Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Well, so Christmas Eve, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Boxing Day have all passed, but New Year's Eve and Day have yet to pass, so I'm still on time. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! I hope everyone got to spend time with family and friends, or will soon. It certainly makes for an excellent beginning to the New Year.

For Jim and myself, we have spent the past several days in Iowa with the Van Fleets. We've had great fun spending time with the family, eating lots, playing games, watching movies, and just hanging out. Thank you for a wonderful Christmas, Jane, Alanson, and Ib!!!

We leave tomorrow for Charlotte, where we'll go back to work for a few days, then head to Fredericksburg to do "Christmas for New Years" with my family. I am excited to see them, since it's been a while (we saw Mom and Bob at Thanksgiving, but haven't seen Ryan or Melysa since Easter!). I miss my family a bunch lately, so I am super excited to see them! (Note to family: You are ALWAYS welcome to visit us in Charlotte!!! That would be so nice!)

We'll be visiting Richmond people on the way to the 'Burg too, which will be fun! We'll also get to visit with Marta and her family while in Fredericksburg, then we'll get to see all of the Barretts at Sammy's 1st birthday party in Staunton, on our way back to CLT. I am excited about seeing so many people, even if it is packed into only a few days...

My New Year's resolution is to get Blogger working well with my iPhone, so that I can blog directly from my phone. Right now, I am having some issues...

Here's to making 2010 (saying "twenty ten" will save years off your life apparently--haha, not really) a year of peace, love, and togetherness.

A bunny outside of the Van Fleet's house in Iowa! He was sooooo cute!!

Our Nativity scene in Charlotte. This was my Grandmother's set that was given to me.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care!
Our beautiful Christmas tree!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I've got some 'splainin to do!!

Oh, loyal, faithful readers, I am sorry I have abandoned you. In this economy when you need my wise words more than ever, I have forsaken you. A million times, I am sorry!

I wish there were some awesome reason for my absence...world travel, disease that led to weight loss and a new rockin' bod, monumental changes going on. But sadly, just life as usual, which has been pretty great lately. I won't update you on every little thing, mostly because I can't remember them, but I will give you a few highlights, with a promise to do better.

Everything around the house is still good. My decorating craze was put on hold, mostly because I just sort of stopped decorating, but soon it will be back when we get some shelves installed on the main floor, and I make some rockin' curtains for a few rooms. I did, however, get the office in great shape, with a new filing cabinet, my diplomas hung, and a general cleaning. It looks great, and Jim was really surprised! Yay!

A few trips we have made:

-Asheville, NC to see a Richard Buckner show, and visit our friend, Ezra
-Scott Mountain near Amherst, VA to go camping with Tasha, Jeremy, Gwen, Brady, Sophie, Gardener, Matt, et al.
-Jim went to Cincinnati for his last ever CISV Board Meeting!
-We went to Richmond for Kate's birthday and Halloween. We had a great time, as always!!

A few trips we are going to make:

-Jim is in San Francisco now at a conference
-Thanksgiving in Fredericksburg, with a visit to DC in the days following
-I will be heading to Philly and Swarthmore, PA to visit Sarah, Andy, Maddie, and baby #2, and to go to Emily and Roban's wedding with Marta!!! I am really excited about this trip!!!
-Christmas in Iowa, then Fredericksburg
-Perhaps Paris in April?!? We've been talking about it and would love to go. We think there may even be a direct flight from CLT to CDG. We're researching...

Some new things:

We bought a beautiful new LCD TV for the basement, with an HD Tivo, new Amp, Mac Mini, etc. We've really been loving it. I never thought I would really care about the picture quality of TV, as long as my favorite shows are on, but it really does make a difference.

New friends. Jim's geek connections have been paying off lately. We have befriended a guy he works with, his wife, and their adorable daughter too. Also, another fun couple that features a programmer. Our new friend Ben just left Charlotte to move back to Lexington, but we're hoping he and his girlfriend will return soon.

I dyed my hair for the first time in FOREVER! It's my Winter look, and I am really enjoying it.

I got an iPhone!! I have had the same phone for the past 4-5 years, and it was showing! I had a huge phone, with no data plan, that would freeze for 5 minutes after I sent a text message (which makes texting back and forth a huge problem!). I am glad to see it go. If you have not received my new number, and you are a friend, just email me for it. I absolutely love my iPhone--works wonderfully, calendars syncing, apps downloading...life is good!!

