always will have to hire an attorney. The laws in this state favor the attorneys above all else. So, never again on that front. However, I am happy being in the home that we own. For now, at least. Yes, it seems that shit has broken left and right since Paul passed away and it costs me money every time. (The latest thing is that my Caller ID took a major crap. When the phone rings, I have to pick up cold and pray it’s someone I like. Haha! I laugh, but I hate it!) But, if I want to hold off on fixing or updating something, I can. I don’t have a HOA breathing down my back to paint this or that by a certain date or measuring the length of my grass with a freaking ruler or whatever. I don’t have a landlord telling me that I can’t do this or that to his property or telling me that I have to find somewhere else for my animals. There truly are pros and cons to every option.

      I hear ya, Lisa K, about medical insurance! Paul’s pension was cut in half to begin with when he passed and now the medical insurance I get through the city has gone up, resulting in yet another reduction in the money coming in. What kind of fine would I expect to receive if I dropped the insurance? Haha! It’s tempting to try your hubby’s plan! 🙂 (But, I’ve heard that the fine keeps going up the longer you’re without insurance. That is a pretty fucked up system. People can’t afford the jacked up rates, so let’s punish THEM some more instead of the insurance companies who screw everyone over. Such bullshit!)

      Michelle, are the koi actually still alive? I have a green pool again (got it clear and it went right back to the lovely algae shade within a few weeks. Not to mention, there must be a family of raccoons scouting our neighborhood. There was raccoon shit all over our pool deck and on the pool ledge itself yesterday and it was either a whole family or one raccoon with major IBS!). I was just getting to where I thought I could develop a plan to take care of the pool all by myself and now my deck and pool are being used as the neighborhood wildlife Port-O-John. This is the point where I usually scream and tear the whole thing down and maybe build a koi pond. Nah, the raccoons would probably come back and eat all the koi!

      • oh, the koi are long gone…it’s just sludge now.

        Randy insisted that when we buy a house, we buy one with NO HOA and I am glad about that. fuck that.

        • Okay, yeah. My swimming pool is just a larger version of your koi pond now! HAHA!

          Randy is a ROCK STAR! I’d run to the front door and express my admiration, but I’d need a sturdier handrail! ;D

      • George, I think you just need to establish the Raccoon Wildlife Encroachment Station.


        Maybe you could sell the poop as ‘guano’ to the ‘growers.’

  • According to my good friend Wikipedia (as opposed to your good friend Web MD 😉 ) “definitions of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory.” I interpret this to mean we each get to choose our own definition, right?

  • I love your writing! I read tons of posts and very few hook me and keep me reading through the end. Yours hooked me! Your writing is funny, self-deprecating, and 100% honest. I look forward to reading more!

    P.S. If your house gets too bad you can always sell and go back to renting. Probably not the best advice but I suck at adulting too!

    • Thank you so have no idea how much that means to me. And yes..we’ve considered going back to renting. We will probably buy again, though..just something much smaller. I mean, our house isn’t big now..not at all, but we just need a small space. I’d be happy with 900 – 1000 square feet total.

        • yeah, I’m better at renting. When we finally sell this house, we’ll probably buy again..but it will be a tiny little house. We just don’t like taking care of shit. We’re better at NOT taking care of shit. haha

  • So, I’ve been considering selling my house because really it’s bigger than I need – even with the galloping Great Dane. But then I get to my version of the fixit list (new exterior paint, new carpeting, regrouting, an unfinished raised planter, cracked sink in the extra bathroom, …) and decide maybe I’ll just stay here.

    As for phone calls? THREE years ago when I was laid off, I checked a web site to see if I could get health insurance cheaper than COBRA. (No.) Since the first of the year, I have been inundated by calls saying I requested insurance quotes. Arghh!

  • I don’t want to be mean to your coworker but if she thinks there’s an age by which anyone ever completely gets their shit together then she’s spent most of her life around people who are exceptionally talented at hiding their problems.
    Even success comes with its downsides which is why you can’t spell “success” without “suc”.
    But the wisdom and experience that come with getting older do have their advantages. Being able to coin a phrase like “vindictive twat monsters” is a beautiful thing. I mean that seriously. You may have a lot of suck in your life but you’ve got some successes too.

    • I really do. I have to be doing some things right, but I think they are mostly in spite of myself. Vindictive twat monster does have a poetic ring to it..

