My Cruise Ship Love Affair

Darlene and I met while working in the entertainment department of a large cruise ship sailing the Western Caribbean Sea. Darlene danced in the not-quite-Vegas-style stage productions, and I hammed it up on the mic as a host of not-quite-high-concept spectacles such as the Men's International Hairy Chest Competition and Late Night Adult Dodgeball.

A Tale of Two Quittings

My boyfriend and I quit our jobs for a 1982 Volkswagen camper van with a pop-up roof. No one quits without a reason. Maybe you’re more engaged picking blueberry muffin crumbs from between the keys of your keyboard than doing your actual job. Maybe your boss makes you feel like a eunuch. Everyone has their reasons, and ours was the van.

The Year I Left My Job

2013 was the year I had to decide how much it meant to me to be a writer. When the year began, I had a steady office job, a stressed-out husband, an apartment, and a baby, which meant that 26 hours out of every day were accounted for. How was I supposed to work on the novel that had been pacing back and forth inside my head, knocking occasionally on the floorboards, for years?

What Happens When One of Your Coworkers Dies

The first thing that happens is someone tells you.

A Shore Thing for Valentine’s Day

How does one meet such a momentous occasion at such an early stage of romance?

On ‘Dating Up’

The only other person I dated with some link to money came via my ex-boyfriend. His father owned a TV station in Utah and his mother clearly enjoyed the privilege—she dripped with jewelry and talked non-stop about their money.

The Annual Cost of My Cross-Country Relationship

In October 2011, I went on a date with Adam, an L.A.-based TV writer who was working in New York.

Buying Gifts While Sharing an Account

In the Wall Street Journal, Katy McLaughlin talks about gift-giving in a relationship where both partners pool and share their money (basically, surprises are hard to pull off) She just opened up her own credit card account so she can surprise him this year, though writing a column about it and publishing it on the internet may let some of the cat out of the bag.

My Father Developed Alzheimer’s Disease and Lost the Ability to Manage Money

In February 2012 we received an unofficial Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and my father’s ability to manage money quickly eroded.

The Best Time I Sold My TV

I should have never bought the TV, but as he was moving into my place, not vice versa, I wanted to do everything in my power to make him to feel at home. Home is not where the heart is, guys, contrary to what you’ve heard. It’s where the screen is. And for some people depth of devotion can be measured in inches.

A Holiday in Montana

Montana wasn't a state I ever gave much thought to until I found myself staring out the window of an Amtrak train at the seemingly unchanging scenery of big sky country. As the train rattled down the tracks I started to wonder if we were even moving—the scenery seemed to repeat itself every 30 seconds like the fake background behind a car in an old movie. It's hard to explain it, but the miles upon miles of emptiness gave me a sense of reverse claustrophobia.

My Family Has Forgotten the Lean Years, But I Haven’t

I see my father about once a year. The last time I saw him, at a family dinner, we talked about Millennials, and how he had spent his twenties.