In other news...

-Jim's parents will be coming to visit in early December, which is exciting.
-Work is still going well, with some general annoyance from useless coworker.
-I am excited about the holidays. I have no idea what to get anyone this year...seriously. I started to make a list (because that's what I do), and it just a list of names with blank spaces next to them. So SEND LISTS!!!
-Jim and I are still loving Charlotte, our house, our lives in general.

Well, that's about it for now...I will try to be better about posting. With the holidays coming up, I will have some time on my hands (work will be slower, more vacation time, general happier mood for sharing). I will try to share that time with you, dear readers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can't stop redecorating

I don't know what's gotten in to me lately, but I can't stop redecorating. I can't stop shopping for nick-nacks (or nick-nicks as we call them, thanks to the Van Fleet's movers a while back) and throw pillows, making lists of home projects, planning, planning, planning. I just hope that some of this planning actually materializes into awesome house-ness. We went to IKEA yesterday for shelving, and I found a photo ledge to help put up these canvas board paintings my brother did a while back. Sooo happy about that, since I didn't want to frame them, but didn't know how else to get them on the wall!

I am hoping that I will have fabulous pictures to post soon!!!

The weather is getting cooler, and I think Fall is officially here, which I am so excited about. I can't wait to get out in the yard and prep it for the coming winter. I have big plans for a veggie garden for next year--and actually getting to use the compost I've been working on. Recently it's a bit wet because of all the rain we've had, so I need to add some more brown to balance that out.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I am also hoping that this coming week goes by quickly. I have really been loving the weekends lately, and not so much on the work front. Nothing terrible to report, but it's work, and I prefer relaxing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Houston and Charlotte

Over Labor Day weekend, Jim and I went to Houston for his college buddy Jordan's wedding to the lovely Aimee. I was excited to go, since this was the first time I had seen Rice, where Jim and Jordan met in college, and the town that Jim speaks of often (and not too fondly, in general). I had a great time on the trip, and was pleasantly surprised by Houston and all it had to offer. I will mostly just post pictures here, since I am drugged up on pain medication from getting my wisdom teeth out yesterday.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful! Very modern, with vintage touches, and the bride was truly glowing and happy and fabulously gorgeous! The groom looked awesome too, in his sharp new tux, which he seemed quite pleased with.

The House of Pies, where we ate breakfast our first morning there. They offer more than just pies, of course.


Jim at The House of Pies.The pies of The House of Pies.

Welcome to Rice University!
Founder of Rice, Mr. William Marsh Rice. He is buried under this statue, making Rice the largest private cemetery in Texas (I believe).


Jim under the Sallyport, which welcomes you into Rice's Quad.
Jim's residential college, Baker, was under construction, and therefore we couldn't go in to visit. Doesn't look like anyone will be living there this year!

More construction at Baker College!

Jim has talked about Freebirds since we met. It's his favorite burrito in the world. Two thumbs up, indeed, Jim!

Preparing to have his mind blown by his monster (that's the size of the burrito he got).


Digging in!

Savoring...

This is my burrito. I am usually not very excited by burritos, since it's usually just the same stuff everywhere (and for whatever reason, most places don't believe in heating up their fillings?!?). This one was quite delicious--lived up to the hype!

I made wedding bells in honor of Aimee and Jordan out of my foil for the "Foil Objects Wall" they have at Freebirds.

The proud artiste!

Minute Maid Stadium.
Downtown Houston!

Fun animal topiaries!
They had so many!

Before the wedding started. What a beautiful sanctuary they had set up. I would never have guessed that a wedding in a hotel would be so beautiful!


The dinner plates were so beautiful! And the food was delicious!

We sat at the Cornwall table.


We elected Evan "Duke of Cornwall" by the end of the evening. Very fun guy!

Dad giving a speech about Aimee and Jordan. Cheers!

Thank you, Aimee and Jordan for hosting such a beautiful event. This was the first time I had met either of them in person, and enjoyed such a fun weekend. Can't wait to visit again (or have them visit us!) Have fun in Costa Rica!