  • As a former home owner, I can promise you the bath water showing up in your closet is NOT A GOOD THING. Not only did it destroy all our old family pictures (box on the floor), but cost waaay back then, almost $500. The plumber cut a huge hole in the connecting wall to pull out the old pipes to put in new ones, and then put the old piece of wall back. I’m betting that the new owners of the house – somewhere down the line – are going to assume it was once a safe and cut another hole to find the “treasure” we left behind. The only treasure we left behind were all of our holiday decorations in the crawl space that I CAN’T believe we forgot! If you can live without air conditioning, go for it – but get that leak fixed before you’re walking ankle deep throughout the house!

  • I’m so ready for adulthood, I’ve got tons of good advise from my mom. Like you need to change after work and neatly put away your work clothes because damn it but wrinkles, bath towels are supposed to match or AT LEAST be clean, you need to have a set of dishes for 8 people even though you live alone in a studio because hey maybe a spontaneous dinner party of exactly 8 people….ok, I am so turning this into a post on my blog.
    Also, be an adult and break up with Andrew over the phone 🙂

    • WOULD be nice for me to call him. But talking on the phone is painful for me anyway (social anxiety is a dick) talking on the phone to give someone bad news? I’d rather cut my finger off. I’m only kind of kidding.

  • By the way, you don’t owe Andrew a thing. Not one thing. Let the calls go unanswered. You explained through email that you are not interested right now and if HE insists on being aggressive and pushy, that is HIS problem. Part of being an adult is knowing when you are being pressured or manipulated and refusing to allow it. I’m certainly no role model for mature adulthood (and would never want to be), however, one thing I’ve learned: when they are THAT excited and eager to “help” you? It means it’s going to make THEM more money than it will save YOU. 99 times out of 100, that is the case. Just like the junk loans the banks were so eager to give out to people who could not afford the houses they bought during the “boom”. When the REAL loan kicked in, all those people lost their homes and those who didn’t, ended up paying way more than the house was actually worth and they’d never be able to resell it at that price. Do you think all their “Andrews” were then calling to apologize to these people? Fuck, NO!

  • Ha! I was laughing out loud at this…as someone who just refinanced to pay for windows. Like who the hell wants to spend that kind of $ on windows??!

    And I broke up with several re-finance Andrews too…poor guys just don’t get the hint. I actually started blocking the #’s …it’s worse than bad dates in the 1980’s.

    • They really do not get the hint. I had someone try to sell me windows recently too..door to door guy..I’m like..dude, you can see the rest of my are the least of my worries.

  • See? This post? This is why I love you – because I think you house and my house are related.
    We just got a flyer for a free grass cut. Grass? Do we have any of that in the front yard that is mostly tree roots and dandelions and wild geraniums?
    And don’t get me started on the furnace, that made that screeching noise you talked about seven years ago…..and we are still limping along with it while I knit ALL the sweaters we need.
    Grown up? pshaw! Clearly not in this house either.

  • I am pretty damn sure that we will absolutely never get out shit together..I am 66 and here to tell you, it aint happening..and I loved this post!!!

  • Michelle, I so love your blog! However I’m always a lurker, not a commenter. Your posts make me laugh, and I can relate to things about 99.9% of the time. Lisa K and Terri Lee, you two are most amusing as well.
    But I digress…I am so happy with being a renter, a position I never would have even considered an option just a few short years ago. A move between provinces ( I’m in Canada) had us selling our home and renting in our new location. There are so many other things that are hard about adulting, that roofs and pipes and appliances etc are far better off being dealt with by someone else as far as I’m concerned. Not having to worry about mortgage renewals our re-financing issues leaves so much time to do other adultish things. I think. I just am not sure what those are yet!

    • So glad to see you!

      I am SO READY to going back to renting as Randy just called me to tell me the washing machine just flooded the basement. We can’t catch a break. 2016 is out to get us. I am convinced of this.

      • Well Fuck me over the bathroom sink.

        You may be right…2016 isn’t giving you any breathing room at all.

        Hang in there. Do you at least have a shop vac to get the water up?

