Today in the mail I opened my Columbia Gas bill to discover I have a $64 credit and that I don’t have to make a payment in December.  Yes!

Then I opened a certified letter from the IRS (those usually bring good news or a check, right?) telling me that I made a mistake on my 2007 return and I owe them $2,000.

God Bless America!

So I spent some time on the phone with the IRS, and now my sister is coming up next week at Thanksgiving to help me refile some stuff, and OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS HARD AND TERRIBLE AND PROBLEMS PROBLEMS PROBLEMS.

Do you ever have a day like that? Like woe is me and my miserable life and this stupid shot glass that murdered my garbage disposal in cold blood and this stupid bill that I have to pay and this silly child that has Sharpied eyeshadow onto her eyelids and that’s never coming off and oh, yeah, woe is me because my husband is absolutely incapable of placing dirty clothes in the hamper and instead places them on the floor NEXT TO the hamper because I’m pretty sure he wants me to smother him in his sleep with a pillow and woe is me because my car died and woe is me because this traffic sucks balls and the Steelers lost and woe is me because woe woe woe!

Here’s a little blog that will make your worst day seem like no big deal at all.

Bills? Pshaw.

Sharpie eyeshadow? Meh.

$2,000 to the IRS? I can deal.

This is a local mom, living through hell and Burghers, if I can convince you to just go there and leave her a little comment.  A virtual hug. A prayer. ANYTHING because this is Pittsburgh and we support our people and we rally around them and here’s a woman who deserves every good thing we can send her way to show her that she’s not alone and that we’re all pulling for her to somehow make sense of her tragedy in a way that will let her live the rest of her life the best that she can.

Some things, they just don’t make sense.  They just ARE.  And this just IS and it’s heartbreaking.

(h/t Facie who noticed the pigeon-themed post on the site)


  1. Bridges and Bites
    November 17, 2009 10:40 pm

    I’ve been crying and complaining a lot about things like jobs, finances, social life, and homesickness. After reading several of that woman’s blog entries I’ve never felt more sober and humbled.

  2. Bojack
    November 17, 2009 10:58 pm

    Just small splinters in the slide down the banister of life!!


  3. Bojack
    November 17, 2009 11:02 pm

    PS- **clarification- NOT this mother’s tragedy, the OTHER stuff!!!

  4. KSM
    November 17, 2009 11:18 pm

    That is quite possibly the saddest story I have ever read. That mother is full of courage and is a huge inspiration. Although I’ve been crying for the last half hour, thank you so much for posting the link. It gave me some perspective when I really needed it.

  5. Magus Patris
    November 17, 2009 11:40 pm

    When I read things like that, I wonder why I get upset when my boys don’t pick up their toys or punch each other or won’t eat their vegetables. My wife says I could cry at a hockey game. Well, there must be a game on somewhere because after reading her blog, I’m needing a few tissues. Excuse me, I have to go upstairs now and sneak into my boys’ rooms and give them a kiss; and maybe lay with them and hold them for a few minutes before I go to bed.

  6. bucdaddy
    November 18, 2009 1:04 am


    I miss my girl at grad school.

  7. lovesthenorthside
    November 18, 2009 7:57 am

    wow. will cherish every wet towel found balled up in a corner of my boys’ rooms. i don’t know how she does it, but amy rocks. god bless her.

  8. tehamy
    November 18, 2009 8:01 am

    I started reading her blog late last night. I had to stop reading because I wanted to run into Jack’s room, snatch him out of his crib, and hold him tight. I have promised myself that I WILL make it through her whole blog and be a regular reader. This woman needs all the support that Pittsburgh can give her.

  9. red pen mama
    November 18, 2009 8:02 am

    Yup. A good dose of perspective does help. My heart goes out to that woman. I wanted to leave her a comment yesterday, but what the heck do you say?

    I’ll try again today.


  10. John
    November 18, 2009 8:58 am

    Rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball may help lighten that Sharpie. Just be careful of the eyes.

  11. Elle C.
    November 18, 2009 9:03 am

    I had to stop reading her blog last night because there were tears streaming down my face. I woke my 2-year old daughter out of a dead sleep to bring her into my bed and snuggle with me. Thank you for sharing her blog with us. It really puts things into perspective.

  12. cmd_45
    November 18, 2009 9:20 am

    Baby wipes work well on Sharpie.

  13. Kathy
    November 18, 2009 9:26 am

    As I was reading her blog, I thought it must be fate to tie it into this blog, considering there were pics of her allowing a pigeon to land on her arm….:) Thanks for sharing – I think we can all use a good shot of perspective every now and again.

  14. Kathleen
    November 18, 2009 9:30 am

    “Pittsburgh playground will honor Ambruskos”

  15. plexxer
    November 18, 2009 9:54 am

    I’ve spent the last 20 minutes reading her blog and I am emotionally drained. I cannot see how this woman does it. As a father, the thought of losing my wife or son absolutely terrifies me.

    Her strength is inspiring. I think that’s the only thing I can tell her.

  16. lipreadergalore
    November 18, 2009 10:15 am

    I have been following Amy’s story from the beginning because it hits too close to home. I travel the route between Buffalo and Pittsburgh frequently and have two young kids. Buffalo is my hometown and I was actually in Buffalo when the accident happened and was splashed across the Buffalo News. One of my friends is one of Amy’s closest friends, further proving how small this world is.

    My son has been very whiny today and I’ve already yelled at him several times for it because I have a killer headache. But I should just go and give him a hug.

  17. plexxer
    November 18, 2009 10:37 am

    I yelled at my young son this morning to the point where he cried because he ignored my instructions and instead tried to walk down the stairs while looking through his viewmaster. He was holding onto the railing and he most likely would have made it with no difficulty and I understand that it was mostly the fact that he ignored my instructions that got to me. I have yelled at him before for ignoring my most superfluous instructions as well, and I have caught myself yelling at him undeservedly just because I am in a foul mood. I try to remind myself when I do that to count first, but 3 year-olds can be quite tenacious.