Back in Charlotte, we got to meet several babies for the first time. An unusual friend of mine, Charlotte the spider, has taken up residence on our back door. At first I was very annoyed, and wanted to get rid of her, but then I became amazed at her perseverance--every time you open up the back door, she has to rebuild a bit of her web, in which she had created 2 egg sacks. This is after the second one yielded lots of baby spiders--those are the little spots everywhere!


We also got to meet our friends Sarah and Morri's baby Miriam. She is an absolute peanut--so cute and adorable!!! I'll post pictures of her soon--have to get them from Jim's phone, since our camera battery was dead by then!

And then, just before we left for Houston, I found this fabulous couch at our Salvation Army just up the road. I love that place!! We got this sofa, in great shape, for $80. I am planning on removing the skirt to make it a bit more contemporary. I'll also get some throw pillows to break it up a bit. But I love it!!!




And finally, here's me and my wonderful nurse during my recovery this weekend. My cheeks are big anyways, and this just makes me look ridiculous. I hope the swelling goes down before I go back to work on Monday!!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Surprise!!!



On their way home to CA, Christine and Lanny stopped in Charlotte to say hi!! It was so great to see them both, and I wish they could have stayed longer! They are so Berg-a-licious!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!!!!

This weekend, Jim is participating in the Rails Rumble with a coworker and friend of his, so I took the opportunity to clean, clean, clean, weed, mow, and shop.

To read what the Rails Rumble is, go here.

Saturday, which was the first full day of the contest, we ate lunch with Sarah and Morri. Jim then went to work at Adam's house, while Morri, Sarah, and I went to see The Cove. This was a good documentary, but like most, extremely depressing. It is about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, and a team's journey to get video footage documenting this slaughter (the area where they are killed is not visible, so nobody had seen how the dolphins were killed). One of the team leaders is a man who starred in Flipper, and it also follows his personal struggle to forgive himself and make up for his role in this process.

Then I went to the hardware store to get several items for various home projects.

My big excitement came at the Salvation Army near our house. I bought a cast iron skillet, a cute white bowl with nubbins all over it, a cute hummingbird "bric-a-brac", and a fabulous chair ALL for $26!!! The chair is now in our bedroom, and adds that perfect bit of glamour I was looking for!

Then I cleaned the house for the next 7 hours, and it is beautiful!!

Today, I mostly did laundry and yardwork. I mowed the grass, weedwhacked, and weeded our beds. The yard looks magnificent, though I wish we had our yard tools from my parents' house, so I could lop off a bunch of branches on all of the crape myrtles that are out of control!

My herb garden is doing very well. The rosemary that I thought was stunted forever has finally shown signs of growth. We have 2 jalepeno peppers that are almost ready to be picked, and I will be making a lot of pesto soon to use up all of the basil out there. The grapes are alive, which was more than I thought they would be at this point, but they are still too short to tie to the pergola. Hopefully they will survive the winter and grow more next year.

I just got back from the grocery store, and now I'm blogging obviously! At 7PM, when the Rumble is over, we'll probably go out to eat with Adam. I feel extremely great about how this weekend went, and am looking forward to a somewhat slow week, since one of my bosses is out of town.

I will post pictures soon of the things I mentioned above, and a few of the house too (especially now that it's super clean!!)

PS: I got my first business cards this week!!! Woohoo!

PPS: I also forgot to mention that I am scheduled to get my wisdom teeth out in mid-September. I am obviously not thrilled, but I am not nervous at all about it. I met with my surgeon a few weeks ago, and he is great. He actually reminds me a ton of our Financial Planner, Bill, and is great, so that is one fear assuaged. Once my date is actually scheduled, I'll let you know. I just don't know how much bigger my cheeks can get!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canada in Pictures

For once, my post is mostly pictures! These are pictures from our trip to Toronto, in July. It was lots of fun--and here's the proof!



Friday, July 17, 2009

Greener Pastures

I am not sure that anyone will remember, but at the beginning of 2009 I made a resolution to change most of our household and beauty products to greener versions, and to generally live a greener life. I did this for several reasons, which I will list here.