        I’ll bet this weekend’s blog is a hum-dinger…

    • Hi Alli 🙂
      Michelle just brings out the best in everybody, ‘eh? (Haha, love little Canadian ‘cuddle’ words 🙂
      Glad you’re here, too! It’s more fun adulting with the peeps who get it…
      Ya know.
      Thanks Michelle for letting us debate renting vs. owning in our own ‘sorry your shit sucks, here, does my shit make you feel any better?’ fashion!
      Renter: Check

  • Adulting is hard. That’s why we have alcohol. My poor 22 year old is just figuring it out…and my only response for her is “yes, being an adult sucks.” I am 57 (maybe I am 58, I can’t ever remember) and I am still struggling with grown up tasks!

  • When will we be grown-ups? Has anyone written the book “What to expect when you’re an adul”? No, cuz ain’t nobody want to live that life!

    PS: block andrew, cuz you ain’t gonna lose him that easy. block, block, blockedly block.

  • Ha, you’ll get there I hope. Damn cars seem to suck all your money away, glad I no longer have that to worry about. I rocked at being a house owner, unfortunately my ex didn’t so that’s that. I’m now consigned to renting for the rest of my existence, which I definitely don’t prefer. I suspect renting over there is better than here and definitely cheaper. You could probably buy a large house for the price of the rent on this shoebox studio apartment. In addition to having a black mould and a damp problem, it never quite manages to be warm in winter, turns into a sauna in summer, often gets invaded by ants and has now had a broken shower for two weeks. Add to that a bath that was never put in right and therefore doesn’t drain properly, a fridge that shudders and makes a racket all night and I still haven’t managed to afford curtains that fit so I have to keep them closed at night with a clothes peg. There is so little storage space that most of my clothes live at the end of the bed or in the laundry basket, I think I’m doing life backwards, I was supposed to live like this when I was in my late teens and going to college 🙂
    Yeah, don’t feel bad about Andrew, however he probably won’t ever give up, or at least the company won’t now they have your number. Answer it the next time, put on an accent and tell him you don’t live there any more, or moved to Mars and he might give up.

  • Just sell the house “as is” and rent… unless you are lucky enough to find a little affordable gem that’s been reno-ed to the max. But I’d rent. Home ownership is exhausting, as you well know. Sometimes you just have to admit you weren’t cut out for certain, er, responsibilities (usually cuz you don’t want them). “To Do” list…bahahaha! Meet ya on the playground.

  • OMG. I feel this.

    Gutters. Never ever click saying you want information on gutters. I almost want to buy gutters so they will leave me the hell alone. I just can’t even imagine that line of work. What do you do for a living? Gutters. All day long I beseech people to buy our gutters. I try to convince people that having our gutters will make them the envy of the neighborhood. Gutters are my life.

    I’m just here to tell you, if I ever notice your gutters, your house is in big trouble, Mister.

  • Your blogs really must come with a warning–something like, “If you’re eating, please swallow before commencing to read this post.” or “If you’re a coffee lover, this ‘spoiler alert’ is meant to save your monitor, phone, and/or tablet.”

    Owning still beats renting. You never have to worry about someone letting themselves into your house while the contents of your closet, dresser drawers (particularly the underwear drawer), or the under-the-bed tote contents are scattered across your master bedroom. You won’t be labeled a hoarder because you simply decided to clean out something and had to leave for an appointment before you finished. (Happened to me, years ago, when we were renting.)

    Keep ’em coming!

  • For fuck’s sake, 9 missed calls from Andrew? NINE? If somebody called me like that after I told them I no longer wanted to do business with them, you can bet after the tenth call they would be wishing that I had not actually picked up that time.

    We refinanced our home, but with the same office we got our mortgage from in the first place, so there were no further strangers and no terrible faceless harassment.

  • Aw. You poor naive little lamb. Andrew isn’t going to give up. He’s going to move you up the chain and they’re going to send someone to your door to make sure you’re still alive and can hold a pen. Good luck though.

  • We were out to dinner with friends on Saturday night and just had this conversation about how owning a home just sucks you dry – having to keep up with the maintenance, always something needing to be done – and then I spent 5 bloody long hours weeding our front path (which isn’t very long but has a shit load of weeds in it) with an internal conversation along the lines “We’d better bloody well get this concreted over. I don’t care how much it costs. I don’t care if Ben is a lousy concretor. If you can’t find someone else just let Ben do it. I don’t care I just HATE doing this bloody weeding when I could be watching Netflix and crocheting.” It was NOT a good conversation and Al’s just lucky he was at the bottom of the property otherwise he would’ve copped an earful !!

By Michelle


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