    It eats me up inside every time I punish him, but I have to live by the motto that for everything that I do wrong there is at least 1.001 things I do right, and that in the end it will make us both better people.

    You can’t live every moment of your life on the pretense that this moment will be the last. It will quietly destroy you from within, and that will help nobody.

  18. Marcy
    November 18, 2009 10:46 am

    Perspective. :(

    Ginny, I have had luck removing sharpie with those eye makeup remover pads…my daughter and her friends decided to draw on each others faces with sharpies once…good luck, it *will* fade.

  19. SpudMom
    November 18, 2009 10:54 am

    A few weeks ago I walked into daycare with my son to find out that a child there had died of SIDS at the age of 18 months. (She died in her home, not at daycare). I was horrified, dumbstruck, and practically sobbing for the family.

    Much like the Callapitter blog, it gave me the swift kick in the head to realize that I don’t have things so bad – no matter how hard I find life with a toddler and an infant, they’re both still here and I wouldn’t trade that.

  20. Emilie
    November 18, 2009 10:56 am

    Certainly gives you perspective when you are hating your own life. Now I feel a little silly being pissed off about in-consequential crap in my life.

    What a tragedy….things like this make me often question our Higher Power – why these two precious children? They had so much to give this world – why take them from it?

    My heart goes out to Amy. If I could find away to undo it for her I would. For now, I will continue to pray that she finds the strength each day to go on.

  21. Erin
    November 18, 2009 10:57 am

    Oh my God. Thank you for sharing that blog with us…extremely difficult to read but important to keep perspective. I so feel for that woman. I urge everyone to send her a comment – even if you think there are no words, say something.

  22. Michele
    November 18, 2009 11:44 am

    This is when life really smacks you in the face and the perspective. I was sitting here lamenting the fact that I cant find the damn army jeep to match my son’s army guy on amazon, and then I read that blog. Damn. She is living my worst nightmare. I dont know how she does it. I cant even go there. But I can pray for her and I will.

  23. facie
    November 18, 2009 12:17 pm

    Plexxer, you are absolutely right with your last two sentences (and the stuff before that).

    Although, thanks to Amy, I truly appreciate my kid more and am a much more positive person (I refer to my being laid off as the best six months of my life, which has turned into the best eight months of my life), I know at times I worry too much about something like that happening. I need to be a more disciplined parent to my kid, and I will try to follow your motto.

  24. chrys
    November 18, 2009 12:28 pm

    I have been crying for the last hour. I can’t even fathom the loss.. I feel like a very mean mommy today. I could NOT wait til my kids left for school this AM. They were driving me nuts. The arguing over everything, the missing library book, the mising “favorite” pencil, the ” I don’t want peanut butter and jelly for lunch”. I kept nagging them they were going to be late for school.. I even told my husband to get them out of the house. :( God, I feel like a bitch. After reading Amy’s blog I want my morning back and to do it all over again.. the right way. I can’t wait to pick them up from school and give them big hugs and kisses. And to make up for being “meanie-pants mommy” I think we will make chocolate chip cookies tonight.

    Thank you for directing us to that blog.. it was soul touching, and heart breaking, and so honest. I only hope I never have to live through that, because I am not sure I could.

  25. REARless
    November 18, 2009 12:35 pm


    Don’t just pay the IRS bill. Have an accountant double check it for you. It is worth the money. I had a similar thing happen to me and it was the IRS’ error not mine. Best $200.00 I ever spent.

  26. Ashley
    November 18, 2009 12:51 pm

    There really are no words. Her grief on that blog is palpable. I want to find her and just hug her and cry with her. I cannot imagine. My “problems” and complaints seem so idiotic now…

  27. James Bainbridge
    November 18, 2009 1:14 pm

    I’m going home and hugging my children and never letting go.

    I pray I’ll never let one of those “daddy play with me” moments slip by again. Nothing. Not a single damn thing is more precious than the little lives anyone fortunate enough to call themselves a parent has surrounding them each day.

    I can’t imagine the pain. Just. Can’t. Imagine.

  28. Doug Butchy
    November 18, 2009 1:57 pm


    Thank you thank you for passing this along. It comes to me at a time when I have been feeling down about dumb stuff, and it really helped me to put things in perspective. As a parent of young children myself, my thoughts and prayers are with her. Thanks.

  29. Craig
    November 18, 2009 4:17 pm

    Ginny, if Pittsburgh is the Paris of Appalachia, then you are our Saint Joan. Thank you for your awareness of the value of life and for sharing with us.

  30. Craig
    November 18, 2009 4:20 pm

    Plexxer, I like the spin I heard on the live every day like it’s your last, it’s live every day like there IS a last day. A world of difference.

  31. CityMama
    November 19, 2009 7:39 am


    “… Both Peter and Kate have been asking me to build them a treehouse for the past few months. I promised them that someday I would, but unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity. I would love to build a playground (which could include some sort of treehouse) in their memory at the school. . . . If anyone is interested in helping, I ask that a donation be made in lieu of cards or flowers.”

    Checks may be sent to the Kate and Peter Ambrusko Memorial Fund at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park, 829 Milton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15218-1005.

  32. Jim in Altoona
    November 20, 2009 9:28 am

    Ginny and Amy, my father is 80 years old and wants for nothing. I will be sending a contribution in his name to your memorial for Christmas. God bless and keep you both in His arms. Any, I am humbled by your strength. God absolutely has a plan for you and I think you already know that sharing your courage with others is part of His plan. Thank you so much, both of you.