1. It's better for the earth. I am nearly brought to tears by Noah Wiley's polar bear commercials, so I just think of them everytime I throw something out or drop terrible chemicals into our water systems. Try it, you may just find it enough of a reason to re-use that bottle as a vase.
2. It's part of my religion. Yes, I am a Unitarian Universalist. In the mission statement of our church, it states that we inspire others to "discover and articulate deeper spiritual meaning evidenced in lives of integrity, compassion and stewardship of the earth". That's right, folks--we're stewards. I have never believed that God would put us on a planet to get closer to him, without wishing that we also bond with other humans, and the Earth itself. It's important.
3. It's trendy. I was a bit ahead of my time (I was composting in college? Awesome!), but now who am I to ignore the current craze?
4. Re-using requires and inspires imagination. I have come up with some pretty awesome, albeit wacky, ways to reuse items. One of my favorite is using the plastic tab that you close bread bags with (do those have names?) as a wire label (printer, monitor, cable box...you get the idea).
5. Going green can occasionally save you money (I will go into this later, as this is both a true and false statement).

I knew it would be a process, and would not happen overnight, so I gave myself the full year to make the switch. I just wanted to update everyone on how it's going and where we are in the process. This will also serve as a reminder to myself to keep on truckin'.

What We've Changed:
Household: As of now, we have switched our liquid dish soap, wipes, and laundry detergent exclusively to green products. We are using ECOS laundry detergent, which we got at Costco when we were members. It is very inexpensive, smells fantastic, and does a great job getting clothes clean. Since we are no longer Costco members (I have probably posted about my rising anger levels when I enter that space), I will most likely ask my mom to pick some up for us whenever we visit next. The wipes and dish soap are both Clorox Green products. I was a big user of the regular Clorox wipes before, and while I enjoy the smell of their green counterparts more, I do not enjoy how much lint they leave behind. Where appropriate, I usually follow behind with a dishtowel to remove the white lint from my black dining table, for example. We also switched to a cloth shower liner (and a glass door, which we squeegee instead of clean with chemicals, washcloths instead of disposable plastic loofahs, cloth towels and rags instead of papertowels, and washing our laundry in cold water. Some of the changes were so natural and effortless that I will most likely forget to mention them here.

Bath and Body: One of the shampoos I use is a green product, as well as my facewash, body soap (that's right--white people do occasionally use soap and a washcloth), and face lotion. Otherwise I am still using up the products I already owned (if you do plan to make the switch, please don't throw out items in order to purchase their green counterparts. It completely defeats the purpose!). I also switched my powder, blush to Organic Wear by Physician's Formula and lip gloss Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers. The powder is alright--certainly not winning any awards in my book--but the blush is awful. It barely shows up, and if it does, it looks muddy. You're better off just pinching your cheeks throughout the day, or getting pregnant for that "natural glow". I love the lip shimmers because they're minty and feel fresh, but honestly, I miss pasty, bright, saturated lipstick. I will do more shopping for a good lipstick, but for now, the lip gloss is great (and the packaging is recyclable!).

Lifestyle:
I have started a compost bin on the side of our house. It's a closed trashcan, rather than an exposed chicken wire mess, and I have to say, it seems to be doing pretty well. The next time I visit my parents, I will be excited to get our shovel so turning it will be easier (right now I use my "turning stick", which is literally just a stick). I feel like an evil green witch stirring her brew. (Funny side note: The man who broke into our house threw a candy wrapper in the compost bin as he was walking down to our back yard to break into our house. He should have been more environmentally conscientious. Also, breaking people's glass doors = not environmentally conscientious. Or conscientious in any way, really.) I am very happy to say that our recycling bin is generally twice to three times as full as our actual trashcan. I know that recycling is the last ditch effort to save the earth (reduce, reuse, recycle), but it certainly beats throwing things away outright.

Work: All four people in my office are now avid and diligent recyclers, mostly thanks to my insistance and constant vigilence over their trashcans. We have also reduced the amount of paper we produce in general, which is the first step in the cycle--excellent news!


What's Been Hard:
Not much, honestly. I am very much a "greater good" thinker, so I don't mind a few sacrifices in order to do my part (and sometimes the parts of others as well). I do sometimes feel like a preachy b*tch, but someone's gotta do it, right? I do miss things like impulse nail polish and lipstick purchases (I still have some nail polish that I will use up, but the plan is to eliminate it eventually). I am also still on the lookout for good makeup. I want to have rosy cheeks, and the blush I have is not cutting it!

Also, the thought of eliminating some of my magazine subscriptions has also made me sad some days. There are a few I will keep, or at least vow to read at the library, but I also have a few I won't miss, so it will be good to see those go (Vegetarian Times was a pity purchase a while back).

What We Haven't Changed:
Being a penny-pincher by nature, I still cannot fathom spending a lot of money for the green counterparts to some items. This mostly applies to the bath and body products, but also to food and textiles. Since we don't need new towels, sheets, or anything, we haven't yet had to shell out for the organic cotton or anything like that. But how can I pay twice as much for organic potatoes from Peru, when I can buy non-organic NC potatoes for half as much?
Our cats would never go for the pine shavings litter. Kitty used that years ago, and did just fine, but she was such an awesome cat, she would have adapted to anything. These three cats are super sweet, but not so amenable to change. So we'll stick to the clay clumping stuff that keeps them peeing in the boxes.
I am also resolved to the fact that Jim will not use earth friendly deodorant ever. And to be honest, it's probably best that way, especially if you've ever gone camping with Jim (love you, honey!) I might be able to switch a few of his products, but never the deodorant--and probably not the shaving lotion either. Ryan and Melysa got him Anthony shaving lotion for Christmas, and he loves it. At least it's not in an aerosol can, right?
I do still occasionally shop at big box stores, or at Amazon. When in town, I try to support small local business, but sometimes it is hard.
I drive to work alone. If I get a bike soon, which I am really hoping I do, I will cut down on the amount of driving I do. For now I have to settle for lumping all of my errands in one trip, and saving gas that way.

So as you can see, we've made some excellent strides in my going green project, but still have miles to go. For now, I sleep! Goodnight!

PS--Promise I will post pics and perhaps a movie from our trip to Canada soon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wow, I'm boring myself!

So I will apologize in advance. There will most likely not be any pictures with this post. I may not even know where our camera is right now. We've had a somewhat eventful month since I last posted. Here are a few of the highlights:

Our house got broken into! On June 10th (I think), Jim got a call around 9:15 saying that our alarm was going off. Since neither of us was home, he asked them to dispatch the police. He then called me to tell me the news so I could head home. We have CPI for our security system needs, and if you live in the NC/SC area, this is definitely the company to use--they were completely awesome. Someone had apparently climbed to our second-story balcony and broken in the glass door. They then tripped our internal alarm while getting an old phone of Jim's, and then left 2 minutes later. Luckily all they stole was an iPod and this old Palm Pilot, even though we had several things of much higher value in view. No one was hurt, which was truly the fortunate part, and the door was fixed in a matter of hours. If someone tries the same or a similar caper in the future, we have since safe-guarded against that as well, so overall I still feel very safe in our house.

Later that day, CPI came out to check on their performance, give us the exact timeline of the events as we know them, and to fix any holes in the system. Again, I love this company. We have dealt seriously with 2 servicing installers/technicians, and there is a place in my heart for both Chris and Will. Will came out and took care of everything--he even helped me piece together the details of the "case" as I kept calling it. I felt like a detective trying to figure out how they got up there, where they went, etc.

I was disappointed in the follow-up of the police department. The Eastway division (our district) doesn't even answer the phone (seriously, I have called many times of day and no one ever answers). I would like more patroling of our street, but don't know how to get anyone down here, since no one will answer. A few days later, our neighbor's car was broken into. I'm starting to feel that our neighborhood is less "up and coming" and more "ghetto".

I still much prefer it to our previous 2 neighborhoods though. Not only do we own woods and live next to the greenway/park and have bugs (including LOTS of lightening bugs), bunnies, and cats, but we're close to city amenities, all of our neighbors wave, say hello, and were very sympathetic to our misfortune and promise to keep an eye out. This kind of welcome is very...welcome! I love it. I believe everyone should be a minority at some point in their lives (a man among women, white among blacks/hispanics/asians/anyone-non-white, rich among poor. There are lots of ways to be a minority, but it is definitely a great experience). Everyone's comfort zone should be shaken is the point, and it can be more comforting than you would think. This is how I feel about our new home and neighborhood, and look forward to becoming an active member of the area.

The house, by the way, is definitely looking like home. I have been very happy at how little we have had to purchase to fill it and make it look like home. My favorite space is our den off of the kitchen, and my new favorite piece of furniture is a navy reading chair we got at the Salvation Army in the parlor (I can't believe I have a room we call the parlor...reading room was the other possibility, since there's a bookshelf in there and some chairs). The only room that hasn't really been set up is the middle bedroom, and that's because the only stuff in there is my old baby toys and I refuse to set up a child's room before we have one--it's way too creepy! Seriously, I am getting chills thinking about how weird it would be. I know you are too.

Last weekend we had a fun time at a Summer's Eve party. The theme was "dress like a douche bag" (think about the name for another 3 seconds, and you'll get it). There were lots of "brahs" there, and it was fun. It was hosted by one of the people we have met via Twitter in Charlotte--but Mr. Ben Marvin is a fave in particular. Good times were had by all brahs, and I look forward to it again next year (it's already on the calendar!). We found a killer outfit for Jim at the Salvation Army in about 3 minutes, and also picked up my new favorite chair.

I continue to love my job. Occasionally I run out of energy to deal with it, but the weekends are usually enough to re-energize me. I bought a few plants for the yard, including Thai and sweet basil, jalepeno peppers, and grapes for our pergola. I have not yet planted the grapes, but they've been doing fine in the pots. I once again had to buy beetle traps, because they are eating the crap out of several of our plants.

The construction on our street looks like they're actually making progress (for a while it just looked like they were doing the demolishing part, and would never get to the reconstruction of sidewalks, roads, sewers). But finally I saw blacktop today, and it gave me hope that my car would not be covered in dust forever.

Alas, that's all I feel like typing now. I will try to post more soon--I hate going this long without posting. I know I judge others for such vacations--I shouldn't afford myself the same luxury. I hope all is well with my readers, if you still exist.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

To all the ladies...

I just want to make sure that my mom knows how much I love her and how awesome she is!! Thanks for all you do!

Also, thanks to my mom-in-law Jane for making Jim the wonderful man he is today (and for being the wonderful woman you are today)!

A post to come about my upcoming business trip, the official move date, and life.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is the haps?

I can't believe how quickly time has flown recently! I mean, I know I say this every time I blog so I don't look like a total slacker, but really--it's been a while since I feel like I've come up for air. Don't get me wrong, things have been going really well lately! Really quickly as well.

A few updates...we close tomorrow morning at 10AM--we will be homeowners again! I am pretty excited, especially after seeing the house at the walk through tonight. I am so in love with where we'll be! The neighborhood, the yard, the space inside...there are opportunities everywhere! I can't wait for it to truly feel like home! I will start moving things in on Saturday, and won't stop until the 16th, when the actual movers come to finish the job! This has been one of the best experiences--Jim and I continue to stumble upon great people to work with--our realtor is absolutely awesome, and she got our name from her company's website, that we used to look up another house a while back. I am so glad that I finally answered the phone and talked with her--instantly, I felt that we clicked and she knew what we were looking for, and the minute Jim got involved, he felt the same way. We went out with Theresa and her husband the other night, and had a great time! I think the four of us will be hanging out again soon! The builder/realtor/stager/lawnmower Donald was also great. He is just a very hard worker, and poured himself into this house, and it certainly shows. Tonight was a great chance to see how much he did care for this house and ensuring that its future would be bright (mostly because he left us about 56 lightbulbs for the various fixtures around!) Our mortgage lender was also great, and posed very few issues along the way. Apparently, this is not the norm, so we were very grateful!

We will see if the movers, alarm company, and carpet cleaners turn out to be a good experience as well. I am a tad nervous, but am mostly optimistic. There is only so much planning and stewing and thinking I can do before just letting go and having things run their particular course. Then I can complain :)

My bookclub finally read a book that I really liked. It was Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, and it was good. She is a fantastic writer, and I really enjoyed her beautiful prose. I really do appreciate good writing, and was thinking for a while that my expectations were too high for contemporary literature. She made me believe again!

We haven't been to church recently, which stinks. I do miss it, though I have been trying to stay "spiritual" as much as possible. I will go Sunday, even though Jim will be out of town at a conference. He leaves the evening after we close! Talk about timing!

And speaking of timing, I am going on a business trip for 3 days, and get back the day before the movers come! This is my first business trip ever, and I couldn't be more excited! I think it's a great sign that my bosses are investing in my future with them, and it will be great to meet some of my peers and learn lots and lots!

Well, I am off to bed--I will certainly try to write more frequently and will let you know how closing goes!!! Ta ta for now!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Pictures and Week in Review

So, first I would like to say that I miss Kate. We talked this evening and caught each other up on most events happening right now, and it's so wonderful to have such a wonderful person in my life. I always feel so refreshed after talking with Kate--because I can vent about anything and know that there's an understanding and sympathetic ear on the other end, and also because she also has interesting and funny stories to tell, and it totally makes my week to hear them! So Kate--thank you for being a wonderful, level-headed, encouraging, smart, and downright funny friend! I appreciate it, and require it at this point! (Side note--Kate and I are twins separated at birth. We have claimed this for years. Today, we both had issues with 3/4 length sleeves being bizarrely tight around our forearms, and both took drastic actions against them. Who could say that? Totally bizarre coincidence--unless it's true, and Jan and Kim are actually the same person...)

Part of what I spent most of our conversation complaining about was my latest task of naming strengths and weaknesses of my new co-worker to my boss tomorrow. Sure, I can come up with the weaknesses--not a problem, believe me--but finding some strengths has been challenging. I'm really summoning the "nice person" inside me to field this one. It's hard, because it's business, and frankly hiring her was not a smart business decision, despite the fact that her salary is already paid for. That is a bold statement, which I can back up in several different ways. But, I realize that one day (in the distant, distant, distant future) I will be going on maternity leave and will have to find someone to do my job while I stay at home. Perhaps this woman is that person, but that means that I have to start training NOW for my absence, which just seems strange. How do you teach someone to use a computer? How do you teach someone to make a phone call when they have a question, instead of asking the person who originally asked them the question? How do you teach someone that doing their job is a more pressing task than finding out which department store has the next Clinique "Gift With Purchase"? (seriously, this happened today.) It will take time, I understand. I am not a robot. But seriously? You really can't take this piece of paper and recreate what's on it in Microsoft Word? But you do understand that it's just typing into a space...and you try to make that space look like that piece of paper? And you've been an Administrative Assistant for 25 years? Oh, 30...30 years. Seriously? I have little to no patience for incompetence or retaliation. And when I ask you not to waste paper by printing things that make no sense and are a complete waste of time, I expect you not to print them. And when you print them 3 times (because you don't know how to feed paper into the printer) and it's still useless nonsense, I am not any more pleased with your lack of progress than I was 15 minutes or 54 pages ago. And I don't want to hear that you "just wanted to print them to show Don what you did" (Reminder: what she did was WASTE 15 MINUTES, 54 PAGES, AND WEAR ON MY NERVES AND PATIENCE). Seriously? I can't help but laugh because every few minutes, I expect Candid Camera to jump out of our filing cabinet. That's the only way it makes sense. Seriously. (NOTE: Since employing this particular person, my use of the word seriously followed by a question mark has increased by 377%. In related news, beer consumption at my residence has increased by 861%, hair loss has increased by 172%, and time Jim spends ignoring my inane stories has increased by a whopping 1439%.)

Happiness still reigns supreme in my world, though, since we are buying our beautiful house. There are still a few obstacles, but mostly everything is falling into place. We had our inspection on Monday, which turned up a few small repairs, but nothing serious enough to be a deal-breaker. We'll see what the seller comes back with, and hopefully we'll continue along in the process.

Here are some additional pictures to give you a better idea of the spaces in the house. Some of the rooms have the staging furniture in them--don't hold it against 'em! White leather sofa? Yikes!

Backyard with pergola, concrete planters for my herb garden, and fence.


Dining room from living room, heading back to the kitchen.

Master bathtub, "bathed" in sunlight (waka waka waka!)

Master shower with pebble floor. 3 shower heads cropped out.

Master bedroom. Doors lead to custom closet (that I will rearrange once I get my mitts on it!)

What will be our nursery in 8 years.

Guest bedroom! Come stay with us and help up unpack!

Guest bathroom off the hallway upstairs.

Basement with TV nook and stairs to upstairs den.

Backyard with more of the "wild" section of the yard on film. And a river runs through it.

Kitchen--fridge and desk area. This is where my laptop will live!

Den off the kitchen with bar area. Woohoo!

Jim standing in the dining room! And plenty of ceiling space to spare!

Front Living Room with fireplace and beautiful front door! (Not pictured (but just around corner and wired to front door and windows): Security system...phew!)

Office with built-in bookshelves and built-in nook)